GM invests $81 million to hand-build Cadillac Celestiq luxury electric cars

Front driver’s side view of the Celestiq show car, which GM is expected to unveil in late July.


DETROIT — General Motors said Wednesday it will invest $81 million at its global design and technology campus in suburban Detroit to hand-build the next Cadillac Celestiq — a new flagship electric car from the brand that will be produced in limited quantities.

The move marks the first time GM will build a vehicle for commercial sales at its massive technology campus in Warren, Michigan. It also marks a pivot for Cadillac to offer a handcrafted car, which is typically reserved for high-end sports cars and ultra-luxury vehicles such as Bentley’s exclusive models, as GM pushes to revive the quintessential American brand into a tech-savvy electric vehicle manufacturer capable of challenging Tesla.

“As Cadillac’s future flagship sedan, Celestiq signifies a new era of rebirth for the brand,” GM Chairman Mark Reuss said in a statement.

GM is to officially unveil the car next month. Only hundreds are expected to be produced each year and cost $200,000 or more per car, Cadillac Chairman Steve Carlisle told The Wall Street Journal in 2020.

The vehicle will be based on GM’s new Ultium electric vehicle platform, which was first used in the GMC Hummer EV. The platform is meant to be modular and underpin GM’s new electric vehicles, including 30 new models by 2025.

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In a statement on Wednesday, GM said the investment will be used to purchase and install equipment to hand-build the Celestiq and for campus renovations that are already underway. The company has reconfirmed that the Celestiq roof is set to be one of the first to feature suspended-particle four-quadrant smart glass that allows each car occupant to set their own level of roof transparency.

The automaker also said the vehicle will feature a new interior display screen that spans the full width of the vehicle and includes more than 100 3D printed parts.

Although machines are used in the manufacture of handcrafted vehicles, they are largely controlled by humans. This compares to a typical vehicle, which is largely produced on an assembly line using hundreds of robots alongside assembly workers.

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