Can Cadillac Direct Sales Work in EU?

General Motors’ Cadillac brand is introducing its Lyriq battery-electric vehicle in Europe without dealers, having sold off its European operation to Stellantis.

David Kiley, Senior Editor

February 27, 2024

2 Min Read
GM trying to get back into Europe with Cadillac Lyriq BEV.

General Motors, which sold off its European operation to Stellantis in 2017, is launching its luxury battery-electric Cadillac Lyriq in France to see if it can attract upscale buyers via direct sales.

GM began BEV sales in Sweden last October and plans to expand further in the EU over the next few years. The automaker says France and Germany should be next.

Despite a slow-down in BEV demand, EU and U.S. regulators in both markets remain committed to transitioning from internal-combustion engines to electrification. GM's European chief Jaclyn McQuaid says electric CUVs, such as the Lyriq, are expected to remain the fastest-growing segment for zero-emission vehicles in both Europe and the U.S.

"When you look at the battery-electric-vehicle market in France, it is the luxury market that grew to the greatest extent," McQuaid says. "The luxury market is where the focus is right now."

The best-selling electric car in France last year was Tesla's Model Y CUV, which starts at €42,990 ($46,500). In Switzerland the Lyriq has a starting price of CHF 82,000  ($93,100), but McQuaid did not provide pricing for France, though it is expected to be roughly equal.

There is a new emphasis on lower-priced BEVs both in the EU and U.S. And while the Lyriq is priced clearly in the luxury class, GM’s financial risk is low with its direct-selling model. The Lyriq is exported to the EU from its manufacturing site in Spring Hill, TN.

To reach consumers without dealers, GM is opening “Cadillac City” brand experience in Zurich, a new brand “experience center to provide a premium, more personalized buying process.” Cadillac City allows customers to inspect, test drive and customize the Lyriq. A similar facility is planned for Paris.

GM also is taking the Lyriq to Australia and New Zealand, markets the company left in 2021 when it retired the Holden brand. It will sell a right-hand-drive Lyriqs in those countries as ’25 models. 

About the Author(s)

David Kiley

Senior Editor, WardsAuto

David Kiley is an award winning journalist. Prior to joining WardsAuto, Kiley held senior editorial posts at USA Today, Businessweek, AOL Autos/Autoblog and Adweek, as well as being a contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Popular Mechanics and more.

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