By on May 14, 2015

2016-Cadillac-ELR-005

In part due to its Chevrolet roots, the Cadillac ELR is now selling for up to 35 percent less than its original $76,000 price tag.

Out of all of the electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles selling below MSRP due to lower fuel prices at the pump, the current ELR has seen the largest discount from the original sticker, Bloomberg reports. Nearly 2,000 units have left the showroom over the past 18 months, with some dealerships going as low as $50,000 to make room for a model that will actually leave in a few days (i.e. the Escalade).

Cadillac originally established the high price of admission for its Tesla fighter because of the standard features it offered, despite its PHEV technology coming from the $35,000 Chevrolet Volt. Thus, the brand “overestimated” its customers would discover its competitors “were naked at that price,” according to marketing boss Uwe Ellinghaus.

Another justification was if the ELR were priced closely above the Volt, PHEV shoppers would have gone for the latter instead. Branding also played a role in the pricing, intending to signal to consumers the ELR was a Cadillac through and through, from its badging and design, to the olive wood trim and 10-speaker Bose audio system.

Though these failures have guaranteed the PHEV will not see a second generation, the 2016 edition will at least begin the model’s ride into the sunset on a more even keel. Pricing is set to begin at $66,000 before federal incentives, while power will increase to 233 horsepower and 373 lb-ft of torque from the current edition’s 217 horses and 295 lb-ft of torque.

[Photo credit: Cadillac]

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42 Comments on “Ellinghaus: Original Cadillac ELR Price Of Admission ‘A Mouthful’...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    No one wants a Cadillac that can’t Cadillac.

    Then again, no one wants a $70k Prius fighter either.

    Imagine if this money had been spent building a larger sibling to the Escalade, certainly wouldn’t have needed the price cut $26k to sell if the baseline was the same $76k or whatever it was.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Larger Escalade? The ESV is already damn near 20 feet long. They need a smaller Escalade. Well, we can probably agree that any additional Escalade model would be fine.

      Do you mean a 3/4 ton or 1 ton Escalade? ESCALADE HD!!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        They got the length down, but the windshield has too much rake putting your face much too close to the windshield for something of its cost that isn’t made to go fast. Also it couldn’t hurt them to up the width, and it could stand to gain a bit of weight to back up its size.

        Then again, if they fixed the windshield and gave it half the presence of their cars from the 20s-70s, the other two issues would be moot.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Do you mean a 3/4 ton or 1 ton Escalade? ESCALADE HD!!!!”

        It’s a pity GM sold the TopKick off; given that it does Presidential Limo duty, it could work.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      None of the models can “Cadillac”.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m not sure 20-something hipster renting a beach house was the best advertising angle.

    But once again Cadillac seems to be stuck on putting luggage in their ads.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The other side of the garage (not pictured) must be full of garage stuff. There has to be a vehicle charger right? Also, that bike and surfboard probably cost $10K combined and will never be used.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        LOL I thought about that bike and surfboard as well. Those are the kind of items where you see them on The Price is Right, and everybody seriously underbids. Only five people in the country would know it’s a custom Bikeliner 300R and costs $7500.

  • avatar
    Steinweg

    Had they priced it like a CTS, I think they would’ve hit the mark – not that it’s a very big market regardless – but 25% more than the Volt would be about right. From all reports the ELR is a wonderful car and I’d be more than curious to try one. But 80 Gs? Maybe the Tesla is naked at that price, but if I’ve got $80k to spend on a car, I can probably find another $30k and do this properly.

    • 0 avatar

      The price isn’t the problem.
      It’s that they have nothing to talk about.

      Make it a CTS-sized 4-door sedan and FASTER than the Model S P85D and let the internet handle the rest.

      ADVERTISING is everything.

      Nobody is advertising Tesla Model S. I haven’t seen a single ad.

      That’s because the internet, Youtube and the news do your advertising for free.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    At a 50k price point I think this is an attractive option IF you are in the market for a luxury PHEV. I find the BMW I3 to be odd looking and from what I have seen is close to the same price point but comes with a smaller ICE generator and a 2 gallon tank.

