"Since these new technologies are pricey, it really begins to make a lot of common sense, not in all cases, to roll out some of them in Cadillac first," he said. "We therefore see it as a great opportunity for Cadillac to take the lead from GM with rolling out these things. Not only for the company and economically commercializing these new technologies, but also for the brand elevation it will give to Cadillac."
The American brand, according to de Nysschen, sees electrification as an opportunity and "inflection point" to gain ground against German luxury brands such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz that have dominated the global luxury market for decades.
"Over many decades, they've built a reputation for excellent execution and great engineering. When it gets to electrification and a whole new set of considerations drive the buying decision, the fact that you made fantastic engines for three decades counts zip," he said.
The Germans aren't resting on their laurels, though. Each has announced aggressive electrification plans, including Audi planning 25 percent of its U.S. lineup to be EVs by 2025 and BMW announcing an onslaught of 25 electrified vehicles, including 12 EVs, during that same time frame. M-B has committed to launching 10 all-electric vehicles by 2022 -- around when Cadillac will begin shifting to the technology.
As Cadillac ramps up its EV offerings, de Nysschen said the brand will continue to offer vehicles with internal combustion engines, in some cases having "multiple entries" in the same segment with different powertrains.
"These new technologies are fascinating and disruptive but at the moment not yet all commercially feasible. After all, go look at how much money Tesla has made, to illustrate the point," he said, later adding that the internal combustion engine is "going to be around for a while."