Cadillac's spin on the ELR: Get 'em before they're gone
DETROIT -- Cadillac will produce a limited number of the ELR plug-in hybrid, unveiled at the auto show here last week.
That's a good thing, Caddy executives say.
"Cadillac ought to have an air of exclusivity," Cadillac Global Vice President Bob Ferguson said. "The manufacturing for this vehicle will be limited. We're saying, 'Get in fast and buy it. We're only going to make so many, and for so long.' "
The ELR coupe is the second application of General Motors' Voltec technology, the powertrain that debuted in the Chevrolet Volt in late 2010. But the luxury ELR's angular lines and extra touches -- such as a power-assisted cupholder compartment and suede headliner -- show Cadillac is targeting a different customer than its corporate cousin.
"There is no other vehicle like this," said Mark Adams, Cadillac's design director. "There's nothing that combines guilt-free motoring in such an expressive package."
The car will travel about 35 miles on battery power -- shy of the Volt's 38 miles -- before a 1.4-liter gasoline-powered generator kicks on to power the electric motor, giving the car overall range of over 300 miles.
The front-wheel-drive, four-seat coupe will qualify for California's coveted carpool-lane sticker, seen as crucial for its prospects in the nation's largest green-car market.
GM says ELR production will begin at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant late this year, and cars will arrive in showrooms in the first quarter of 2014.
IHS Automotive, a market research company, expects Cadillac to sell about 2,500 ELRs in the United States in 2014. AutoPacific is more bullish with a 6,600-unit forecast.
GM executives wouldn't discuss pricing but stressed the car's "exclusivity" and limited availability. Jim Hall, managing director of consulting company 2953 Analytics, says GM might price the car in the mid-$60,000s -- or even higher -- to solidify the car's halo role.
The ELR is 2 inches wider than the Volt and has 20-inch wheels, which gives it a stouter look and enhances handling, GM says. Vertical headlamps and taillamps exhibit Cadillac's decade-old art and science theme while offering a nod to the brand's tailfin era of the 1950s.
You can reach Mike Colias at firstname.lastname@example.org.