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GM Is Back (To Being Told to Get Lost by Its Dealers)

February 20th, 2014 - 7:22 am

ELR

Ouch:

Nearly half of Cadillac’s U.S. dealers say they won’t sell the 2014 Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid, according to a report from automotive information website Edmunds.

About 410 dealers out of Cadillac’s total of 940 will not stock the $75,995 ELR because they don’t think they can sell the cars.

The ELR is essentially a $40,000 more expensive Chevy Volt, and the luxury brand has only sold 46 vehicles in the first two months. That poor sales record has many dealers saying “no” to stocking the vehicle.

Sticking leather on the inside of a Volt and CTS taillights on the outside doesn’t make an economy-size semi-hybrid into a luxury car. Besides, Cadillac still doesn’t enjoy the kind of brand cachet of a BMW or a Lexus, despite a decade or more of usually solid efforts.

The problem is, Cadi has been doing the exact right thing to rebuild their brand image with vehicles like the CTS-V, which might be the equal of any German performance luxury sedan. But then they go and piss on that same brand image by tarting up a low-selling Volt like a 21st Century Cimarron. That one car very nearly destroyed what was left of Cadillac in the ’80s, and the only thing that saved the brand from extinction was their foray into SUVs during the ’90s massive truck craze.

Now the ELR isn’t going to do to Cadi today what the Cimarron did to it in the ’80s. But perhaps only because they’ll never sell enough of them for anyone to notice.

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All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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You'd think that they would figure out that hybrids will sell when they're cheaper than gas cars. Right now the premium for a hybrid will buy a whole lot of gas.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Electric cars = Nuclear Power.

When you point that out the Greenies start screaming and assaulting your Momma.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
And from whence comes the electricity for these vehicles? Bird killing wind and solar firms? Why do green energy people hate birds so much?

I'll stick to my nice internal combustion engine, thank you very much.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Still has that UAW stain on it. I think the best branding that GM could try would be "Imported by Cadillac".

I see a few Volts around Austin, but more Teslas.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the EPA (with the approval of Congress) insists on raising fuel efficiency standards, the dealers may have no choice. The only cars the will be allowed to sell will be hybrids and all electrics. People will be told that the dealer has sold his quota of low efficiency cars, and the hybrids and all electric are all that are available.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dealers have nothing to do with CAFE. They order what they think they can sell from the manufacturer, plus whatever is agreed to in their dealer franchise.

CAFE is an average. The way the manufacturers are reacting to it is building a bunch of tiny little ecoboxes that don't sell, while leaving the profitable lines more or less as they are. It costs them less to produce a run of ecoboxes that they discount into the red just to move than it does to lose sales on the profitable models people actually want.

CAFE also only applies to the large volume manufacturers-- smaller ones are usually exempt, at least in the US. (They aren't in Europe in some cases, which is why they also crank out tiny crapboxes nobody wants)

Net result is nothing much changes, though it costs more to build a car as a result, which is happily passed on to the consumer.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Except that none of the CAFE stuff has ever had per-dealer "quotas" - and the penalties for a manufacturer for not meeting the "required" average are ... just money, IIRC.

Which, if you're a luxury car maker, you can just eat - see Porsche, Ferrari, etc.

For that matter, non-hybrids can make any planned CAFE extension, already, as I understand it.

(Now, I'm absolutely for repealing the CAFE requirements entirely - but talk of "mandatory hybrids" and "dealer quotas" has no basis in reality at this time.)
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment

Non-hybrids can't meet the 2025 CAFE standards without using things like carbon-fiber and titanium bodies, if at all. Unless the government also backs off of the safety and particulate standards, that is.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've only seen two Chevy Volts on the road, and this is in Progressive DC suburbs. I've seen more Teslas. Basically, if you can afford an electric car, you go for the sporty Tesla than the Volt.

Cadillac is only known for making Escalades around here. See more of them than any other model they make.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, I don't know. There are at least a few thousand idiots left who are lined up for Teslas, so maybe GM can poach a few of them.

That said, I'm pretty surprised by the astuteness of the dealer network. It's almost like they want to stay in business or something.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Problem with that analysis is that the Tesla, by all accounts, really is a luxury car.

I've heard unanimous praise of their interiors and build quality, and they're both beautiful and fast.

The ELR is slow, basically a tarted-up economy car, and while taste is relative, it's not as universally praised for looks as the Tesla, which costs the same.

There are non-idiot reasons to buy a Tesla (though they all involve "being wealthy enough to buy an 80 thousand dollar second car", but hey, at least it's not a Maserati; it should actually stay out of the shop!) - there's no sane reason to ever buy an ELR.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
Considering the ratio of cars bursting into flames to not, I'd take my chances with the Maserati.
27 weeks ago
27 weeks ago Link To Comment
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