Caddy has 2 ways to play the ELR pricing game
The most common question on the lips of onlookers who saw Cadillac unveil its flashy and fuel-efficient ELR plug-in hybrid at the Detroit auto show this month was: "How much?"
It's too early for General Motors execs to discuss price. The coupe won't hit showrooms for about a year. But the guessing has begun. Estimates have been anywhere from the low $50,000s to north of $70,000.
How could the spread be that big? Because GM could look at the decision in two very different ways:
1. Put a relatively inexpensive sticker on it -- let's say low $50,000s. That would show that GM wants to get some decent volume from the ELR so it can continue to drive down per-unit component costs of the Chevrolet Volt powertrain.
2. Slap a big sticker on it -- say mid-$60,000s or higher -- to test just how rejuvenated the Cadillac brand is.
Some critics would scoff at a mid- or high-$60,000s price and deride the ELR as a dressed-up Volt. But Caddy execs contend they have a combination of bold styling, interior luxury and unique powertrain that rivals can't match. And they may price it accordingly.
Read between the lines of the following remarks:
"Cadillac ought to have an air of exclusivity," Cadillac brand head Bob Ferguson said at the auto show. "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.'"