General Motors is gearing up for a return to the European market with a range of EVs, with the new Cadillac Lyriq SUV expected to lead the charge.
The American giant essentially withdrew from Europe and the UK after selling Opel and Vauxhall to the PSA Group in 2017, keeping just a limited import operation for Cadillac and the Chevrolet Corvette.
However, it established a new European arm last year and is currently preparing for a return with an all-electric line-up. Its plan is expected to be announced early next year.
While he wouldn't discuss targets or expected sales volumes, GM Europe boss Mahmoud Samara said that “we feel very confident we will be a substantial player” in the market.
GM has committed to having a fully electric line-up worldwide by 2035 and has invested heavily in developing the new Ultium EV platform that underpins the Lyriq, GMC Hummer EV and other vehicles.
Samara said the rapid adoption of EVs in the UK and Europe compared with the US was a key factor in GM's decision to return.
He added: “With what the customers need in Europe and what we've done to transform our company, we feel this is a unique opportunity for us.”
GM’s previous European efforts featured distinct European brands, but this time it's set to utilise its existing portfolio of American brands.
While GM wouldn’t give specifics, Cadillac is likely to lead the charge with its new Audi E-tron rival. Reports also suggest the new Hummer could be offered here in limited numbers.
Samara added: “Chevrolet is a global brand, Cadillac is a global brand, Hummer is a global brand, so we have global brands that are fit for purpose.
"What's so beautiful about transitioning to EVs is the flexibility that we can deliver with those platforms. It will be fit for purpose in Europe.”
Notably, Cadillac will return to motorsport in 2023 with an LMDh endurance racer that will compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours, giving it a high-profile tool to reinforce a global profile.
Samara said that GM Europe has been tasked with acting as a rapid start-up, noting that the lack of a legacy ICE division in Europe will enable it to more easily push its EVs.
This could involve GM employing a pared-back, online-only retail model – similar to Tesla, Polestar and Genesis – that would enable a return without the substantial investment in a dealer network.
GM’s European ambitions aren’t limited to selling cars, either: it's set to offer products and services under its new Brightdrop last-mile-delivery brand as well.