Jess Bala, General Motors new managing director for Australia and New Zealand talks with Fleet News Group podcast host Caroline Falls about the US car company’s plans to bring the Cadillac brand down under, starting with the electric powered luxury SUV Lyriq in 2024.
“The Cadillac brand, globally is going through a very big transformation right now to an all EV portfolio which we will achieve by the end of the decade in 2030,” said Bala, adding, “And when you look at what is happening in Australia and New Zealand from an EV transformation standpoint, and how tech savvy our customers are, it just feels like the perfect time to introduce the Cadillac brand and bring this next generation of EV vehicles down under.”
The company recognised that for the brand to be truly global it needed to service the right-hand drive markets, and to that end will be producing factory-built right-hand-drive vehicles — points raised earlier in a briefing from a panel of GM executives including Bala, John Roth, vice president global Cadillac, Ernesto Ortiz, MD, strategic markets, and Lauren Indiveri-Clarke, director of communications director, strategic markets.
ANZ will be the first right-hand-drive markets targeted by Cadillac, with no details yet for launching into the UK or Japan.
Bala took on the role of MD for ANZ in September, enabling her to come home to Australia after a decade working at the company’s facilities in the US, where she was most lately global head of planning and strategy at GMs Cadillac unit. Bala played a leading role in developing the Lyriq and in helping transition the brand to all electric.
“I can’t wait for it to be out on the roads and just have people’s reaction because I just have no doubt in my mind that it’s going to blow people away,” said Bala. “It’s such a beautifully developed car and there are so many Australians that have had a hand in this car that are just as excited and proud as I am — from an EV standpoint and where the company is heading and technology. All employees are very excited with what’s to come as well.”
Bala wouldn’t comment on speculation GM will follow up the Lyriq launch by bringing in other electric SUVs, such as its Escalade and Optiq.
“We’re not sharing any more specifics other than Lyriq today. We will have other entries coming but can’t share what those will be at this point.”
Indiveri-Clarke, comments in the podcast on the Cadillac team’s work to identify fleet opportunities.
Bala said there will certainly be some fleets that are looking for a luxury EV. “We see the Lyriq fitting in there very well,” said Bala.