The Cadillac Celestiq EV Makes A Valiant Bid To Be The Standard Of The World

Morning Dump Cadillac Celestiq

Cadillac unveils its Celestiq flagship, a Hyundai subsidiary is reportedly using child labor, Germany eases congestion by making public transit cheap. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Cadillac Unveils Its Flagship

Cadillac Celestiq Show Car 13
Photo credit: Cadillac

Well, well, well, if it isn’t another gorgeous high-end show car from Cadillac. Yes, we finally know what the Celestiq will look like, thanks to an online debut on Friday. This car is a big deal for Cadillac, chiefly because plans for production are in the cards for this big sedan. Not only is it an electric vehicle riding on GM’s Ultium platform, it packs properly impressive tech. A proper Mercedes-Benz EQS rival from Cadillac? The standard of the world might be back.

See, the Celestiq plans on breaking ground in a variety of areas. You’ve heard of electrochromic moonroofs, but the Celestiq features four-zone variable-opacity roof glass. Likewise, an Escalade may have Super Cruise hands-free Level 2 driver assistance, but the Celestiq promises Ultra Cruise which claims door-to-door hands-free driving on virtually all paved public roads in America. Honestly, Ultra Cruise probably isn’t a bad idea considering some drivers may be distracted by the massive 55-inch LED infotainment display.

Cadillac Celestiq Show Car 18
Photo credit: Cadillac

As for design, the Celestiq is certainly distinctive, and rather handsome when viewed piece-by-piece. The greenhouse has Sixteen vibes, the fastback has a hint of 1941 Sedanette to it, and the clamshell front end works beautifully. Truthfully, I’m waiting on seeing the Celestiq in person before passing judgment on styling cohesion as lighting seems fairly heavily manipulated in the press photos.

While detailed specifications of the Celestiq haven’t been released yet, I feel fairly comfortable speculating that Cadillac’s flagship will cost more than twelve dollars, pump out at least one horsepower, and get from a dead stop to 60 mph in under 100 years. The Celestiq will also likely have a range of more than four inches, weigh more than two grams, and have all the air inside the vehicle included as a standard feature. Expect more details on the Celestiq to drop later this year as Cadillac gears up for production.

Hyundai Subsidiary Reportedly Using Child Labor In America

Hyundai Tucson Plant
Photo credit: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama

Well, this story’s a bit shocking. Reuters reports that SMART Alabama, a Hyundai majority-owned stamping company that supplies Hyundai’s Alabama assembly plant, has been using child laborers to press out parts for vehicles like the Tucson compact crossover, Sonata midsize sedan, and Santa Fe midsize crossover. Reuters claims that SMART may be targeting migrant workers and their families, and that some underage workers are as young as 12 years old.

Reuters learned of underage workers at the Hyundai-owned supplier following the brief disappearance in February of a Guatemalan migrant child from her family’s home in Alabama.

The girl, who turns 14 this month, and her two brothers, aged 12 and 15, all worked at the plant earlier this year and weren’t going to school, according to people familiar with their employment. Their father, Pedro Tzi, confirmed these people’s account in an interview with Reuters.

Well, that doesn’t seem so good. I know it’s likely privileged to say that children should stay in school and be allowed to be kids, but stamping plants can be mildly dangerous places. What’s more, Reuters alleges that Tzi’s children aren’t isolated incidents.

Pedro Tzi’s children, who have now enrolled for the upcoming school term, were among a larger cohort of underage workers who found jobs at the Hyundai-owned supplier over the past few years, according to interviews with a dozen former and current plant employees and labor recruiters.

Several of these minors, they said, have foregone schooling in order to work long shifts at the plant, a sprawling facility with a documented history of health and safety violations, including amputation hazards.

Most of the current and former employees who spoke with Reuters did so on the condition of anonymity. Reuters was unable to determine the precise number of children who may have worked at the SMART factory, what the minors were paid or other terms of their employment.

