CARMEL, Calif. -- When General Motors executives unveiled the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid in January, they telegraphed their plans for a lofty sticker price intended to convey exclusivity.
But prices of electrified vehicles have been sinking lately.
GM this month cut $5,000 off the sticker price of the Chevrolet Volt, which shares its powertrain with the ELR. And BMW priced its new i3 EV at $42,275 including shipping -- only $2,280 above where the Volt had been priced.
So has Cadillac revised its pricing plans for the ELR, which GM plans to launch by March?
"Not at all," Bob Ferguson, senior vice president of global Cadillac, told Automotive News this month during a press event here.
"We're really confident about that vehicle," Ferguson said of the ELR, declining to discuss specific pricing plans. "We're only going to make so many. I actually think you're going to see a scramble for that vehicle."
Ferguson added that he's encouraged by Tesla Motors' success, a sign that pricing is holding up far better in the luxury segment than it is among mainstream brands.
Analysts predict meager production and a high price for the ELR.
IHS Automotive expects U.S. sales of just 2,100 units next year and 2,700 in 2015. For context, GM sold 1,934 units of the light-selling Cadillac Escalade EXT pickup last year.
Jim Hall, principal of research firm 2953 Analytics Inc., says the ELR will be a halo car for Cadillac, whereas the i3 has a different role in BMW's lineup.
"Cadillac's pricing strategy for the ELR isn't driven by volume," Hall says. "It's driven by image."
He said he suspects that the ELR will be among Cadillac's highest-priced vehicles. Escalade models and the CTS V series are priced from the mid-$60,000s to higher than $70,000.
The ELR uses the Volt's underpinnings but has edgier styling and extra touches, such as real wood accents, a suede headliner and a storage compartment accessed through an electronic cover.