Cars

Published on May 17th, 2016 | by James Ayre

37

Cadillac ELR Production Finished In February — Who Noticed?

May 17th, 2016 by  


New Cadillac ELR production ceased completely back in February, according to recent reports.

It had previously been reported back in January that Cadillac would cease further investment into the model. Following that announcement, it was assumed that ELR production would be ceasing at some point in the near future. Apparently, production ceased within only a month of the announcement, interestingly. I wonder why there was such a hurry?

Considering that Cadillac ELR sales have been rather anemic to date, it’s not at all surprising that the company has decided to simply wash its hands of the whole matter. Company executives have been hinting as much for quite a while now — with the announcement last year that there would not be a second generation of the model, making the company’s long-term plans pretty clear.

Cadillac ELR 5 Cadillac ELR 1 copy

In a recent interview, Cadillac Product Communications Manager David Caldwell was quoted as stating: “Cadillac ELR production recently concluded. A very small quantity of ELR units remain available at dealers today. The beautifully designed electrified coupe marked an important step in Cadillac’s ongoing expansion. Cadillac remains committed to delivering new technology, including advanced propulsion. Cadillac will soon launch a new Plug-In Hybrid edition of the remarkable new CT6 sedan.”

GM Volt provides more:

The CT6 PHEV is a faster, larger vehicle, with similar electric range in the mid-30s, and will be imported from China. It too is projected to sell in limited quantities, though it is expected to be better received than has been the ELR.

…Aside from these factors, Michigan-based automotive analyst Alan Baum said he thinks the ELR was axed in part because of the complexity of ELR production at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant. The more profitable and much-higher volume Malibu, Impala, Volt, and CT6 are also produced there, and the ELR adds very little value, he said.

Ironically, the ELR had received performance upgrades for 2016, and a $10,000 lower price from its introduction. Caldwell said he was not entirely sure on the decision process that led to this timing of events. He did observe engineers had plans in the works to update the ELR, so those were done. Meanwhile, it is onward and upward for Cadillac. de Nysschen has been tasked with revitalizing the brand, and that, said Baum, is what he is in process of doing.

How well the brand is being revitalized is up for debate, of course.

Baum continued: “In the face of a shortage of products relative to his competition, he is trying to increase the cache and price of the products he does have and he has had success in that regard. The ELR doesn’t do that and he can’t sell it at a price that builds brand value, and thus the product does not fit into the larger scheme of Cadillac.”

It’s too bad. The car seemed to be a fun one. But with a price tag initially up there with the much larger, faster, and more-packed-with-tech Tesla Model S, it was quickly mocked and ridiculed by EV fans. Advertising never did much to convince EV fans of the model’s benefits, and not many conventional buyers were enticed enough by dealers to adopt the car … who’s surprised?

Related:

Our Cadillac ELR Review

i8 vs Model S vs ELR vs Panamera S E-Hybrid vs i3 (Exclusive)

What I Love About My Cadillac ELR

Photos by Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0), via CleanTechnica.pics






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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • phineasjw

    It was a sharp looking car. What a missed opportunity to compete with the Model S.

    • Jeff Bauman

      Recently leased a 16 ELR with full knowledge that they are discontinued. I am a longtime Cadi guy who left for hybrid Lexus and then hybrid Lincoln. Glad to b back! The best Cadi interior ever, and that says a lot! The exterior is a head turner. The 16’s torque and HP make punching holes in traffic easy.

  • NRG4All

    So the taxpayers bailed out GM so they could IMPORT cars from CHINA?

    • Ed

      Surprise!

    • Bob_Wallace

      I hope you understand more about the GM bailout than is demonstrated in that comment.

      • NRG4All

        I know they paid it off. However, when the banks can see that GM will not be allowed to fail, there is no reason not to grant them credit. And I also know that they had to make some promises and do some restructuring and get lean. Thus, we saw Oldsmobile, and Pontiac go away because those market segments overlapped with the other models. I’m sure there is other minutia to it and I would be interested to have you fill this in more completely.

        However, the fact remains that for GM to import cars from China isn’t exactly a level playing field with cars produced in the U.S. What the heck, Nissan, Toyota and BMW all have plants in the U.S. hiring thousands of U.S. workers. Have you read the book, “Death by China” by Navarro and Autry? It really opened my eyes at to how unfair our trade balance with China really is.