    Since I am that guy…I look forward to finding one of these in a couple of years with low miles selling for 25% of original cost. The Volt technology has proven to be reliable so this thing would not scare me in the used market.

  • avatar

    #1 The price on the ELR I drove when they first got here to NYC was $82,000.

    Regardless how “great” a car you are, that price tag automatically prices a huge number of people out – unless you offer aggressive, competitive lease programs.

    #2 I insist that the ELR would have performed BETTER – all things being equal, if it was a 4-DOOR SEDAN the same size as the CTS.

    #3 Cadillac’s interior is FAR BETTER than TESLA’s Model S interior and if I had been working at Cadillac, we’d have advertised so aggressively about the Model S’ range anxiety – compared to our gas regeneration, that Tesla would have had a very difficult time justifying the price of any Model S that wasn’t a performance variant.

    OF COURSE- I’d have built the ELR to be a performance car – simply to justify the price.

    How much Horsepower?

    MORE THAN YOURS.

    FASTER THAN YOURS.

    Cadillac and Lincoln are run by people who have no idea how to SELL a car anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Cadillac and Lincoln are run by people who have no idea how to SELL a car anymore.”

      That’s because Cadillac wants to be like Harley Davidson, where the car is an accessory for the Cadillac lifestyle.

      (This is what Melody Lee’s infamous quotes were getting at.)

      The problem is that there is no Cadillac lifestyle, as far as the public is concerned. In my mind, for instance, most of the Cadillac Lifestyle takes place at assisted living facilities in Florida — because that’s where I saw Cadillacs when I was growing up.

      It’s likely to be another 20 years before Cadillac can become retro cool, like our grandparents were when they were young. If Cadillac wants to take that strategy, starting now is probably a good idea — but they’ll have to keep throwing money at defining whatever the hell a Cadillac lifestyle is for a generation in to make that happen.

      I ain’t payin’ extra to look like I’m parked an an assisted living facility so, if Cadillac wants to sell me a car, it will have to be on its merits as a car — nothing more, nothing less.

      P.S. I’m likely to be Cadillac’s declared target customer: mid 30s, work at a tech startup but not in California, six figures.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    GM approached this product the completely wrong way. It is not a Tesla competitor.

    Had they looked at the ELR a mid-size luxury coupe and priced it similarly to an Audi A5, Lexus RC, or Mercedes E Class coupe, it could have been an interesting alternative (with green credentials too). Ok maybe a stretch? At the end of the day it should have started under 50K.

    I do think its handsome in an odd way, and I like the interior. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      GM has a history of failing to understand the market research they do on the green car segment.

      It’s typified by the first Malibu hybrid. It was a start/stop system which added 1MPG to the window sticker. But, they learned that green car buyers at the time wanted to make a statement about environmental values and whatnot. So, they marketed that weaksauce with average MPGs like it was better than the Prius, and they were laughed off the block.

      Similar story with the Tahoe 2-mode hybrid, but with better engineering. It was a real hybrid, and covered with foot high “hybrid” decals, but you can’t beat the window sticker or the cultural associations that go with driving a big SUV.

      You can’t beat Tesla’s window sticker with a plugin hybrid for someone in the green car mindset. But you might me able to sell an innovative drivetrain with fantastic NVH and smooth acceleration which happens to save a little at the pump to someone in the luxury car mindset.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    They may act like pricing was a marketing strategy, but it was due to the actual cost of developing a limited production model. It wasn’t some strategic mistake to price the Coupe DeVolt at $82K. The mistake was making a car that couldn’t be sold for a price needed to make a profit. The fault is roughly 50% GM’s, 50% Obama’s CAFE forcing the creation of cars the market doesn’t want. Idiots abound.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      At these volumes the car wasn’t going to make a dent in CAFE. But you blame Obama if it makes you feel better.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        PHEV credits having a bigger impact on regulatory compliance than they do on actual fuel consumption means that this was indeed a product driven by governmental idiots, but you delude yourself if it makes you feel better about the costs of your belief in demigods.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It should have been a roadster.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    Seems like the only thing anyone here can agree on is that the car shouldn’t have been the car that it is, at the price that it is.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I finally saw one of these for the first time ever yesterday. It looks rather plain in person and the only reason it caught my attention was the grill.

