Official: End Of The Road For The Cadillac ELR, One Gen And Done

9 months ago by Jay Cole 76

Cadillac ELR Will End With Only One Generation Produced As Sales Disappoint

Cadillac ELR Will End With Only One Generation Produced As Sales Disappoint

It was probably the worst kept secret in the EV business. We might suggest it really was no secret at all, just an eventuality waiting to happen.

The Cadillac ELR is officially done.

"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, ELR you are dead to us"

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, ELR you are dead to us”

Last year GM announced that an improved, slightly less expensive Cadillac ELR would be introduced as a 2016 model (full details), but that it would continue to ride on the original Volt “e-platform”, and that they were unsure if any successor would be made.

We suggested at the time, that this was just GM squeezing value out of its Hamtramck, Michigan production line and in all likelihood this would be a “one and done” edition.

Our thoughts from April 2015:

“Loosely translated, GM has the existing assembly line tooled up and paid for, so they will run out a 2016/2017 model year – and then its gone.  The 2016 version of the ELR will indeed get some as earlier planned tweaks, but it now looks like it won’t be moving up to the platform found in the next generation Volt.”

Now, Cadillac uber boss Johan de Nysschen, has closed the books on the ELR definitively, while showing off the new CT6 land whale to the press (the CT6 will also come with a plug as a Chinese import):

“I plan to continue admiring it as one of the most beautiful cars on four wheels. But we don’t plan further investment” in the ELR said de Nysschen

Last year, 1,024 ELRs were sold in the US, which lead Caddy’s marketing boss to class the car as a disappointment, and a total of 2,407 have been sold through January of 2016 since the luxury 2 seater’s debut in December of 2013.


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76 responses to "Official: End Of The Road For The Cadillac ELR, One Gen And Done"

  1. Driverguy01 says:

    Well, it may become a collector item from the dawn of the car electrification era, and a damn good looking one at that!

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:


      1. SJC says:

        When they price it at $75,000 it is a self fulfilling prophecy of an end for that model.

  2. ffbj says:

    Called it.

  3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    The only thing I find surprising here is that Cadillac chose to do a refresh of the ELR before ending the model. Seems like throwing good money after bad, to me.

    GM needs to quit whining that Voltec can’t be scaled up for larger vehicles, and get busy with engineering exactly that.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Yeah, large vehicles are not the problem . . . Cadillac is the problem. Put the Voltec in SUVs and minivans.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Johan de Nysschen is the problem.

        1. rick kop says:

          I agree. The new head of Cadillac is an idiot

          1. evcarnut says:

            Most of them are IDIOTS they know how to suck up & finagle, to get the BIG money jobs .Hence the reason they always mess uo!……..

          2. Fred Faler says:

            Topical GM if you can’t sell it dump it my family will never buy anything they make we don’t trust General Motors GM is Dead to me.

        2. George W says:

          I couldn’t agree with you more !!

  4. offib says:

    Rubbish to this man. They didn’t give the ELR a proper second go. No one in general knows that the ELR was improved and given what it was needed, let alone if they know what an ELR is.

    And now what? The replaced a perfectly engineered and designed car (that deserves at least 6 years of production) for a big German spin-off of a mess that wasn’t given the time to have its battery placed properly.

    The new CT6 props it up Fluence Z.E style while they clearly could’ve done better.

    1. LWS says:

      Right you are! ELR will be collectible one day.
      GM made pricing mistakes in 2014 but the 2016, is a near perfect daily drive luxury car with futuristic styling. ELR will never look old.

  5. Speculawyer says:

    This car was a disaster. I’m sorry but the Cadillac brand is largely the cranky old rich white person that watches Fox News all day market. And that is not a good target market for brand new whizzy technology product with environmental cred.

    1. Rick Danger says:

      Once again, GM proves that it can eff-up a free lunch.

    2. Koenigsegg says:

      It wasn’t a disaster at all.

      The price was the issue and that is it

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        Or lack of performance its respective price.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        I seriously doubt you’ll find an independent review of the car which does not cite significant problems with the engineering and usefulness of the ELR, quite apart from it being overpriced.

        For example, says:

        While the 2014 Cadillac ELR offers the green appeal of a plug-in hybrid and the arresting style of a high-end coupe, it’s hard to justify the high asking price given its similarity to Chevy’s Volt.