        I’m reminded of the comment made to Congress by Charles Wilson, a GM executive in the 1950’s, who said , “What’s good for GM is good for the country”. I guess now we have to ask “Which country”?

        • Bob_Wallace

          GM did not cause the Great Recession. They played no role in it. GM and other car manufacturers were caught up in the financial crash that resulted in car sales dropping precipitously.

          Had the US allowed GM and Chrysler to fail they would almost have certainly taken Ford with them. As well as US car plants owned by foreign car companies. Several of the companies that supply parts for GM, Ford, Toyota and all other cars built in the US would have almost certainly gone under. Millions of US jobs would have been lost and the US would have fallen into a much deeper hole than the one we are still climbing back out of.

          GM did fail. GM underwent bankruptcy. GM was given help reorganizing and returning to business. Millions of jobs were saved.

          The reason we had the Great Recession was due to lax regulations on finance institutions. Hopefully that has been fixed with Dodd-Frank. Now there should be no financial institution “too large to fail”.

          Now the federal government can take over those large institutions which they could not previously. The federal government has been able to take over failing banks and restructure them or sell them off. That happens frequently.
          Between the lack of adequate regulations on large financial regulations and the bumbling inattention of the Bush administration we let lending get out of control and we crashed. Let’s hope Trump doesn’t get his way and join with like minded people in Congress to kill off Dodd-Frank.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Now, importing cars.

            Do you not realize that vehicle manufacturing has long been a global, not a national industry? GM and Ford have plants around the world. We build some there, we export some there, we import some from there.

            Low volume models. Probably more efficient to run a single assembly line and ship around the globe. If consumption picks up in an area then start building closer to the market. The foreign car manufacturers make their high volume models for the US in the US. But not the ‘exotics’.

            GM started selling a lot of Buicks to China. The Chinese liked Buicks. GM started manufacturing Buicks in China. The larger market is in China. Now GM will start importing some of those China made Buicks into the US. If demand supports then GM will likely start manufacturing here and avoid shipping costs.

            Worry less about China. China’s days of super cheap labor are over. Chinese workers are demanding higher salaries and higher standards of living. China has an aging workforce which means Chinese factories will have to pay higher wages for the remaining workers.

            China, along with most other manufacturing companies, is turning to robots. Robots cost the same in all countries. As labor costs equalize and more labor is performed by robots look for more manufacturing to return to the US. Shipping costs count.

            Loss of jobs to robots. That’s a different issue. One that people will have to struggle with in the future.

  • Ed

    Here’s a graphic that seems to sum up the sad ELR situation.

    • eveee

      I never could understand the marketing genius behind GMs two seater or two door monster vehicles. They seem to be persistent at this.

      • Ed

        I was a supplier to GM in the early 70’s when X-, A-, B-, C- and G-body sales were absolutely romping. I think in one month GM captured 60% of all US vehicles sales. That kind of success leads to the We-Are-Geniuses syndrome. No GM leader recognized their vulnerability to a changing energy and competitive landscapes. The arrogant slide that followed was irreversible. All very sad.

        • eveee

          Yes. Lots of GM engineers and employees do a great job. Sometimes GM comes up with a great car. But overall, the corporation manages to be lead by marketing and manufacturing, all based on the concept that everyone will buy what they sell.
          In a cornered market that only sells ICE, that works most of the time.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile_Toronado#/media/File:66Toronado.jpg

          • Ed

            A history of no leadership vision. Let’s all hope Mary sets her sights high and gets the right balance between ICEs, PHEV and EVs.

          • eveee

            Yes. GM is fumbling around a bit blindly. At least they are perking up compared to Toyota.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I wonder if Toyota has caught that virus?

          • wattleberry

            Yes, and it’s such a wasted opportunity because their internationally popular Prius spin-off Yaris and Auris hybrids which offer no plug-In option could so easily incorporate this at affordable prices.

          • eveee

            Yes. I noticed this as time dragged on and their customers demanded PHEV. They also noticed a lithium battery would help. Instead, Toyota stuck with NiMH longer and invested in increasing Prius already high mpg. Missed the boat.

          • Ed

            Toyota seems to be waking up from its goal of being the largest car maker and is returning to the goal of being the BEST car maker.

  • Freddy D

    Cadillac sold over 8,000 Escalades in Q1 2016. That’s the model that Cadillac “remains committed to”. important for EVs to meet the needs of this market.