    Pretty poor turn out considering I see an average of 5-8 Teslas a day just on my commute. They (Teslas) are everywhere in Chicago.

    • 0 avatar
      cirats

      I would have to disagree on the looks. I saw one of these at a stoplight when I was walking down the street the other day and thought it was turn-your-head good looking. The CTS coupe is very ungainly but this takes the same basic design principles and smooths them out into something very attractive, taut and athletic looking, at least IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        Put this body over an ATS 3.6 coupe priced under $50k and then you’re looking at a volume product.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          But they did do that already with the Sigma Catera and it did have a 3.6 V6 standard. Ugly to the point of ridiculous didn’t help it sell then and won’t now. The Alpha ATS coupe by itself isn’t as awful in the looks department and could be cured from the few issues it does have with relatively minor changes. The problem there is it will still be a low volume product with or without changes unless pricing became very reasonable (which it won’t).

  • avatar
    jkross22

    When I Google ‘Cadillac ELR’, the top 2 results say ‘2014 Cadillac ELR’. In May of 2015. When I click on the links, I’m taken to a Cadillac page that highlights pricing this way: “MSRP starting at 75,000”.

    Is this primarily arrogance, market tone deafness or pure ineptitude?

    GM could screw up a free lunch.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Worth noting: GM isn’t the only manufacturer that’s whiffed with luxury hybrids. Toyota bombed with the hybrid GS and LX, the CT is also a loser, and they outright crapped the bed with the HT.

      And this is the same company that makes the Prius, so it’s not like they don’t know how to build a great hybrid car.

      BMW isn’t exactly setting the world on fire with the i3 either.

      • 0 avatar
        Dave M.

        GM is 0 for massively-expensive-2 in this area. Toyota is laughing all the way to the bank with their failures. I still see more Lexus HTs in West Houston daily than I do Volts.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Picture caption time:

    “After getting “the call” from his handler in the form of a vibrating text message, Ivan quickly grabbed his go-bag, slipped on his Ermenegildo Zegnas, and headed out the door, towards his Cadillac ELR, which he had charged the night before with the help of three orange extension cords, as he hadn’t wanted any oil or other fluids to drip onto “the company’s” clean cement garage floor.”

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, I guess they could quote Gretzky and say “100% of the shots you don’t take never go in.”

    Then again, #99 didn’t take a lot of stupid shots.

    Shame, because this is a great looking car.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    The total failure of the ELR, and the smashing success of the BMW i8 are very, very telling. The people in charge at Cadillac are not smart people.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Whoa. These are both very low volume cars. GM is terrific at making mistakes, but nobody there ever claimed that the ELR was supposed to move a lot of units.

      I doubt that BMW makes any money on the i8, in spite of the high price, given the amount of R&D that must have gone into it and the carbon fiber body. It’s a halo car, not a platform extension exercise as is the ELR.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Smashing success? Not really, unless you’re looking at different sales figures than I am. Technically and performance-wise, the i8 is brilliant, but it’s also $140,000.

      GM could probably build something equally cool at that price point too.

  • avatar
    7402

    ” . . . due to lower fuel prices at the pump . . . ”

    Wow, what a way to frame the argument. Seriously? The notion of a hybrid or PHEV, or electric, or whatever has lots of things going for it (and against) regardless of the price of gas.

    The ELR had to be discounted because it was priced wrong to begin with. This is simply a market correction. Suggesting it is due to the drop in gasoline prices is a bit of a stretch.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Everyone seems to want an ES Lexus despite its Camry roots. The ELR’s problem isn’t its plebeian roots. It’s just not a very good car.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I give Ellinghaus credit. Admitting you have a problem is a first stop o. The road to solutions. It’s also very anti-GM.

    CUE TTAC B&B with pitchforks for what I just said……..

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The problem is the entire brand and most of its decisions, I give Pen Boy props for at least acknowledging reality but the issues are far above his head. In the case of the ELR, this was dead money from the moment it was approved.

  • avatar
    formula m

    Should put a 2.0L turbo and handling package in it looks like a modern Acura RSX. $80k hybrid was never going to work for this platform.

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