        Bold, contemporary styling; luxurious interior accommodates drivers of all sizes; low monthly fuel cost.


        Big price tag; noisy gasoline engine; tight backseat; small trunk with narrow opening; frustrating CUE interface.
        [end quote]

        (I’d post the link to the review here, but the URL doesn’t link properly.)

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “Big price tag; noisy gasoline engine; tight backseat; small trunk with narrow opening; frustrating CUE interface.”

          I find the edmund’s review funny.

          Price tag is big compared with its performance. Nobody complained about 911 price tag.

          Noisy engine. Nobody complained about CTS-V engine noise since it got 630HP. Again, lack of performance for the engine noise level. BMW i8 even pumped more noise into the cabin for the sake of Performance sounds…

          Tight backseat and small trunk? Well, it is a small 2 door coupe, isn’t it? What do you want? A Cadillac Fleetwood?

          Frustrating CUE? Okay, that is about the only legit complain.

          1. SparkEV says:

            MMF, yet again you post like I would’ve! I think many EV folks come from Leaf, and they see seeing the backside of other cars as normal. 😉

            People get excited about cost-performance, not just because of EV (or hybrid in case of ELR). When Tesla of similar price can spank it, it’s sunk. But if it was priced in BMW i3 Rex range (~$40K after subsidy), it might’ve done something.

        2. Sting777 says:

          Same positives and negatives as the Volt, so, just the price really.

          1. Sting777 says:

            Remember, these were the guys who kept quoting Buffet about pricing.

            “You can’t raise the price once the product is launched”.
            So, Buffet Wrong.
            And they Didn’t lower the price once it was obvious that it was too high.

            It may very well be Fox News buyers not smart enough to buy and Fox News Mgmt not smart enough to price the car properly.

        3. LWS says:

          2016 is a different car at a different price point. Perhaps you should test drive one?

    3. Automotive Industry says:

      Apparently Cadillac isn’t a brand for anyone at all. They sell less than 10% of BMWs volume and “just aren’t ready to publish financial numbers yet”.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        I think it is a declining brand.

        What do you associate with Cadillac? For me it is fins, massive amounts of chrome, land barges, a logo that looks like a military citation, old people, and a hood that you can land aircraft on. I don’t think any of those things say “whizzy new technology with environmental benefits”.

        1. Anon says:

          For some reason, I associate it with China.

        2. Automotive Industry says:

          I associate them with selling something like Audis, or BMWs, only cheaper. Which will work until they finally want to make some money, raise the price to BMW levels. At wich point none sees the reason in buying the “cheap premium brand” for the price of a premium brand and switches back to whatever they drove before. Lexus made the same mistake ich Europe a decade ago. The LS was the cheap S-Class. Until it was as expensive as the S-Class, which made it the overpriced cheap S-Class.

        3. ModernMarvelFan says:

          “For me it is fins, massive amounts of chrome, land barges, a logo that looks like a military citation, old people, and a hood that you can land aircraft on. ”

          I guess you haven’t updated your information lately, time to hit the refresh key…

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            If he hasn’t seen a Cadillac lately, whose fault is that?

            We used to see Cadillacs on the streets all the time. These days, hardly ever.

            I’m surprised the brand is still around. GM needs to dump both the declining Cadillac and Buick brands, and create a fresh new brand for the 21st century. The Volt is a poor fit to the Chevy brand; perhaps it could serve as a flagship vehicle for a new brand.

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              “We used to see Cadillacs on the streets all the time. These days, hardly ever.”

              Oh, there are plenty. I think people are just “blind” or falsely expecting Land Barges…

              CTS and ATS are both well made vehicles that would match the German designs… But I bet most people won’t be able to recognize them even if there is one goes by…

              I see them all the time even though I am in California where Caddy supposely be doing poorly.

              Maybe I am just better at seeing cars on the road.

              1. Sting777 says:

                We’ll see. The CTS is slated to be made in CHINA.

                1. ModernMarvelFan says:

                  I didn’t hear about that.

                  The only thing I heard is the CT6 PHEV. Even the regular CT6 is made in the USA.

            2. Fred Faler says:

              Buick is going to go next , I saw one @ the LA Auto Show the vin # began with a K. GM is only about $$$

        4. Sting777 says:

          For me, it’s big boring cars for nearly dead old people. The Dumb Rich.