Well, if this report is indeed accurate, this seems like a bit of a human rights violation considering there are age minimums for working around heavy machinery like stamping equipment. Needless to say, this will be an interesting story to follow, not only in terms of labor law but also in terms of consumer backlash. Then again, we as a society buy lots of stuff made in countries with less than stellar human rights records, so will the average consumer really care?

Used Car Prices Are Going Steady

A Buy Here Pay Here Dealer
Photo credit: “Used car dealer in Miami” by ryantxr is marked with CC BY 2.0.

We’re past the mid-month mark, which means it’s time to take a look at the Manheim Index and see how the used car market is doing. While the Manheim Index isn’t perfect, bulk wholesale vehicle data from such a large wholesaler is a great way of tracking where the used car market is going. According to the latest data, seasonally-adjusted wholesale pricing is up by 0.7 percent across the board, but unadjusted wholesale values continued to fall through the first two weeks of July by 2.2 percent. In addition, wholesale values are predicted to drop a touch in the second half of this month.

Over the last two weeks, Manheim Market Report (MMR) prices saw higher-than-normal but decelerating declines. Over that time, the Three-Year-Old MMR Index, which represents the largest model-year cohort at auction, experienced a 1.5% cumulative decline. Over the first 15 days of July, MMR Retention, which is the average difference in price relative to current MMR, averaged 97.8%, which indicates that valuation models are ahead of market prices. The average daily sales conversion rate of 46.7% in the first half of July declined relative to June’s daily average of 51.3% and has been lower than the typical conversion rate this time of year. The latest trends in key indicators suggest wholesale used-vehicle values should see declines in the second half of the month.

Altogether, not bad news for anyone limping their current hooptie along in the hopes that used car values will seem less extraterrestrial in the future. While it’ll take a long time for used car prices to approach anything near normal, the chance of prices declining to an acceptable level in the next few years seems fairly good. For any car shopper, it’s really all about waiting for pricing that feels comfortable.

Germany’s Cheap Public Transit May Have Eased Some Roadway Congestion

Autobahn
Photo credit: Ruben Holthuijsen, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I really hope I’m not alone here in loving cars but hating traffic. I live in Toronto, which is about one hour from Toronto in peak traffic. Highway 401 has long held a claim as the busiest highway in North America, to the point where it’s basically impossible to catch a speeding ticket when the sun’s shining on a workday. The highway just doesn’t move. However, Reuters reports that Germany has found a potential solution for roadway congestion – just make public transit really cheap at nine Euros ($9.21) per month.

While it is still early to draw conclusions, data compiled by the navigation company TomTom for Reuters suggest the policy may be having an effect.

During the week of June 20, rush-hour traffic congestion was down in 23 of 26 cities compared with the week of May 16, before the new ticket was introduced, the data show. TomTom chose the two weeks because they were both free of holidays.

“This decline is related to the introduction of the nine-euro ticket,” said TomTom traffic specialist Ralf-Peter Schaefer.

I won’t lie, I already use the subway if I have to pop out during peak travel hours because surface street commuting is so dreadful. Heavily-subsidized public transit accessibility is a good move, not just for people with cars, but also for people who can’t afford cars, want to get to work faster, or simply want to enjoy an adult beverage with the work crew after clocking out. Remember, public transit doesn’t have to make any money because it’s a public service, so it only really needs to break even once fare revenue and taxpayer funding is factored in. Let’s hope other jurisdictions follow Germany’s lead, for the sake of everyone who needs to get places.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Happy Friday, everyone! The weekend is basically here, which means it’s almost car time. As such, I’d love to hear what car things you have planned. I’m personally doing some stone chip touch-up on the 325i and attending a local cars and coffee-style event. Nothing too massive, but sometimes it’s the little things that make life fun.

