Currently reading: GM to begin European return with Cadillac Lyriq in Switzerland
American car giant starts return to region with all-electric line-up planned

General Motors will begin its return to the European market as an EV-only manufacturer with the launch of the Cadillac Lyriq SUV in Switzerland this week.

The American giant withdrew from mainland Europe and the UK after selling Opel and Vauxhall to the PSA Group in 2017, retaining just a limited import operation for Cadillac and the Chevrolet Corvette.

However, it established a new European arm in 2021, headquarted in Zurich, Switzerland, and has been steadily preparing to return with an all-electric line-up of cars. GM will open sales of the Lyriq SUV in the country tomorrow (Friday, 6 October), with plans to expand to five further countries – starting with Sweden and France – in the next two years. There is no word yet on any plans for the UK.

The Lyriq will be pitched as a Mercedes-Benz and BMW rival, and priced at CHF82,000 (£73,700) in Switzerland. That compares with a starting price of $58,000 (£52,200) in the US. The large SUV features a huge, 102kWh battery for a range of up to 330 miles and its twin-motor set-up offers 521bhp.

GM has committed to having a fully electric line-up worldwide by 2035 and has invested heavily in developing the new Ultium EV platform that underpins the Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV, among other vehicles.

GM’s previous European efforts featured distinct European brands, but this time it's set to use its existing portfolio of American brands. That will start with Cadillac, which has been reinvigorated in the US with a fresh push to the premium market, but could also include the more mainstream Chevrolet brand. GM has also been considering offering the Hummer EV in the region, although its substantial weight presents a challenge because it would be classed as a heavy goods vehicle.

Notably, Cadillac returned to motorsport in 2023 with an LMDh endurance racer that competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours, giving it a high-profile tool to reinforce a global profile.

GM Europe has been tasked with acting as a rapid start-up, with the intention that its lack of a legacy ICE division in Europe will enable it to more easily push its EVs.

This will involve GM employing a pared-back, online-only retail model – similar to Tesla, Polestar and Genesis – that would enable a return without the substantial investment in a dealer network. It will open an 'experience centre' in Zurich to showcase cars, although it will offer online sales only.

GM’s European ambitions aren’t limited to selling cars, either: it's set to offer products and services under its new Brightdrop last-mile-delivery brand as well.

Jaclyn McQuaid will lead the GM Europe division for the relaunch, having taken over the role late last year.

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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Anton motorhead 6 October 2023
Of course Cadillac deserves a comeback in Europe and I can only wish them all possible success with reintroducing their brand over here. Their cars are vastly better than people think. My own experience with 1400 mls in a 2011 STS with the famed Northstar engine was fantastic. Sharp steering, sharp engine response and sharp handling - all way out of proportion with it's size and weight made it a hoot to drive. There were some lemons in the past, but with the introduction of the elegant 4th generation Seville in '93, they were back on track. The CTS was a great car too. I knew a man who owned 8 of them and preferred them to MBs and BMWs. Cadillac have a bold approach to design and cudos for that. Do I turn my head when I see an MB SL? Naa, but this summer I saw a Cadillac XLR and nearly broke my neck. It is just so refreshingly different with it's angular and yet elegant style. The SL may be a better car, but it can't beat the XLR on wow-factor. Welcome back to Europe and our racetracks.
jason_recliner 5 October 2023
Incredible car at an amazingly reasonable price. Caddy's back, baby!
tuga 5 October 2023
Looking forward to GM running their mouth talking a big game, trying to sell average products at premium prices, under-delivering in sales, and ultimately backing out of Europe again because they will " choose to focus on more interesting markets ".