Cadillac ELR pricing – potentially shocking?

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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.

Cadillac ELR interior photo

Even I must admit, that is a great looking interior.

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.

Cadillac ELR exterior LED lighting

LED lighting, for instance, is used everywhere on the ELR.

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.

Cadillac CTS-V coupe

That’s mighty tempting….

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.

Cadillac ELR photo

Is this….

Chevrolet Volt photo

…worth twice as much as this…

Cadillac logo - wreath and crest

…because of this?

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.

Cadillac CTS-V coupe burnout photo

I think a cloud just like this one would do nicely.

How about you? What do the readers think of the ELR?

Ray Saez, Jr.

Ray is a lifelong auto enthusiast. His father worked on the dealership side of the industry for many years, and his passion for fast, fun, and unique cars has been passed on. Particularly fond of American cars and trucks, Ray is an avid General Motors fan. When not writing, he can be found with his dogs, or at a local car show.

View all contributions by Ray Saez, Jr.



  1. CadillacDeadman24 says:

    It will be interesting to see what the purchasing public decides. I too would snag me a CTS-V, or an Escalade for that money. The ELR looks cool, and it has better interior appointments, but I don’t think that’s enough.

    1. stingroo says:

      Well, the third gen CTS has an interior on par with this ELR, so that’s a bit of a moot point. Obviously the new CTS-V hasn’t been announced, and neither has its price point, but with the new entry model CTS jumping $10k, perhaps the V will follow suit.

      This is exactly what everyone knew would happen at Cadillac, just as it happened at Lexus a decade ago. Produce a few very good quality cars at bargain prices, and slowly increase their prices over time. Nissan did the same with its GTR. You can’t sell cars at full value, even if they’re worth it, without the pedigree. Perhaps now GM finally has enough confidence in Cadillac to give it that status, and sell its cars for comparable money to its competitors.

  2. […] Here’s a short video of some of the iconic Cadillac concept cars that were on display. Among them, the Cien, which was built to commemorate Cadillac’s 100th anniversary, the Evoq, which would eventually morph into the Y-body Corvette platform-mate Cadillac XLR, and the Converj, which became the Voltec-platformed Cadillac ELR, which I wrote about here. […]

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