  • VFanRJ

    I would have liked to have listened in on the marketing meetings to understand what they were thinking.

    • Mike333

      They were thinking it was the new iPhone. And that they could price gouge a lot of people.

  • EricR

    I noticed. In fact, I was able to transfer my ’14 ELR lease and grab a ’16. It is a really fantastic car. The fact is, Cadillac did not manufacture many ’16’s, and the dealers near me are all sold out. When you consider that the ’14 luxury package option is now standard on the ’16, the actual price reduction is really about $12K.

    In my opinion, had the ’14 ELR been specced and priced like the current ELR, the market would not have reacted so negatively. I am not saying it would have sold in large numbers (I think the 2+2 market is always going to be niche), but at least the press and public would have been more enthusiastic. It is (IMO) a remarkably beautiful car, and for the record, drives very differently than the Volt (I had one from pre-production in 2010 until March, 2014).

    • Yes, and I think very few people even knew the ’16 was so much better (and cheaper) than the ’14.

      I think the big mistake was bringing something at a price comparable to a Model S. That was asking for taunts when the car was a 2+2 and not as quick.

      And, yes, when I got behind the wheel of an ELR, I was very positively surprised, and disappointed it wasn’t targeted & marketed well enough to fit a decent niche and at least compete with the BMW i3. Ton of fun to drive, and plenty different/better than the Volt.

  • eveee

    Who noticed? Me. Now GM is back to its same old antics. Rather than realize they blew it with the ELR by not making it electric and realizing that Tesla is changing the automotive world forever, they continue dragging the past along with them. its a marketing centered company that defends its marketing turf.
    They view it as product offerings, price, and manufacturing. The found they priced it too high, so they decided to source in China. They got beat in the market by Tesla, but they decided to come back by dipping their toe in the water with something faster maybe a bit more tech.
    All the while they missed the concept. Its not about faster or sexier or tech baubles. They are stuck in a marketing fantasy world. You cannot just package a product. You have to notice where technology is going in the world and adapt the whole company to that.
    Thats not going to happen when the entrenched view centers around shiny product offerings, and providing a market offering by outsourcing it if it can’t be done internally.,

    • EricR

      Personally, with my driving patterns, I need EREV. Public charging (including the current Tesla superchargers) is simply not convenient for me.

      • eveee

        You can’t home charge I guess, eh?

        • EricR

          Sure I can- I have a lev 2 charger at home. However, my driving patterns are unpredictable. Most days I am within my 40 mile battery range. But sometimes, I can exceed 300 in one day. Other times, I take my car on overnights. With an EREV, I don’t have to worry about fueling.

          • eveee

            I see what you mean. EVs are not quite up to that yet. But soon. 🙂 You have a pretty unusual driving situation. Good luck to you. ELR gave you a great opportunity when the prices dropped.

          • Once even the local runabout EVs become more common there will be destination chargers wherever you’re sleeping, hopefully eating and watching movies too. The problem is it will take time.

          • Bob_Wallace

            The Tesla Destination Chargers can charge up about 500 miles overnight.

          • Yes I didn’t mean Destination Chargers™ but chargers at the places you plan to stay

          • Bob_Wallace

            You mean like Destination Chargers™? ;o)

          • of course, what else will I feed my Model 3 with?

      • So I think the ELR really is the best option on the market. Better than any other PHEVs/EREVs… except that I love the i3, so would be a long debate for me. 😀

        • Freddy D

          And of course the Volt, correct?

    • Mike333

      They never proved it was worth more than a Volt. This was a price and marketing failure.

      You can set the new car price too high.
      Secondly, it time to stop pricing in the Federal Tax Credit into the MSRP.
      Tesla’s Model 3 clearly shows huuuuge value compared to all other EV’s on the road.

      • eveee

        Tesla can pretty much compete with ICE with the Model 3 without the tax credit now. Thing is, it makes no sense to give tax credit to competitors with worse offerings and lower volume. That only slows progress and lets them lag with inferior offerings. The tax credit should be time based not volume of cars per manufacturer based. That or sunset the number of vehicles based on the total number of EVs sold from all manufacturers and range per vehicle not battery capacity. Its important to get the right incentives. If you incentivize with high battery capacity, you encourage wasteful cars with big batteries.
        That last suggestion would light a fire under laggards to hurry up and sell some EVs before the EV leader takes all the cake. 🙂

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