Tesla Model S Sales in SF Bay Area Alone Outnumber Nationwide Cadillac ELR Sales

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 27

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

Cadillac ELRs Line Up For Ride And Drive Event

Cadillac ELRs Line Up For Ride And Drive Event

A recent Automotive News article, focused on BMW, Cadillac and Tesla Motors, delved into some sales figures that we’d not yet seen:

“The ELR may have been too different. GM has sold fewer than 600 nationwide through July, according to researcher Autodata Corp. Tesla sold 939 vehicles in the Bay Area through the first half, according to Edmunds.”

So, sales of the Model S in the SF Bay Area alone outnumber nationwide sales of the Cadillac ELR in the first half of 2014.

Tesla’s dominance in its backyard is apparently something that General Motors isn’t taking lightly.

Automotive News adds:

“Cadillac has been staging ride-and-drives around Silicon Valley since April at tech campuses including Google’s and at Walt Disney Co.’s Pixar, getting as many geeks as possible behind the wheel of its ELR electric-drive coupe.”

“It’s also pushing dealers to upgrade their showrooms. Just down the road from Tesla’s factory, the Dosanjh family invested $15 million on a Cadillac dealership that opened last year. The store has a towering 40-foot-wide solar array that automatically adjusts with a soft whirring sound to best catch the sun’s rays for charging electric cars parked below.”

The idea is to get local Cadillac dealerships up to par with the various Tesla stores in the area. Inder Dosanjh, the owner of the dealership mentioned above, stated:

“As far as we’re concerned, this is where we’re starting the battle against Tesla — in Fremont.”

Uwe Ellinghaus, head of Cadillac marketing for General Motors, admits to Automotive News that there’s an intense focus on the SF Bay Area:

“New York and LA are the biggest luxury markets, but they are relatively conservative luxury markets. But San Francisco may be the next generation of luxury buyers.  They are far more interested in progressive brand statements then necessarily the quickest car on earth.”

A total of 8 Cadillac dealerships in the SF Bay Area have reportedly undergone extensive modifications to get up to snuff, but will that be enough for sales of the ELR to compete with the Model S in Tesla’s own backyard?  We doubt it.  But possibly it will position Cadillac better for when it has that true Tesla-fighter available on the market.

Oh…BMW is reportedly upping its game in the SF Bay Area too.

Source: Automotive News

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27 responses to "Tesla Model S Sales in SF Bay Area Alone Outnumber Nationwide Cadillac ELR Sales"

  1. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    I am baffled why anyone, let alone a professional in the automobile marketing industry, would imagine that the ELR would appeal to the same market segment as the Tesla Model S.

    The Tesla is all-electric with high-end sports car performance. The 85 kWH version provides 240 real miles of range. There is a nationwide supercharger network for very fast charges, generally located in places convenient to shopping and hotels.

    The ELR is a plug-in hybrid, sometimes distinguished as an extended range EV, with about 40 real miles of range (on a 16 kWh battery) and a gas engine to get you another couple hundred miles. It does not have the sport car performance. It does not have fast charge capability – or even a faster level 2 charge capability. You’re going to burn gas if you want to drive more than 40 miles at a go, and if you want to go on a road trip it will be almost all gas unless you want to sit around for 4-5 hours while waiting for the level 2 charge at 3.3 kW/h.

    Moreover, the ELR exhibits the classic GM marketing error with Cadillac – it’s not dissimilar enough from the Chevrolet on which it is based to justify a price tag nearly twice as much (and actually twice as much after tax incentives are deducted). Most luxury car makers long ago figured out that they can’t charge twice as much for their Lexus or Audi as they do for the similar Toyota or VW unless the customer perceives that they are totally different cars. But if they do perceive a complete difference they will buy the luxury car, even if the customer is vaguely aware that the luxury car has 10x the profit margin for the manufacturer. The ELR looks for all the world like a dressed-up Volt – it’s the Cadillac Cimmarron of PHEVs. It’s as if Nissan modified the LEAF external cosmetics, added standard Infiniti luxury features to the interior, and tried to sell an Infiniti EV with 84 miles EPA range for $70k.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Nissan almost did just that. The Infiniti LE. They wisely canceled the project.

      1. david_cary says:

        Except that the Infiniti never would have been $70k. It would have been $50k and would have probably still been a failure. A BEV only with 24kwh at that price won’t work. A nice EREV might. If the Caddy just bumped the drivetrain and had 6 sec 0-60 EV acceleration, it would sell at $60k comfortably.

