Cadillac ELR Outsells Chevrolet SS In August

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

The Cadillac ELR flopped. Not because there wasn’t any for you to buy, but because there weren’t any buyers. This is what we knew back in April, and again back in May.

July volume, however, was double what General Motors managed in June, which was nearly double what the ELR managed one month before.

Now get this: August sales increased yet again. (There are no year-over-year figures available yet, as the ELR only arrived in December 2013.) 196 Cadillac ELRs were sold in the United States in August 2014, more than the total number of ELRs sold in December, January, February, and March combined.

196 sounds like a lot, right? Well, it sounds like a lot if we’re comparing ELR volume to the sales totals achieved by the Chevrolet SS.

Let’s not forget, GM had no expectations for the SS. Edmunds reported last year that Chevrolet’s John Fitzpatrick figured 1700-2000 annual SS sales would be a success. (2055 have been sold in the last eight months.) Mark Reuss had hoped for 3000-5000 per year.

And with numbers like March’s, when 350 SS sedans were sold, that’s exactly what Chevrolet was going to do, around 4200 SS sales in 2014. Those are Porsche Boxster-like numbers, Honda CR-Z-like numbers, Audi Allroad-like numbers.

Yet after averaging 291 sales per month between January and May, the SS has averaged just 203 monthly SS sales over the summer. With only 152 sold in August, the SS fell to its lowest full-month total yet.

It takes a long time for the SS-carrying ship to cross the Pacific. Your local Chevrolet dealer does not have the kind of SS availability to which a repeat Camry buyer has become accustomed. And it’s not as though the SS’s most direct rivals – SRT versions of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, for example – are a dime a dozen.

Yet if you want to better understand just how rare the Chevrolet SS really is, take a moment to consider the fact that, for the first time, Cadillac sold more ELRs in August than Chevrolet sold SSs. (Say it with me, ess-esses.) Operating under the assumption that the ELR is becoming a popular car doesn’t alter this perception of SS rarity, of course, because the ELR is not becoming a popular car. Not by any standard.

Not by the standard of a really expensive Hyundai – Equus sales fell 42% to 253 units in August. Not by the standard of the most expensive SUV – Mercedes-Benz sold 248 G-Wagens last month. The defunct Acura TSX generated 240 sales. Mini sold 228 Pacemans, Scion sold 219 iQs, and Nissan sold 208 GT-Rs.

Here’s the thing, though: GM can sell expensive vehicles in very large numbers. Corvette volume more than quadrupled to 2679 units in August, and Corvette sales have totalled 23,483 units through eight months, more than twice the volume of the whole Jaguar brand.

Sales of the regular-wheelbase Escalade and long-wheelbase Escalade ESV are jointly up jumped 79% last month to 3534 units, more than the Mercedes-Benz GL and Lincoln Navigator lineups combined.

GM’s share of the volume-brand full-size SUV segment shot up to 83% in August as the company’s four nameplates grabbed the top four spots.

But Chevrolet sedans with base prices above $43,000 and Volt-based Cadillac coupes with $75,000 stickers? This is not how GM brings home the bacon.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

Timothy Cain
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  • Alfisti Alfisti on Sep 09, 2014

    Expat aussie here. Commodores have a reputation for poor interiors in terms of content, looks and quality. However they also have a reputation of a brilliant (for the development budget anyway) ride/handling equation for such a large car. Comparing it to an Impala, I mean really, it's MILES from an Impala. Aussies traditionally lean a little more Euro han Americans in terms of handling but the engineers in Melbourne manage to create decent ride comfort as well. It has it's weaknesses, no doubt, but if you can get one in the 40's it's a good deal.

  • Boxerman Boxerman on Sep 10, 2014

    Maybee when the scrap the program the last ones will get sold at severe discounts like the G8, at 30K its a steal. Plus yes you dont stick out in the corwd, its one of the ultimate sleeper cras.

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