Lead photo credit: Cadillac

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40 Responses

  1. Is the Celestiq supposed to be a concept, or is this really it? Because if it’s the latter, kudos to Cadillac. This is probably the most interesting design they’ve had for the past… well…. the let’s just stick with “the past”. My problems of their design for the past 20 years or so has always been that the cars looked they ran out of ideas by the time they had to design the rear of the car.
    Interior also looks very good and very 1970’s Cadillac, especially in red. Don’t know if they will ever become the standard of the world (again?) but so far the car looks like a worthy contender in the EV space.

  2. Cadillac’s new taillight look is kinda bad. They just don’t fit like Cadillac thinks they do, they’re really awkward and they’ve never quite figured out how to make them fit the profile.

    1. This is a lesson in why you don’t hire hockey fans and boomerang enthusiasts to design lighting. Having been blinded by the light of the Escalade’s blinding light show on more than one late evening, I can imagine that the Celestiq is going to take it to a new level of pain.

  3. I like the new Caddy as a concept. Want to see what it is when it hits the road.

    Car plans – Full detail on both and try to touch up where some ding dong decided that ramming a cart into my car was easier than using the cart corral 2 parking spots down.

  4. I’ll be crawling under the Civic tomorrow to figure out how mangled the exhaust is after bottoming it out on a stupidly steep driveway apron last month. It’s banging against the chassis somewhere, but is slowly getting worse, so I expect a new cat-back is in my near future.

    1. I feel your pain. I forgot which car I was driving the other day since I rarely get racecar out these days, and ran right over a dead racoon. I have a sturdy aluminum underbody shroud for just such occasions to protect things, but the carcass hit the little panel to get to the oil filter and drain plug square on and busted it off. Then, the edge of the shroud hole became a deli slicer and I ended up with some dead animal bits inside the shroud, getting literally cooked by the transmission and exhaust. I noticed something wasn’t good when I smelled what could best be described as rotten hamburger coming through the vents.

      Cleanup was not fun, but better than a broken part.

  5. I’m not doing anything to my car this weekend, but I am going to drive it to the beach! The other car things I will be doing is watching some hot open wheel racing, IndyCar double header and F1 grand prix!

  6. I’d have rather they went with the Escala for the design, since I’m not loving the rear end/taillight treatment, but IF it makes it to production it should give them a halo car and sense of direction.

  7. I really like the looks of Cadillac’s new flagship sedan. My only requests would be a thin strip each of both mustard and mayo on the sidewalls ensconcing those giant turbine wheels, and a smart glass roof that’s programed to look like a padded vinyl top when it’s not letting light through.

  8. If Hyundai makes that N Vision 74 I will probably forgive them just about anything. Though obtaining one will probably cause a bit of a row with the spouse who lost the tip of a finger working under the table as a teenager at a Hyundai stamping facility (decades ago in Korea on summer break from college).

      1. They always fudged the numbers, they listed it as “bodies” but it really was tested as “live teenagers climbing in under their own power to sneak into a drive-in movie”.

  9. I’m hoping to diagnose my D100s inconsistent starting and/or replace the inner and outer tie rods on my Mustang but this 105 degree heat kind of makes me want to just keep putting it off since neither car is a daily or even weekly ride..

    1. Do influencers buy these things? Or do they rent them for an hour so they can take a picture in front of it, upload to Instagram captioned “blessed”, then move on to their Caribbean resort holiday – otherwise known as a pile of concrete sand in the backyard with a beach towel over it

  10. “Ultra Cruise which claims door-to-door hands-free driving on virtually all paved public roads in America.”

    Wouldn’t that be essentially level 4 autonomy? Seems like kind of a huge deal if true, but it and Cadillac’s repeated failures to deliver on their amazing concepts makes me highly skeptical of this whole thing.

    “I live in Toronto, which is about one hour from Toronto in peak traffic.”

    Ha, this is excellent!

    My only problem with this whole thing is that in my experience public transit is also stupidly congested during rush hour. The best policy seems to be avoid moving about during rush hour at all, if you can.