          1. Raymondjram says:

            It is obvious that your are blind and dumb about Cadillacs. The President uses Cadillacs since the Reagan era so both parties approve Cadllacs as the Presidential limousine. EVen Obama is getting the “Beast” upgraded for the next President.

        5. Ziv says:

          Whenever I think of Cadillac, I think of the CTS-V and Nurburgring.
          7:59 beats just about any sedan out there. I think the newer Panamera beats it but not by much.

      2. Rick Danger says:

        “Apparently Cadillac isn’t a brand for anyone at all.”

        That’s exactly right, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

      3. R.S says:

        Another interesting fact. If they sold as many plug ins as BMW globally, they would have increased their sales volume by 20-30%.

  6. pjwood1 says:

    DeNysschen, <$2 gas, trucks…and then strict regs, 95gr/km CO2, Euro 6 and Tier 2 bin 5 for tight REAL WORLD NOx.

    I look off the bow, and see a perfect storm brewing.

    1. G2 says:

      “Once again, GM proves it can eff up a free lunch.”
      While not a fan of GM (since I began to shave) I do hope that the ‘BOLT’ is properly supported and promoted so it can be a success. If it fails (not on it’s own merits, but because it is starved of support) then it will be another decade of ‘backasswards’thinking in North America- that is a bad thing for everyone.

      1. Rick Danger says:

        Totally agree.

  7. IDK says:

    Toyota’s Mirai will join that list some day.

    1. Murrysville EV says:


  8. telveer says:

    Wasn’t the ELR meant to be a limited production vehicle to begin with? It is a beautiful vehicle both in form and function (especially form) .. I can personally vouch for that. And I think it was doomed for that reason. When you plan to make 3000 of something when you really need to sell 30000 or more of to get some returns, upfront cost is going to be high. This should make a fine collectors car.

  9. Bill Howland says:

    The big experts have spoken.

    The car sold as well as the Tesla Roadster, when the Roadster didn’t have any competition and was on the market for more years. And the only one here who critiques the Roadster is me, who lived with it for four years. I could buy 2 ELR’s and more for the price of one Roadster.

    The only reason the ELR sold as well as it did, is those idiot German Managers were hired late in the game. As it is they prematurely shut off the ELR, not even allowing it to run for the full 2016 model year. BTW, there is no added cost to the 2016. THe only changes were optionally better store-bought brakes. So it was not throwing good $ after bad since they didn’t throw anything in the first plac.

    Instead of having now 0 EVs to sell other than dealer stock, they could have amortized their miniscule design cost even further by turning out more vehicles.

    Both my Cars have old-fashioned ‘GEN 1’ technology and it is fine by me. I do not always have to have the ‘latest and greatest’. I make do with what I have.

    If those idiots were in charge 2 years earlier, there never would have been a Cadillac EV period. I get tons of advertising literature from Cadillac every week (!) trying to entice me to buy MORE. They have never EVEN ONCE mentioned that the ELR even exists. Disgusting.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Wouldn’t that be 1.5 ELR for 1 Roadseter?

      From the beginning, ELR was sunk due to cost. They priced it like Tesla with performance of i3Rex. If they had priced it to compete against i3Rex, ELR could’ve done some serious damage to i3, both in US and over seas. Shorter range, yes, but it could drive in Autobahn for hundreds of miles, not just 70 MPH.

      1. SparkEV says:

        What I meant was shorter AER for ELR, but ELR has much longer range at higher speed than 70 MPH, making it possibly a better alternative to i3Rex with comparable performance.

  10. Blastphemy says:

    The 2016 ELR has significant improvements over the 2014 model, not just better brakes, Bill. A lot of engineering went into improving the drivetrain, acceleration, and overall driving experience.

    But even with that, no one is buying it because (1) GM doesn’t advertise it as you noted, and (2) Cadillac dealerships don’t understand how to sell the car. The ridiculous $75k price on the original model and Cadillac’s feeble and ill-advised attempt to compare it to the Tesla Model S didn’t help the negative sentiment.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Please fully document your statements.

      If you don’t I’ll assume you haven’t taken your meds today.

