Cadillac, after years of being in the doldrums, is finally starting to make some exciting cars again – and now it seems the American luxury brand is heading Down Under, with parent company General Motors laying the groundwork for an Australian launch.
Cadillac, General Motors’ luxury marque, has had mixed fortunes in recent years – well, for decades, really. In the 60s, Cadillac was the undisputed world leader in luxury cars, but the brand has never really returned to those heady heights. Decades of penny-pinching and churning out uninspiring, uncompetitive cars damaged the brand, with Cadillac going from a badge of quality to just being considered a tarted-up, poorly-made ‘Yank tank’.
Yet 2023 seems to be a turning point for Cadillac. The brand is exciting again: it’s making genuinely cool cars again, recording record sales and focusing on electrification while simultaneously getting back into motorsport in a big way with the awesome-sounding V-Series.R endurance car and even eyeing up joining Formula 1 with Andretti Global.
Now, it seems Cadillac is also preparing an assault on the Australian market, with GM filing key trademarks locally that suggest they’re gearing up to launch the brand Down Under.
Last week, GM filed trademarks for the Optiq and the forthcoming Escalade IQ electric SUVs. Late last year, they also filed a trademark for the Lyriq, Drive reports, and have also invited Australian journalists to drive that car. That suggests GM is seriously considering an Australian launch.
Cadillac returning to Australia would be an enormous about-face for GM, which pulled out of the Australian market back in 2021 after Holden ceased local manufacturing in 2017 (and ailing sales in the intervening years).
GM has had some presence locally thanks to the efforts of General Motors Special Vehicles (GMSV, which used to be known as Holden Special Vehicles or HSV), which imports American-made Chevrolet Silverados and Corvettes and converts them to right-hand drive locally – however, GMSV’s offering isn’t quite the same as having first-party manufacturer presence in the market.
You might not know this, but Cadillacs were even made in Australia, albeit for only a short period. Australia’s first Cadillacs were exported in right-hand drive from the US between 1927 and 1934 before being assembled in Adelaide from complete knock-down (CKD) kits, GoAuto writes. However, GM pulled the Cadillac brand after the Holden FX – the first proper Australian car – was launched in 1948.
This isn’t the first time Cadillac has tried to open up shop in Australia, either. Cadillac was set to relaunch in Australia in 2008 but had to park those plans in light of the Global Financial Crisis and GM’s bankruptcy. GM also announced back in 2018 that they were planning yet another expansion, but the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted those plans.
We reckon 2023 is the perfect time for a Cadillac relaunch. American cars have always been derided here in Australia for being too thirsty and unreliable – but the mechanical simplicity and sustainable bona fides of an electric Cadillac might be a more appealing proposition to Aussies.