  11. “I live in Toronto, which is about one hour from Toronto in peak traffic.”

    That’s nothing! Montreal is three hours from Montreal at it’s worst on a holiday weekend. All due to the interminable summer construction projects.

  12. With heat indexes around 110+ here, I’m not doing much of anything to my cars. But I’m doing an interior detail on a car tomorrow, gotta keep that side business going. Hoping I can start early enough that I avoid the worst of the heat.

  13. Well, I live in Germany and can tell you that the €9 experiment is a colossal disaster and has lot of serious consequences…

    The cheap €9 monthly for the unlimited travel within Germany on local and regional network is one the worst ideas ever cooked up by the leftist, green communist, socialist politicians. One more month then the nightmare is over!

    What those tinpot green dictators don’t anticipate is whether the infrastructure was properly beefied up for higher demand. The month of June was so bad that Deutsche Bahn and regional train companies worked overtime in adding more carriages to the train sets and working around the maintenance of the carriages and train sets (or deferring them until the autumn). In some places, it’s not possible due to the shorter platforms at the smaller train stations. At times, we have equipment breakdown due to the deferred maintenance.

    The insane scheme caused the massive overcrowding of the regional trains and lengthier time for disembarking and boarding. Some platforms were filled from the edge to edge of passengers who are angry and frustrated while at the same time, the disembarking passengers were angry and frustrated about the logjam on the platforms when trying to push through the crowd. Many times, it was so bad that we were encouraged to take the next trains or switch to different train routes (S-Bahn, for instance), which are already overcrowded, anyway. Good luck to the people with bicycles, prams, or mobility aids who sometimes couldn’t board the trains. Or the passengers at the smaller train stations between two main cities trying to board the overpacked trains.

    The regional trains used to be mostly punctual or late by several minutes now are 20–60 minutes late many times. Deutsche Bahn often used “unauthorised persons on the track” (Unbefugten Personen am Gleis) as the cover for the severely delayed trains, but we’re not buying this baloney.

    Secondly, who is going to pay for the shortfall in ticket sales as to cover the operating, staffing, and maintaining cost during the summer? Some German states had initially indicated their refusal to participate in the mad €9 scheme but were strong-armed into accepting it. Come September, Deutsche Bahn will increase the ticket fares as to compensate for the shortfall. There’s no such a thing as “free lunch”.

  14. The skin of that Cadillac has a bit of that “vaccum-sealed” vibe that I get from some of Mazda’s newer designs. Not saying that’s a bad thing, just an observation.

    Still deciding how I feel about the taillight corner strip things being at conflicting angles, though…

  15. Really, child labor violations in Alabama? How could this happen? I’m truly shocked that the highly educated, most union friendly state in these here United States could have something like that happen. It boggles the mind.

    On another note, the ass end of that Cadillac is just awful. Have a great weekend all!!

  16. Going away with the family for a few days, just a couple hours out, but it’ll still be the furthest my 3yo’s ever been away from home. Given that he already gets a little squirrely after an hour in the car, we’re looking to break the drive up, and conveniently there’s a car show at an aviation museum (Vintage Wheels & Wings at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, outside of Hamilton, for GTA people). I’m fairly sure I’ve got my wife’s signoff, she’s enjoyed it fine before, and our son likes planes (and cars to a lesser extent), so any excuse to get out of the car and walk around for a bit is on the table.

  17. Chasing The Dragon Hillclimb -an SCCA event- is happening Sat & Sun in NC. I even scheduled a 4-day weekend for it, but the heat, need to slap some siding on my abode, and especially the increasing loud clonk I’ve been hearing during sudden speed-deltas makes that doubtful. I seem to remember being short a bolt for the transmission cross member after the clutch job awhile back. Not confidence-inspiring for the ~6 hour drive to Robbinsville

  18. Hyundai chose to build a factory in a jurisdiction where they wouldn’t have to deal with all those pesky labor standards inspectors. Good Move! Way to maximize shareholder value!

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