      The ELR ALREADY had ‘significantly improved drive train’ etc. My 2014 drives much differently than my 2011 volt. As far as noise it has Bose noise cancellation that is partially successful and probably satisfies most people most of the time.

      The ride quality already had the more expensive suspension, as well as the expensive Bridgestone run-flat LRR tires.

      On ELR’s website, the only thing they have is a $1295 ‘performance brakes’ option, which includes the brakes, sport wheels, and better tires. A trivial change as I have mentioned. There is nothing else on the entire web site stating they’ve improved or changed ANYTHING other than opening up the existing battery more, and supplied the slightly larger battery that they were putting in the later 2015 volts. Big deal.

      From management’s point of view, it doesn’t make sense to put any cash into the car, seeing as they were only going to make a 4 month run out of the 2016’s.

      So I’d really like to see some documentation.

      1. Ron says:

        Here are the new specs for the 2016 model…

        -25% increase in power and torque
        -4 more miles of EV range
        – Zero to 60 improvement from 7.8 to 6.4
        -10k drop in price.

        I just purchased one for $57k before tax incentives. Net Net- this should have been the car and price point that caddy first released

        1. Rick Danger says:

          Typical GM. They introduce a new model, not even half-baked. They take 4-5 years to work the kinks out, and by that time, the car has such a bad reputation they have to can it.
          remember the Corvair? The Vega? The Fiero? There are many more. We can now add the ELR to that inauspicious list.

        2. Bill Howland says:

          Well Ron if I’m wrong I half – appologize. (not fully since it is no added hardware, only a software change). I’m wondering where they got the extra power FROM since I thought they had ALREADY extracted all the power available from the GEN 1 ‘genset’.

          I’ll read the link… I thought that with the 2014 they were already pushing the boundaries of what the equipment could handle….25% increase beyond that sounds dangerous to me.
          In any event, its a software only change, therefore no hardware development cost, but it certainly did give GM’s ‘50000 new engineers’ something to play with for a while.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            Ok , verified on the link that it is a software change, and the added power is coming from the 2 electric motors as a combo driven harder…

            There is still a bit of confusion in my mind, since in the 2014 maximum power occurred with the engine running. If both motors are supplying power, then one of the motors must be taken out of service as a generator.

            In that case ALL of the increase is coming from the larger motor, which supposedly is the same as in my 2011 volt.

            I’d like to hear the rationale of why they think they can push things this hard.

            The only hardware change I saw was an added helper spring, presumably when you order the optional performance package.

            I wonder how few 2016s were actually made since they only let it run for 1/3 of a model year.

  11. M. St. J. says:

    Perfect example of a group of people making ridiculously high salaries making absolutely horrible decisions.

    1. Stan says:

      and they’re not the only ones…

    2. SparkEV says:

      True, but from here, all who drive EV other than SparkEV and Tesla.

  12. Murrysville EV says:

    The ELR needed Tesla-like performance, not a lower price. Better performance would have been more in line with the image Cadillac has been trying to foster.

    Listing it for a low MSRP only demeans the Cadillac name (remember the “Cimarron”), but the fact is that most ELRs have been sold for WAY under MSRP, anyway.

    It was always doomed.

  13. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I am surprised that it took Johan de Nysschen this long to kill the ELR.

    I would have thought he would do that as first thing from day 1. (Afterall, he is the guy who called Volt a car for idiots).

  14. Epicurus says:

    “he . . . called Volt a car for idiots”

    He should be fired.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      Or never hired.

      What did he do at Infiniti? Nothing.

      People claim he did something at Audi for its turn around. Audi was turning around before he took over in 2004. And He was only the head of Audi of America.

      1. Trace says:

        He killed Infiniti’s electric car (LE was it?) just before he jumped ship to Cadillac. How Carlos Ghosn let him get away with that, I don’t know.

    2. Michel says:

      may be he still work for BMW , he’s a trojan horse inside GM.

  15. Roy LeMeur says:

    I concur.

    Instant collector’s item.

    Buy now.

    Earlier models most desirable.

  16. Marshall says:

    I’ve got an ELR on lease right now. It runs out at the end of 2017 (I pay $555/month with $0 down initially). I don’t recall what my residual value is, but it would be tempting to buy it because I do see this as a collector car.