        I think there is a big market for performance EREVs. GM could make them for less the Model S. Just like there would be a big market for a CUV EREV – with Volt performance.

      2. Scramjett says:

        Not cancelled, just “postponed indefinitely.” Nissan still shows it on their website (link below) and I suspect they’re going to release it sometime around the release of the Gen 2 Leaf (in fact, I believe I read that somewhere, but I can’t remember where).

        I think it was a smart move. Especially after the embarrassing sales of the ELR. Nissan is going to take their time to make a true upscale EV that can compete with the Model S (at a likely mid-market price of about $50k I’d say) and may actually attract some current Leaf owners thinking of upgrading to a Model S (as well as a few others who are interested in the Model S but its just outside their reach in price).

  2. David Murray says:

    What is the point of giving test drives of a $70,000 vehicle at a college campus? How many college students (or professors) can afford one?

    1. EV says:

      3 professors at my college have Tesla’s and i go over and admire them every day im there

      1. Jouni Valkonen says:

        +1

        Many students of course do not have possibility for Tesla at least for a decade, but many students can convince their parents to buy Tesla Model 3 in 2017.

        1. Mint says:

          On top of that, it only takes a few years for the higher paid engineering and med school grads to be in a position to buy or lease a $50k car.

          Not all students are riddled with debt, and carmakers only need to convince a few percent for the demographic to be worthwhile.

    2. sven says:

      Tech company campus, not college campus.

  3. Anon says:

    Too different??? Public Perception (accurate or not) is that the ELR is mostly a gen 1 Volt with a Caddy Flavored Coating on the outside.

    Add in an obnoxious 1 Percenter Ad Campaign, and you’ve got an awesome recipe for marketing FAILURE.

    I enjoy reading clueless GM exec comments about their own failed products. 🙂

    Get ready to lose more market share to the Model 3, GM.

    1. pete g says:

      The ELR is a fantastic car. It is the only PHEV with enough range were the average person doesn’t use gas on a daily basis(Volt excluded). The thought of driving a Tesla from San Francisco to Las Vegas brings the image of a barefooted beach gower running from shadow to shadow to mind. 200 miles at highway speeds is nothing. The last thing I want to do on a getaway weekend is be stuck in a small town with the cast of Deliverance waiting for the car to charge.

      All cars have one thing in common. Eventually you will have to change the battery. On that day the Tesla model S super car becomes. Just another POS.

      1. Mint says:

        No, they do not eventually need a battery change. People like you said the same thing about hybrids, and Priuses are going to the scrapyard before they need a new battery.

        Tesla’s battery will likely last over 200k miles. Someone recently cracked 100k miles with only ~5% range loss, and Tesla said they last 500k miles on a dyno.

        1. pete g says:

          Ok lets agree that the Gigafactory will reduce the cost of batteries. So the cost of replacements is a moot point.
          I do like both cars and would recomend either depending on that persons driving patterns. Having owned many cars in my life I have noticed most of the bad press that GM gets is BS. The cars were always good to me. If you remember when the Volt was first introduced most of the articles written said “Best car at this price” Followed quickly by articles that said “the price is too high.” Well GM lowered the price of the Volt and the ELR, and sales of both cars seem to be improving. How do you think most reporters are going to spin that?

  4. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Parading the ELR around educated, tech-savvy SF will likely do more harm than good. ELR is so obviously a joke compared to a Tesla that I pity the poor folks who had this job handed to them.

    ELR at $55k would have been a modest achiever, but $75k was a boner of biblical proportions and everyone outside the sanity-distortion field of GM corporate knew that years ago.

    1. FSJ says:

      “A boner of biblical proportions”?! I love it! Way to mix your metaphors. So many hilarious images come to mind.

    2. Bill Howland says:

      Actually I was very close to buying an ELR this week. My price was going to be $53,000.

      It was a close call, but I finally decided against it. The 2 big negatives for me were the high tech dashboard, (Tesla did better on this score, but I still don’t care for it – I don’t like the volt’s either but at least you can deal with it. The ELR seems impossible) and the lack of rear seat room for the average adult male. The trunk was a disappointment also, but they didn’t kill the deal for me, even at $52k.

