In a unique move by a carmaker, General Motors is giving some customers a big discount on their new 2023 Cadillac Lyriq all-electric SUV in exchange for signing a confidentiality agreement on the vehicle and agreeing to let GM track how they use it.
The carmaker gave customers a $ 5,500 discount on the purchase or rental of Lyriq, according to two sources familiar with the plan who did not have the authority to talk about details about it. The selected customers signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep Mom informed of their experience of owning or driving one of the first Lyriqs with any parties outside of GM.
Cadillac spokesman Michael Albano confirmed the program, saying he believes GM is the first of any automaker to tap customers ̵[ads1]1; versus employees – in real time in its new cars to study driving patterns and behavior.
“As we transform our business, the launch of our first all-electric vehicle, the Lyriq, Cadillac offers some unique learning opportunities,” Albano told Free Press. “Therefore, we have engaged a small group of early customers who agree to share their vehicle information and customer behavior. Cadillac will use these lessons to elevate the experience for all our customers.”
A “private agreement”
Albano also said that the importance of Lyriq for Cadillac’s future as the brand switches to all-electric by 2030 cannot be overestimated.
Lyriq, which is being built at GM’s Spring Hill Assembly plant in Tennessee, is one of GM’s first electric cars to use the Ultium battery propulsion system that will support 29 other new electric cars that GM will bring to market over the next few years. The 2022 GMC Hummer pickup, which began rolling out late last year, also uses the Ultium.
Last week, Cadillac of Novi received the first production Lyriq in the world delivered to its showroom. The dealer sold the vehicle on Thursday to the customer who ordered it earlier in the year. Cadillac had sent out engineers to show the dealer’s technicians how to service the vehicle, and there was extra prepping, “the white glove treatment,” Albano said.
“We are doing our best to get this launch right,” Albano said. “It’s a critical launch.”
It includes coming up with the idea of the study that tracks early users.
Earlier this summer, GM’s luxury brand quietly pushed the Cadillac Lyriq Targeted Private Offer to certain customers, which was first reported by Carsdirect.com on June 30. In a dealer bulletin last month, Cadillac said the program was available nationally and that GM was offering select customers a $ 5,500 cash rebate on 2023 Lyriq on purchase or lease from June 28 to August 31, according to Carsdirect.com.
The rear-wheel drive Lyriq starts at $ 62,990, a price tag of $ 3,000 from the Lyriq Debut edition. The four-wheel drive model starts at $ 64,990. Initial deliveries of the four-wheel drive model will start early next year.
The bulletin, Carsdirect.com said, stopped to say who was eligible or why GM had such an agreement in place.
But a Cadillac dealer familiar with the program told Free Press this week that in exchange for the discount, the selected customers agreed to be part of an early adoption study and give Cadillac access to their driving patterns. The dealer requested not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak for Cadillac.
Albano said that around 20 customers were chosen for it. He declined to outline the parameters for how the participants were selected, but Albano said that they are mostly located in the New York, Detroit and Los Angeles areas and are “early adopters, they are technically knowledgeable and they want the first and the best. . “
“The number of customers involved is intentionally very small,” Albano said in an email. “We will use the program to learn more about customer behavior and their vehicles. Beyond that, the details of the program are a private agreement between the customer and Cadillac.”
The whole GM ‘up for evaluation’
Cadillac opened the order banks for Lyriq on 19 May, but within two hours it stopped taking orders for 2023 Lyriq, and said that it was sold out. GM will not quantify what sold out means, but earlier this year GM asked suppliers to prepare to produce 25,000 Lyriqs this year.
GM’s luxury brand has a lot to say about Lyriq being a success.
“Lyriq is very important to Cadillac. Really important,” said Erik Gordon, a business professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. “If this works, the Cadillac brand will move forward. If that doesn’t work, someone will lose their head on Cadillac and they will have to figure out what to do to make the brand relevant. “
So it’s no surprise that GM is taking an extra step with this unique customer study to protect the brand, Gordon said. Still, it is an unusual and daring move that you usually see in industries outside of cars, he said. The technology industry, he said, will launch beta versions of their software to customers for feedback and to make adjustments and updates before launching the mass version, for example.
“I do not know of any other occurrence of this in the automotive industry. But I understand it in a way,” Gordon said. “You come out with a new product and a new platform. You like to collect data. I think it’s more realistic to collect data from non-employees; you get a wider range of people and people who are not so gung-ho. You get real-world data. “
And getting clients to sign an NDA also makes sense, because “you do not want people to gossip about your experiment,” said Gordon, who is also a lawyer and said the NDA is legal in this case and enforced.
Albano explained GM’s motive for making this study simple as GM not only changes the series to all-electric, but reinvents its go-to-market strategy and “every part of our business is up for evaluation. It’s not a single part of the business ours that we do not transform. “
Albano said Cadillac has historically conducted vehicle studies with employees.
“But there is a lot we can learn from customers beyond the physical vehicle,” Albano said. “We can see their charging behavior, driving behavior and how they use the vehicle.”
Albano said GM will use “a variety of ways to gather customer information,” including direct phone calls, dealer contacts and a dedicated EV concierge team. He had no further details, including how long the NDA lasts, what the penalty is for breaking it and whether GM will monitor vehicle software to collect data.
Several Cadillac dealers told Free Press that they support the customer survey, calling it smart because it can help Cadillac detect and fix any manufacturing or engineering defects early, and it provides Cadillac with knowledge of customers’ driving behavior to make future improvements to vehicles.
And it could help GM avoid massive recalls of a recently launched vehicle, such as Ford Motor Co., which in June issued a recall affecting 48,924 of 2021-22 Mustang Mach-E vehicles built over a two-year period . The electric car may lose power while driving or not start.
On Monday, three owners of the recalled Mach-E filed a federal lawsuit against Ford, saying that the Dearborn carmaker has known of a design flaw in its electric vehicles that causes power loss while driving, but has not figured out how to fix the problem.
“You want to fix the first 100 of them, you do not want to make a big recall,” Gordon said of new vehicle launches. “A recall is expensive and it damages the brand.”
Not your father’s customer
Ivan Drury worked with product planning at American Honda Motor Co. long before his current role as senior manager for insights at Edmunds.com. At Honda, the company held focus groups with customers or hired third-party research firms to ask customers and do reliability studies, he said.
But GM’s program is “the first time I’ve heard of it to this degree.” But he applauds it. “With the data they collect through the vehicle, they can actually confirm things. If they look through a real lens – then this is the way to go,” Drury said.
Drury also understands why GM wants participants to sign an NDA, but he hopes customers understand that it could mean: “We’ll look at everything you do, all the features you use, every mile you drive, how much you pay, need they so much range? You can get some powerful datasets. (GMs) do not waste their money. “
Drury called Lyriq “one of the most important launches of the last decade” and said GM should monitor everything it can in cars.
GM would have to wait too long if it commissioned an outside company to conduct an investigation into customers’ reaction to Lyriq or its performance, Drury said. Eager, tech-savvy customers want flawless technology quickly. They lack the patience and tolerance of traditional car buyers.
“This is a different type of customer,” Drury said.
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Contact Jamie L. LaReau at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @jlareauan. Read more on General motors and sign up for our autos newsletter. Become a subscriber.