Published on February 22nd, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Roughly Half Of Dealers Will Carry Cadillac ELR

February 22nd, 2014 by  

Originally published on Gas2.


Many Cadillac dealers across America have decided against carrying the 2014 Cadillac ELR on their lots. It’s another blow to the image of Cadillac’s first attempt at a plug-in hybrid, though it stands to reason that some areas might scoff at the idea of a hybrid Caddy coupe.

Cadillac told Edmunds that 410 of its 940, or about 56% of dealers in America will not carry the Cadillac ELR on its launch. Most of those dealers are located in areas where Cadillac sales are low-volume, or the local populace has yet to open their minds to the idea of a $75,995 plug-in hybrid based on the Chevy Volt. There’s another reason too though, and it has to do with Deniro.

Selling the Cadillac ELR requires dealer training, special tools, and the installation of charging stations. All told, this could cost individual dealers $15,000 or more to sell a car that is unlikey to sell more than 3,000 units total in 2014. Even if every dealer participated in ELR sales, that only works out to about three cars per dealer. Many dealers would be lucky to sell even a single ELR in 2014, depending on their location and customer base, though a few early adopters are plenty happy with their rides.

Still, if Cadillac really wants to compete with the likes of Tesla Motors, it needs to be able to push its green luxury cars across the country, and not only at select dealers. The first commercial for the Cadillac ELR makes it clear they’re not targeting affluent liberals where Tesla has had most of its success, but rather workaholic conservatives who are unapologetically ‘Merican.

I think it’s a mistake that will only end up hurting Cadillac’s image with consumers; what sort of message does it convey that half of dealers don’t want to carry the ELR? Are Cadillac buyers really that turned off by the notion of a hybrid?

Source: Edmunds

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • craig

    your math is way off. 410/940 = 43%

    • Maxwell Gold

      Guys there is a Tesla dealer 5 minutes from my home..they do exist

  • Craig

    How many dealerships does Tesla have in the US? Cadillac will have 530 dealers selling the ELR. Let’s have a littler perspective in this debate

    • Albertico

      Tesla has zero dealerships, you can order online.

      • Craig

        Actually they have at multiple locations but it’s less than 100 in the US

        • Albertico

          You can’t buy a car at a showroom. Is just to see the vehicle and maybe test drive it.

          All Tesla sales are conducted online and the people at the showrooms/dealers have nothing to do with the sale process.

          • Craig

            Those stores have plenty to do with the sale process . Why would anyone open a retail store if not to sell more of their product? Tesla is trying to get around state dealership laws by having you go online to close the sale.

          • Albertico

            Tesla is not trying to get around anything.

            Their business model has always been direct sales, never did they ever attempt to sell through dealerships. The stores are to see the product, learn about it and try them out. They will direct you to the website for purchase and that’s it.

            Your info on the Tesla sale process is incorrect sir.

          • Craig

            The stores are part of the sales process. You are incorrect. Because if I am wrong then I guess the Retail Chief of Tesla is wrong too. From Q&A with George Blankenship

            Q. What lessons do you expect to apply at Tesla from your experiences working on Apple and Microsoft stores?

            When I started at Apple, we wanted to become the best place to buy a computer. After a couple years, we learned from our customers that there was another element: Apple was the best place to own a computer. If you treat a customer as a one-time sale, will you really take care of them? If you entice them with new things and treat them in a very special way, they become evangelists. I want to approach this as the best place to own a car.

            Q. How will your approach be different this time around?

            At Apple the mission was to get in front of as many capable, inclined customers as possible, and treat them royally. I don’t know that I’ll do much different than that here.


          • Albertico

            What does that post or interview have to do with the sale process? You should visit a Tesla showroom and see for yourself.

          • Craig

            I have been the showroom in Tysons. The retail locations are designed to help them sell more cars. If you didn’t get that from article, nor from visiting their stores, then we’ll just have to disagree.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Aren’t there two versions of Tesla’s showrooms?

            In most states one can purchase at the showroom, can’t they?

            Only in the couple of states that are trying to protect dealers is one required to order on line.

  • Matt

    You can’t by pass the dealer. The manufacture and the dealer signed a contract. The dealer puts in their money to build the distribution center and the manufacture agrees not to sell them direct. But now the ELR need $15k in dealer improvements before the dealer can sell them. Cadillac could have lower that cost. They could install or pay for installation of the charges. Done the training for free. It is why Tesla wanted skip dealer and control to sale experience. It covers all the cost to get a location fully functional so every site is fully functional.

    • Albertico

      Tesla knew what they were doing. Hence why dealers are heading an all out war against them. Direct sales, or at least having the option to, is the future. It would save GM much hassle they are dealing with now trying to sell the ELR through dealerships.

  • Ross

    They could start selling them over the Internet and bypass the legacy dealerships.

    • Waiting for someone to start doing that. (A major auto co.)

  • ToddFlach

    Just wait until the ELR is marketed as an alternative to the Tesla S…why pay 25 thousand more for a battery that is so big you really only need it once a month (if you are a retiree that makes lots of small trips but a rare long trip)? The plug-in hybrid concept will catch on when enough people understand it. Only a few do now.

    • Albertico

      The base version of the Tesla Model S is $70,000, $5,000 cheaper than the Cadillac ELR which is $75,000.

      The Tesla Model S base version goes 0-60 a full 3 seconds faster than the ELR, has twice as much luggage capacity and can sit 3 more passengers.

      Tell me again why people should catch on to using a plug-in hybrid, with limited EV range and all the maintenance that comes along with having ICE included?

      So no, the Model S base does not cost 25 thousand more than the ELR, is 5 thousand cheaper, faster, can carry more people and has more space. There is simply no excuse for why the ELR costs 75 thousand dollars. It would make more sense if it cost 55-60 thousand dollars. Then the technology, driving specs and luxury in the car would justify the price.

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