Last month, General Motors (GM) was talking up the imminent release of its first EV, a then-unnamed Cadillac. We’ve since learned that the Tesla-challenging crossover is called the Lyriq, and that it’s no longer going to get its planned April unveiling because of the mayhem the coronavirus is causing with supply chains, manufacturing, and global demand. Bloomberg reported on the delay on Monday, adding that GM’s share price hit its lowest point since December 2012 on the back of the postponement and the general downturn that hit the markets as reported cases of the coronavirus continue to mount.
GM’s future depends on a taking on Tesla — The forthcoming Cadillac Lyriq is the first salvo in GM’s attack on Tesla, which dominates the luxury EV market. GM has promised to roll out a new architecture called Ultium upon which it will build a huge selection of EVs to hit every key market segment.
It’s not only GM that’s suffering because of the current health crisis. The Geneva Motor Show was canceled because of it, leading car makers including BMW, Hyundai, and Volvo have had to unveil their latest offerings digitally and, hence, with far less fanfare than usual, and likely less breathless coverage.
Everyone needs an EV strategy — Legacy automakers have by and large struggled to shift their focus from the production of combustion-powered vehicles to electric ones, but they’ve been forced to because of Tesla’s growing popularity, success at overcoming previous production woes, and ability to garner critical acclaim — and impressive pre-order numbers — for the Cybertruck, which is utterly outlandish by auto industry standards.
For GM, Ford, Toyota and the rest of the sector’s incumbents, an electric future is inevitable. But as Tesla keeps reminding them, without innovative designs and compelling features, sales are anything but.