    I will probably never drive a more attractive car, and the fit and finish on the inside is impeccable. The suspension and handling are worthy of other luxury brands, but the performance isn’t where it needs to be. If the 0-60 time was 60 year olds.

    1. Sting777 says:

      The residual value will be lower. They should offer you a great deal to keep it and take it off their hands.

      If you’ve got the garage space, I’d keep it.
      Remember, the Fox News old geezers are dying off. Younger people will come into money, and should be interested in it.

      1. bro1999 says:

        If the lease was through Ally Bank, you can forget about any kind of residual price negotiation.

  17. 3laine says:

    I knew as soon as I saw the headline that people would be in here claiming this will be a collector’s item. Classic response about cars that sold terribly because they were a terrible value compared to contemporary options and/or no one liked them.

    Collectors items are cars that people dream about owning, but they can’t because they don’t have the money at the time: Mustang Boss 429s, Camaro ZL1s, etc. we’re the cars every teenager in the 60s-70s wanted but couldn’t afford or weren’t old enough to own. Now millionaires, they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for them.

    Nobody is dreaming about the ELR thinking “one day I’m going to buy an ELR no matter what it costs!”

    I don’t say this to bash the ELR. It seems like a nice car, but anyone who thinks buying one is a good investment based on future value should really look at other “groundbreaking” GM products with poor sales and short lifespans to see how they’ve fared (Aztec, SSR, etc.). It won’t be worth more than you pay for it now any time in the next 35+ years. Only a handful of cars since ’80 are actually worth more than they were then (Grand National, ’93 Cobra R, Ford GT). You be better off buying stock or CDs or something. Then you’re not paying registration, insurance, etc. for 40 years hoping someone wants it then.

    1. kdawg says:

      The Aztek actually had a comeback due to Breaking Bad.

      1. Trace says:

        But then Walter went and got it shot up, and traded it in on a Charger.

      2. 3laine says:

        I know there was some renewed interest in it as a result of the show, but I’m sure they’re still not worth investing in… and ELR buyers can’t really count on a hit TV show boosting their future value.

  18. kdawg says:

    (Have posted this before)
    I wish GM would have created a new line for their plug-in vehicles. They could have had a base model, a luxury model, a CUV, etc.
    This way there would have been no badge-baggage (whether good or bad), just a fresh start w/something new.

    1. Rick Danger says:

      I have to agree with ya there, it’s the best thing they could have done.
      Which, of course, is why they didn’t. This is GM we’re talking about, after all. They are their own worst enemy, by far.
      What kind of brain damage is necessary to hire Johan de by God Nysschen to usher Cadillac into the Electric Age?

  19. Bill Howland says:

    I get the feeling most of the people here who are self-styled EXPERTS on the ELR have never even driven one.

    They are just re-hashing other people’s comments.

    Everyone who has driven, or ridden in my car, or even just looks at it from the outside, absolutely loves it, even my drag-racing motor head next door neighbor.

    He’s driven it only once, but feels privledged every time he rides in it as a passenger. He was also favorably impressed with the acceleration, which would only get BETTER with the engine running – much more of an improvement under the same scenario with the 2015 and earlier volts.

    He also comes to cars with a technical background, so his opinion I hold in higher regard. If the car’s all around performance (not the simplistic straight line stuff you only get here) impresses him, ’nuff said.

    1. Ambulator says:

      I always think of the ELR as a weirdmobile. I don’t particularly hold that against it, but luxury items have never appealed to me, either.

  20. Tim says:

    The ELR is objectively a very good car. It was and continues to be overpriced at MSRP. For those of us who got it where we originally guessed it would be $50k-$60k, we’ve been very happy with it. Yes, it doesn’t have the outright performance of a BMW or Audi in the couple category but the overall driving experience is as good as if not better because of the EV drivetrain.

    I’m not a typical Cadillac customer, and don’t see anything else in their stable of products that interest me at all (for sure not the boat of a CT6).

  21. Rick Bronson says:

    Why producing the car until 2018. They can stop by 2016 itself since it will complete 4 years.

    Once they say that they will stop it, no one is going to buy it.

    Its overpriced not to sell. Still if they reduce the price by another $10,000 it will sell. But again Cadillac does not want to sell an EV.

    Do you think that they will price CT6 plugin competitvely. I doubt