      Driveability was no problem, but I dislike both it and the model S’s regen. The model S since there doesn’t seem to be enough, and the ELR, while there is enough (the only car I’ve tested similar to my Roadster), you have to hold down those dopey padles to get it which means the car ‘stops slowing down’ when you have to turn the steering wheel. Don’t any of they cross-eyed designers (I had to put it that way since this is a family show) actually drive a car themselves?

      Plus, the current group of Caddy’s “Art & Science” styling reminds me too much of the cardboard soapbox derby things my friends and I made when we were preteens. They’d need to redo the outside of the car to make me really want it.

    3. Brian Z Jones says:

      That’s exactly what the ELRs are going for. Just picked one up, in Fremont, for $20k off. Add in govt incentive and the free home charger install, and it is half the price of a nice Tesla (my Tesla is still on order – waiting for X).

      It makes a great commuter for the wife.

      -bZj

  5. ffbj says:

    So much for the Tesla killer headlines touting the Elr that came out six or months or so ago.
    Candy-Coated: good 1 Anon.

  6. Stan says:

    I recall articles stating that Cadillac was only going to build a limited number of ELR. If those ever get sold it’s over. So why would they let their dealers go over the hassle of upgrading showrooms when there’s no roadmap ? Then there’s the rumor of the 2 Volt versions. What if they position one at the low end of the market and give it a chevy badge (econobox style) and a sporty version (with extended batteries and fancy options) with a caddy badge ? Oh yeah, and bump the price by 20k for the latter 🙂

  7. pjwood says:

    If Tesla has competition it is the ELR. Net of tax credits, and adjusting for a whole lot of options missing on the Tesla, its price is half that of the MS. GM’s gaffe was the MSRP. Where they let them $ go, is what is equalizing things right now.

    No, they don’t compete pound for pound, but at ELR MSRP, minus 20k? Go out and see where the dollars land. Good hunting!

  8. Stimpacker says:

    Sigh, the more I read about GM, the more I find myself nodding in agreement with some of what Bob Lutz wrote in his book about GM culture “Car guys vs bean counters”.

    I personally know some GM people. They like to hire a bunch of suits (with fancy postgrad degrees) with totally knowledge much less experience in the auto industry so that they can mold them with the GM work culture – lots of meetings and material that will make any MBA school proud. But nothing actually related to the real world – cars and the people that buy them.

    ELR vs Tesla Model S is a joke. To think that many observers have commented that with GM’s engineering and financial might, they could have easily beaten Tesla if they wanted to. It’s all about the people they hire.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Well, it was a very close call for me, and I like my Roadster better than the S, of course, I own the Roadster and have only test driven the S.

      The ELR does seem to win in the ‘service’ category. If its like the volt then it shouldn’t be too bad. Plus, warranty service for me would be very very easy. That is a Very very big plus.

  9. Chris B says:

    Really the worst part of all this is that the ELR IS A GREAT CAR and yet so few are even aware it exists. The current deals make it actually a GOOD deal too (Do a quick autotrader search…a number of them in the $50s now and I see one that even dropped to high $40s!). Heck over on the BMW i3 Facebook page one of the couples there has both an i3 and an ELR now. Honestly, as much as I like the Model S, and i3 AND an ELR for the price of one laoded Model S is a deal I’d make all day, every day.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      I expect GM knew that $75k was too high and expected price-cutting, but GM really wants to see if they make EREV a premium feature, wanted to get EREV into Cadillac and wanted to see how much they could sell it for. But the problem is that it’s been a PR embarassment, and it’s hard to fix that on a low-volume product because even if you’re dumping $20k in incentives, it’s harder to get that message to buyers they’ve put off.

      Maybe GM thought that if invited comparison with the Tesla they could expose Tesla’s lack of luxury and lack of driver assistance technologies. Problem is that instead they exposed themselves to criticism of performance and AER because they weren’t any significant changes from the Volt drivetrain.

  10. pete g says:

    I am not a member of the one car for everyone club. Tesla would like to sell 500k per year worldwide. GM projected ELR sales of 3000 per year. May they both succeed.

    1. Anon says:

      Tesla just wants to sell pure electric cars– awesome ones. Not crappy short range boxes that poke along. If other automakers rise to meet “The Tesla Challenge”, that would also make them and many consumers (including me) quite happy.

      Unfortunately, there are STILL no other compelling BEVs with greater than 150 mile range available to the average auto buyer. But, it’s still early in the game for some manufacturers to turn around and produce competing pure electric products of the same high caliber…

      We shall see.