Welcome to Industry Syrup. The decisions made by the automotive industry at large are much like syrup, if you stop and think about it. Sometimes, they can be spot on. The perfect compliment to your wonderful waffles that make your mornings worth living. Other times, however… these decisions can be just plain sticky and hard to swallow.
The Cadillac ELR has been in the rumor mill ever since the Chevrolet Volt first debuted at the end of 2010 as a 2011 model. In some ways, it’s nothing more than a bigger and fancier Volt, with more leather.
In other ways, it’s more – at least, that’s what GM’s recently announced base price wants you to believe. On October 11, GM stated that the base price for the new Cadillac series plug in hybrid would be a hefty $75,995 before tax incentives. The US government offers tax credits for purchasers of electric and alternative fuel vehicles that can be as much as $7500, which means that qualifying buyers could walk out the door with an ELR for $68,496… with no options.
This means the ELR has a higher base price than anything else in Cadillac’s lineup, including the incredible 556 horsepower CTS-V sedan (and coupe). Even the Escalade hybrid SUV is roughly $500 cheaper than an ELR. This exhorbitant pricing scheme for the ELR comes just a couple of months after GM also announced that the Volt gets a massive price cut to compete with the cheaper Nissan Leaf down to as little as $26,685 after tax incentives.
So that begs the question: is there really enough Cadillac luxury in the ELR to justify the $41,000 price difference? That’s enough to buy a second Volt and still have money in your pocket for options. That’s also more than the poster child of the new “Electric + Luxury” market – the Tesla Model S.
In my browsing around my personal Facebook page, I saw a post by a friend of mine, Ian, that sparked some heated debate over the pricing of the ELR. After reading the discussion, and a few others from around the Internet, I sit on the fence regarding the matter.
Many people are already comparing the ELR to the Volt, noting that with twice the entry price, there isn’t exactly twice as much value-for-dollar. I can certainly see that point. If you go to Chevrolet’s website and build a Volt with every option, from in-dash navigation all the way down to the $15 front license plate bracket, a Volt will hit the wallet for $40,980 – or $33,480 after incentives.
Sure, the ELR gets a nicer interior, is slightly larger, and of course Cadillac’s trademark Art and Science bodywork, but is that enough? Some say yes. Others are noting that the ELR is intended to be limited production, and these individuals believe that exclusivity alone will sell the ELR’s limited numbers long before any price-conscious shoppers have a chance to consider putting one in their garage. There is definitely a certain “wow factor” to be had in owning a luxury vehicle that is perfectly silent when driving, or one that is considered to be “green” and “cutting edge,” but for the common buyer, do these factors really matter enough to justify the price hike?
For my obviously fictional $75,000, I’d take a CTS-V coupe and smile all the way to the bank as I left the dealership in a cloud of leather-appointed white tire smoke.
How about you? What do the readers think of the ELR?