My Car Quest

June 24, 2022

Cadillac Plans to Sell a $200,000 Car

Congratulations to Cadillac, Sort Of…

by Wallace Wyss –

I have a radio show. Every time I get ready to do the show, I comb the media to see what’s new. I chose Car & Driver’s article on the Cadillac Celestiq show car; thinking well, $90,000 for a 2025 model is a bit much, even though a fully loaded Escalade could get you over $130K.

Cadillac Celestiq

Cadillac Celestiq

So then I go on the air and my co-host starts mentioning a projected $200,000 price tag for this ultimate Caddy. I was flummoxed. Way, way higher than most Detroit cars go for, but I remember in the distant past, say ’58 or so, the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. The one with a pillarless hardtop and brushed stainless roof, was over $13,000. Google says: “That was an eye-watering sum back then and it equates to around $118,270 in today’s money. “And the price of a 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud (steel body standard steel saloon)? $13,000 in the U.S. So there was a time when the flagship Caddy sold for the same piece as the flagship Rolls. Today the top of the line standard RR Phantom is $460,000, way above any American car except the Ford GT which starts at over $550K.

Cadillac Celestiq

So let’ go back to the ’50s, Harley Earl, VP in charge of styling, felt American craftsmanship could be the equal of RR and strove to prove it. Lincoln also had tried an ultimate luxury car–the Mk. II–but it and the Cadillac Brougham were both phased out after a couple of years–too costly to build and the prices too high when a new house in the burbs in ’58 was say $22K.

GM claims the 2025 Cadillac Celestiq will be hand built in a factory on the grounds of the GM Tech Center. I like that because most GM designers work there and they will be able to walk over and see GM’s ultimate luxury car being built. I am a little puzzled why the emphasis on hand built since Tesla loves to brag their EVs are largely built by robots.

Cadillac Celestiq

Back in the Fifties the Detroit automakers also dallied with going to Italy for coachwork–Cadillac built over 90 Eldorados in Italy. They look like an American Cadillac but still have some Italianate details. Then Chrysler had some Imperials bodied by Ghia. Decades later Ford went back to the Italian well, bought Ghia and had them build the DeTomaso Pantera, which sold for about $10,000–twice the price of a Corvette. Ironically the designer was a Michigan born man named Tom Tjaarda who spent almost his whole design career in Italy.

So I salute Cadillac for taking this unusual new direction of going up in price from where they are now, way way up. I still think they are aiming $100K too high but they must have survey test results that indicate Americans will pay much higher for hand built.

Being an Italian car historian of sorts, I’m hoping they will consider that option as well (though the Allante, designed by Pininfarina and bodied in Italy was a flop). For instance, if you were selling men’s suits, why not go where they have the great materials and designers? I know–there’s the made-in-America crowd but we’re talking rare and exclusive. Like the Pantera it could be commissioned in America and designed in Italy.

Well, 2025 is still a long way off. A lot of you-know-what could hit the fan between now and then. For instance the raw material for batteries seems to come from countries that we are not on the best terms with. So a lot of EVs a-bornin’ now could die before they get out on the market because of a lack of materials. Then again if it’s going to be very profitable, then the $81 million budgeted for the program will be well spent.

Altogether, I’m glad GM is thinking outside the box…

Similar to the Rolls Royce customer customization program, the Celestiq will be modified to the buyer’s personal tastes – for example, if a customer wants to use wood from a tree on their property for the interior trim, Cadillac will accommodate.

According to the GM Authority website the Celestiq will only be offered in “affluent areas,” which means it will not be available throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has been a guest lecturer at the Art Center College of Design on the subject of design history and co-hosts a radio show on cars at KUCR FM in Riverside, CA.

 
 
 
 

Where GM did not go.

This design might have been called the Escala earlier–this old GM drawing leads us to that conclusion. CarBuzz had drawings, from Cadillac, showing a covered front wheel well, a la prewar Delahayes in France. That would have been a bold innovation to bring to America. But ironically one driver in America already ordered his Rolls Royce customized with a similar looking appendage. None other than Justin Bieber. Who woulda thunk a rock n’ roller would have more follow through than General Motors?.

Cadillac-Celestiq-show-car

Justin-Bieber-Rolls-Royce

cadillac logo

Photos of the Cadillac Celestiq from CARBUZZ.
Summary
Cadillac Plans to  Sell a $200,000 Car
Article Name
Cadillac Plans to Sell a $200,000 Car
Description
GM claims the 2025 Cadillac Celestiq will be hand built in a factory on the grounds of the GM Tech Center.
Author

Comments

  1. Joseph Ernest Pray says

    Trus comment on the battery material coming from unfriendly countries. Truth is we have a connection with geologists here in the US and they have found large deposits of the necessary materials for battery production within our borders. It’s just that it is more expensive to mine here because we have rules. So the companies are buying it cheaply overseas. Interesting dilemma. Use our own resources, give our neighbors a job and pay a bit more which would help our economy and our neighbor, or pay our enemies.

  2. Rob Krantz says

    I haven’t been a fan of the Cadillac design philosophy for a long time with their sharp creased edges and angular design. I would love to buy American, but just not a fan unfortunately. I think with the price point Cadillac is shooting for with this car, they are aiming for Mercedes Benz S-Class or even more so, Maybach which is the S Class on steroids and in this same price point. Beautiful and well built cars (we are on our second S Class). I agree that Cadillac is thinking out of the box and as these will be hand built and to customer specification, they may tap into a market looking for a more personalized car. Will this be an all electric car, hybrid or internal combustion only?

  3. wallace wyss says

    The tech info was in another story which didn’t run But here it is in a nutshell: The Celestiq is an EV and will be built on GM’s Ultium platform. The platform will be the center of GM’s EV offensive using common electric vehicle architecture and propulsion components like battery cells, modules, packs, Ultium Drive units, EV motors, and integrated power electronics. To me the big trick will be surpassing the range of the Tesla Model S Long Range, like over 400 miles, Costing more than the top of the line Tesla, it will have to be able to do that.

  4. Glen Durmisevich says

    It’s about time Cadillac pushed to meet the upper level market. As part of the larger General Motors organization they seemed to feel they couldn’t compete. But they have the style the engineering and the ability to build a top of the line product. The hand built nature allows them to keep the numbers low making for exclusivity while not over spending on structural costs. Like they did with the Eldorado Brougjam back in ‘57 & ‘58.

Speak Your Mind

*