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Q&A with Leigh Heppner, General Manager at Preston Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd.

Monica Sethi Darpan, 27 Mar, 2024
  • Q&A with Leigh Heppner, General Manager at Preston Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac Ltd.

Q1. What is Cadillac's vision regarding electric vehicles, and what challenges do you currently face in this area?

Leigh Heppner: Cadillac has an ambitious plan to transition to an all-electric lineup of vehicles in the future, and we are right at the forefront of that transition as we speak. Cadillac still has an outstanding lineup of internal combustion engine vehicles that we will be selling alongside electric options in the coming years, but we are seeing planned launches of electric vehicles scheduled at an incredible pace. As you may know, Cadillac has recently launched the all-new Cadillac LYRIQ, and in the next 1-2 years, we will see the new electric Cadillac Escalade iQ, Cadillac OPTIQ, Cadillac VISTIQ and, of course, the fully bespoke flagship Cadillac CELESTIQ sedan. We are fortunate that in Greater Vancouver, we have tremendous EV adoption, and the demand for upcoming electric vehicles is very high. You could say our largest challenge is simply that our full electric lineup hasn't quite arrived yet.

Q2. In your daily interactions with customers, how would you describe the level of interest in electric vehicles, especially considering the current challenges in that market?

Leigh Heppner: The interest in electric vehicles remains quite high. The recent challenges in the market, whether it be inflation, interest rates, or even just uncertainty, have made some consumers pause large purchases. Still, the interest in electric vehicles has remained strong. The truth is that more consumers than ever are taking a hard look at their budget, and with the high fuel cost, EVs have started to look even more appealing. The other reality is that some of the most exciting and interesting models in the marketplace are now electric. In the short-term, there would always be a place for internal combustion powered or hybrid vehicles, but the industry's momentum has shifted towards and remains primarily with fully electric.

Q3. How did you handle inventory challenges during the pandemic? As we look forward to 2024, what outlook does Preston Cadillac Dealership have for the year?

Leigh Heppner: The inventory challenges of the last few years were unprecedented, and the challenge was compounded for us by having some pretty incredible product launches. For example, when it debuted, the demand for the re-designed Cadillac Escalade was higher than we've ever seen. It created a very difficult situation when coupled with low supply due to inventory/supplier challenges. We've had many customers start custom-ordering their vehicles rather than purchasing from our in-stock inventory and being more patient when getting a vehicle. With that being said, many of our supply issues have been resolved, and we are feeling highly optimistic about 2024. We have quite a large in-stock inventory of many popular models, and despite some challenging economic circumstances in the world, there is still a great demand for Cadillac. With the help of the all-new Cadillac LYRIQ, we're expecting to see one of our strongest years ever for Cadillac sales.

Q4. For individuals considering a car purchase, what key factors should they consider, and can you highlight Preston's most popular car?

Leigh Heppner: The best piece of advice I can give anybody purchasing a new vehicle is to think about what you might want out of your car 2-3 years into the future, as opposed to simply considering what you need right now. Give some thought as to how your lifestyle might change. Are you thinking of starting a family? Buying a dog? Moving further away from work? These are the types of considerations to make when choosing your next vehicle's size, fuel economy, whether or not it should be an EV, etc. As for our most popular car? For Cadillac, at the moment, it's the LYRIQ. It's a perfectly sized 5-passenger SUV that has one of the smoothest and most luxurious rides of any vehicle I've driven, bar none. And it just so happens to be electric!

Q5. We've been hearing a lot about the Cadillac Lyriq All-Wheel Drive. Could you discuss some of its features, price points, etc?

Leigh Heppner: The Cadillac LYRIQ is one of our most sought-after vehicles. With All-Wheel Drive, it starts at just under $70,000, or about $73,000. It has an estimated range of up to 505 km and up to 500 horsepower. It has a remarkably smooth but sporty and performance-oriented ride and all of the latest technology, such as Google built-in, a 19-speaker AKG Audio System, Super Cruise, and much more. There's too much to list!

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