On May 16, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially opened the GM (GM) – Get General Motors Company Report Technical Center in Warren, Michigan in a nationally television ceremony.
At that time, the facility was the largest corporate building project in the world, costing more than $125 million and Life Magazine dubbed the center “The Versailles of Industry.”
And now GM is investing more than $81 million into the center so it can build the company’s premium brand Cadillac Celestiq, another vehicle in the automaker’s effort to take down Elon Musk’s EV titan Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report.
‘Future Flagship Sedan’
“As Cadillac’s future flagship sedan, Celestiq signifies a new, resurgent era for the brand,” Mark Reuss, GM’s president, said in a statement. “Each one will be hand-built by an amazing team of craftspeople on our historic Technical Center campus, and today’s investment announcement emphasizes our commitment to delivering a world-class Cadillac with nothing but the best in craftsmanship, design, engineering and technology.”
The Celestiq will be built on the Ultium platform, a modular setup that will underpin all kinds of vehicles in the GM family.
The vehicle is expected to sell for $200,000 and is slated to be officially unveiled next month. It will be assembled in extremely low volumes – around 400 units a year, Reuters reported, citing AutoForecast Solutions.
The Celestiq will use more than 100 3D-printed components, including both structural and cosmetic parts printed in polymer and metal pieces.
Other luxury EVs include Tesla’s Model X, which goes for about $114,900, the Mercedes-Benz EQS, which carries a price tag of $102,310. and the Lucid (LCID) – Get Lucid Group Inc. Report Air Grand Touring, which costs roughly $154,000
The Celestiq got the usual range of opinions on social media.
“@GM investing $81 million to hand build exclusive $200k #Cadillac #Celestiq electric car,” one person tweeted. “Absurd. #Cadillac was always about affordable mass affluence, not money-losing hand-built #Bentley copies. Shareholders should revolt.”
“I am excited to see this car,” another person said.
“I say this with some glee, but all you Tesla stans who made Musk a little tin god are going to get what you ‘deserve,’ one tweet read.
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“This is beyond silly,” said another person, who tweeted a clip from the film “Dumb and Dumber”. “GM will be in the grave in less than 5 years.”
‘Largest Investment in its History’
Last month, GM announced new details about its 2023 Lyriq RWD with Global Cadillac Vice President Rory Harvey promising that “Cadillac will define the future of luxury transportation through its range of forthcoming EVs, and it all begins with Lyriq.”
Lyriq is Cadillac’s first-all-electric offering and the company, which aims for an all-electric portfolio by 2030, said its luxury SUV/crossover has an EPA estimated 312 miles of range on a full charge.
GM said in January that it would outfit the Celestiq sedan with the company’s Ultra Cruise autonomous driving assistant, making the vehicle among the first to have the feature.
The Celestiq will share battery cells, motors and other components with the Cadillac Lyriq
On March 1, the current American president, Joe Biden, said during the State of the Union Address that “GM is making the largest investment in its history — $7 billion to build electric vehicles, creating 4,000 jobs in Michigan.”
‘Unprecedented Volatility and Uncertainty’
Building a car that goes for six figures might seem a little daunting in times of economic uncertainty.
On June 14, the Luxury Institute released the results of a survey which found that 59% of participants believe the current slowdown is leading to a luxury downturn, while 41% predicted it will lead to a full luxury recession.
“Most participants believe we are living in a modern period of unprecedented volatility and uncertainty,” the group said. “Those who see only a downturn cite the strong cash balances of consumers and enterprises in the more developed markets that can help them withstand negative economic forces and the impact of war.”
Recession predictors, the institute said, believe that the aggressive interest hikes of central banks, executed to fight runaway inflation, will create white and blue collar unemployment, especially in tech, with strong consumer tightening of spending across all income levels.
For North America, experts who predict a downturn see mostly a medium impact effect, given America’s relatively stronger economy, including higher energy self-sufficiency and its distance from the war in Ukraine.
However, the survey found, those who predict a global recession said many companies are already warning that American consumers are rapidly losing spending power momentum, and they point to the Federal Reserve’s stated commitment to aggressive interest rate increases as shock effects on housing and borrowing, while inflation continues unabated.
“The confluence of factors, they believe leads to an inevitable recession,” the institute said.