General Motors is bailing on CES 2020, the big annual consumer technology showcase in Las Vegas, after its plans to showcase an autonomous, electric vehicle were derailed by the 40-day UAW strike this fall. New evidence suggests that vehicle may have been Cadillac’s upcoming EV crossover.
MotorTrend got GM to confirm that it was pulling out of CES, which takes place in January, though CEO Mary Barra in an interview said only that the vehicle they had planned to unveil was electric and featured autonomous technology — two key areas where the automaker plans to focus in the future. The automaker said the model simply wasn’t ready. But MT said it then received an invitation from Cruise, GM’s self-driving vehicle subsidiary, to an event later in January in San Francisco. That suggests the automaker could have been planning a different vehicle to show at CES than its self-driving Cruise AV “robotaxi,” which famously features no steering wheel or pedals.
Cadillac showed off a digital rendering of a forthcoming unnamed electric crossover in Detroit in January, saying only that it would be available in both two- and all-wheel drive and sold globally. GM has said Cadillac will be its lead brand as GM delves into EV technology. The speculation is that the crossover will also feature Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous highway driving technology.
Whatever the vehicle was, or is, Barra said it’ll be ready for viewing in the first half of 2020.
GM has been developing the Chevrolet Bolt-based Cruise AV, a fully autonomous car, alongside its Cruise self-driving technology subsidiary, and building them at Orion Assembly plant near Detroit. It had once planned to debut a fleet of ride-hailing Cruise AV robot axis by the end of this year but realized the timeline was not realistic.
Testing of the robot axis continues in San Francisco, Phoenix and Michigan. As for timing on a new timeline for fleets of Cruise AVs to take over the streets, Barra wouldn’t show her hand. “We see a line of sight but we’re not going to put another date out there,” she told MT, adding it was more important to “gain customer trust and usage.”
As for Cadillac, any new reveal would likely come after the all-new Escalade SUV in February and amid a product blitz that will see it introduce a new or redesigned model roughly every six months through 2021. Cadillac President Steve Carlisle told Automotive News the new Escalade will get Super Cruise with expanded features, possibly including automatic lane-changing capability.