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GM Wants to Strike a Huge Blow Against Its Rivals

The legacy carmaker is looking for Celestiq to start a new era for the Cadillac brand, but it's not going to be cheap.
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When Mary Barra said the Celestiq was mesmerizing she wasn't referring to the price tag.

Barra, chair and CEO of General Motors  (GM) , was tweeting  about the features of the Cadillac Celestiq, another vehicle in the automaker's effort to take on Elon Musk's EV titan Tesla  (TSLA) .

'A New, Resurgent Era'

Earlier this month, GM said it was investing more than $81 million into the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan so it can build the Celestiq.

The Celestiq, which will be handmade, will use more than 100 3D-printed components, including both structural and cosmetic parts printed in polymer and metal pieces.

Celestiq, said Mark Reuss, GM's president, "signifies a new, resurgent era for the brand.” 

However, the vehicle's reported price tag has been garnering a bit of attention. Cadillac plans to price the Celestiq at roughly $300,000, the Wall Street Journal reported.

GM did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The car will feature a low-slung profile, a glass roof and four-wheel steering for better maneuverability.

The auto maker intends to build fewer than 500 Celestiqs annually as a way to showcase its technology and generate buzz for Cadillac, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

But will that buzz be enough to override the sizable cost? Jean-Noël Kapferer, marketing professor at HEC Paris, has his doubts.

'Rarity is Not Enough to Spark Desire'

"Mere rarity is not enough to spark desire," he said. "The automobile business is a high fixed costs business: it creates pressure on the breakeven point to cover these costs. This explains the high price of the car."

Kapferer said the Celestiq's competitor is the Mercedes Maybach Class S model with full options, which costs around $250,000.

Other names in the luxury EV sector 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)  Air Grand Touring, which costs roughly $154,000.

"The question that remains is: does this very specific model appear as luxury and is it worth it?" Kapferer said. "Looking at the design of Celestiq, I feel there is not much reference to the legendary heritage Cadillac design. It looks as if it was a start up, a purely new brand. Does one enter the legend when buying such a car?"

Celestiq's reported cost stirred up a variety of comments on social media.

"At this price I’d expect enough battery life to drive to Pluto," one person noted on Twitter.

'Cadillac Pipe Dream Edition'

"Tell me you have too much money without telling me you have too much money," another person said.

"It's the Cadillac Pipe Dream Edition..." one commenter said.

One commenter noted that "GM can't figure out how to do mass market EV's so they are doubling down on the luxury market."

"The Hummer EV has been their only success, not surprising to see them try to duplicate their successes," the person said.

"I think it will sell, but it could be a failure like the ELR," another commenter said, referring to Cadillac's hybrid that was launched in 2013, but discontinued due to weak sales. "Which was a gorgeous vehicle, but an overpriced Volt."

Several Tesla supporters suggested buying one Musk's vehicles for less money and using the rest of the $300,000 to buy Tesla stock.

"Tesla fanbois need to chill," another tweet read. "Many automakers have limited edition cars. A 300k Cadillac will be packed to the brim with innovative tech."

A True Halo Car?

Over on Reddit, one poster said that "I think it's great that Cadillac seems to be making a true halo car that is entirely their own and not a derivative of a Chevy."

"Just not sure why they gave it a stripper name," another person said.

"Because at 300k it’s gonna be clapping your cheeks," came the response

 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.