GM returns to EU with e-cars & a non-traditional approach
General Motors has confirmed its return to Europe with electric cars. This came in the form of an announcement that Jaclyn McQuaid has been appointed President and CEO of GM Europe.
The long-serving GM executive will take up her new job on 1 November and will be based in Zurich. Shilpan Amin, president of GM International, says that McQuaid will be responsible for continuing the transformation of GM’s European operations into “a nimble, non-traditional mobility startup with an all-electric vehicle portfolio at its core”.
In November 2021, Cadillac’s vice president for North American sales at the time, Mahmoud Samara, was tasked with preparing to restart operations in Europe. At the time, GM emphasised its belief that, as the second largest and fastest growing electric vehicle market in the world, Europe presents a significant opportunity for the US-American carmaker. GM noted here, that it was on the verge of bringing its comprehensive EV and AV portfolio to market. Then, in the summer, Bloomberg reported that GM was exploring several options for electric car distribution, including a traditional distributor, but also a “mobility startup”.
In the meantime, McQuaid is to take over from Samara, who will leave GM for family reasons, and lead the implementation of GM’s new mobility startup business. So far, the carmaker has revealed little about these new plans except that they involve a non-traditional approach to mobility, centred around electric vehicles.
“European customers are switching to electric vehicles at a faster rate than anywhere in the world, and GM is investing $35 billion through 2025 in electric and autonomous vehicle technology to be a major driver of our industry’s transformation,” said McQuaid. “Our flexible Ultium battery platform and the breadth and depth of our EV portfolio enable GM to offer customers in Europe a variety of products and services to support their lifestyles while also contributing to a future of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” she promised.
Amin explained: “Throughout her 22-year career at GM, Jaclyn has demonstrated a laser focus on the needs of our customers and has a proven track record of successfully leading global vehicle programs providing her also insights into the European markets – key attributes that will be critical to our success in disrupting mobility in the region.”
Although the latest confirmation clearly refers to electric cars based on General Motors’ Ultium platform, GM has not yet officially revealed which electric models it intends to launch in Europe. The fact that the GM press statement was published by Cadillac Europe at least suggests that GM will indeed offer the all-electric Cadillac Lyriq first.
Given the announcements made by GM expect the launch cadence in Europe to look something like:
Cadillac Lyriq ~€75,000
Hummer SUV ~€100,000
Buick Electra-X ~€60,000
Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray PHEV ~€100,000
(Prices include ~20% VAT)
Not a bad way to re-enter the EU market. Certainly higher priced offerings. But these sales will likely come with large margins.
What about Chevy bolt?
When you’re selling at these ridiculous prices, you don’t need to sell many to reach your sales targets. All in all, Europe produces some of the finest cars in the world so spending this amount for an American made vehicle, doesn’t make sense. I don’t this was a good business decision by GM.