The Cadillac Lyriq has just started hitting buyers driveways across the U.S. and is promising a glimpse at the brand’s battery-powered future. But, don’t go hoping for any honest review from customers anytime soon, as GM gave owners a discount if they signed a non-disclosure agreement preventing them from talking with anyone outside the company about their experience with the Lyriq. Understandably, this has safety experts concerned.
General Motors offered buyers of its Lyriq all-electric SUV a $5,500 discount if they agreed to sign the NDA, which barred them from discussing their Lyriq driving experience with anyone outside of GM.
Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in talks with GM over the agreements as it is concerned it would prevent buyers from reporting any safety issues they may run into. According to the Detroit Free Press:
“On Wednesday, NHTSA spokesperson Lucia Sanchez told the Detroit Free Press the agency is ‘in communication with GM regarding’ the nondisclosure agreements and whether they would inhibit someone from reporting safety issues with the agency.
“‘NHTSA relies on reports from consumers as an important source of information in evaluating potential safety defects,’ said Sanchez in an email. ‘Any agreement that may prevent or dissuade consumers from reporting safety concerns to NHTSA is unacceptable’.”
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The NDA offer was reportedly given to “fewer than 20" Lyriq buyers in metro Detroit, New York and Los Angeles, according to the firm. As well as exclusively sharing their experiences of the EV with GM, the customers also agreed to have their Lyriq usage tracked by GM.
Michael Albano, a Cadillac spokesperson, previously explained the agreement to Jalopnik via email. He said: “Customers will share their experiences verbally. We would review milestones with them such as delivery process, range they are experiencing, charging time, their Cadillac apps experiences, etc. If their vehicle requires service they will provide us access to the vehicle or information, so we can learn and improve service.”
According to a statement released by Cadillac, the 20 early adopters are part of an “ambassador program” GM is rolling out with the Lyriq. The firm confirmed that the program did not prevent users from “from reporting any issue, safety or otherwise, to NHTSA or any other regulatory body.”
As such, GM says it will be writing to those involved in the scheme to assure them “that they are not prohibited from reporting any concern to NHTSA or any other entity.”
It does seem like a pretty strange scheme to be involved in. The last time we heard about NDAs for car buyers it was with the rollout of Tesla’s latest driver assistance software, and any automaker taking a page out the Musk playbook should have us worried.
But, if you were signing on the dotted line for a $63,000 electric SUV and got told you could get $5,000 off for letting GM know about your experiences and secrets, would you take them up on the offer?