Cadillac Boss: ELR Won’t Live On
Tell us that the day Cadillac brought on notoriously anti-EV boss Johan de Nysschen from Infiniti (ex-Audi), that this wasn’t expected at some point?
According to de Nysschen in an interview with AutoGuide, the Cadillac ELR is dead. Mostly.
When de Nysschen arrived at Cadillac, one of the first announcements we heard was that there would be no 2015 model year of the luxury plug-in.
Then the 2016 Caddy was scheduled to appear at the Los Angeles auto show in November. Didn’t happen. (apparently “due to system integration difficulties“)
NAIAS in Detroit? Nope.
How about the scheduled appearance last month at the Geneva Motor Show? Cancelled again – no word as to why.
Now we have this quote confirmed what we all assumed was going on.
“The ELR will continue through its lifecycle,” de Nysschen said, “I don’t’ think we will create a next-generation, compact, two-door, gorgeously styled alternative powertrain successor to ELR.”
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.
Just last November there had been slight hope for the ELR’s future as de Nysschen gave this not too committed statement:
“I absolutely believe that we need not only a successor to ELR but more vehicles of that caliber and they will be part of our future. We must not give up on the car. I cannot have 50 priorities at the same time. The team and I will get around to working on ELR, but it is clearly going to be a niche car.”
Guess Not. Now instead of touting plug-ins, the Cadillac boss’ verbage has changed to:
“(Cadillac) will continue to offer alternative powertrain technologies in our cars”
Truth be told, and taking our dislike of Johan out of the equation, the Cadillac ELR didn’t win “Blunder of the Year” for no reason. The car was priced way too high and a serious re-thinking of the brand was needed. It appears Mr. De Nysschen really didn’t want to do that, or saw it as an opportunity to just eject the car from the brand’s lineup.
Still, we think if the Cadillac boss was really on board with plug-ins, he would have seen there was/is a market for an upscale version of the Chevrolet Volt with some extra oompf…only this time, make it $10,000 more expensive, not $40,000.
There is certainly savings in the short term specific to axing the Cadillac ELR, no question.
However, the damage to the brand overall by not offering an alternative to the ELR is significant. Especially while the BMWs, Mercedes and Audis of the world are actually selling multiple EV offerings, while at them same time showing numerous production-intent vehicles on just about every model in their lineups already.
For his part De Nysschen says plug-ins will be a part of the future of Cadillac – not no news as to what products, or when they would arrive:
“We will roll out plug-in hybrids across our portfolio,” de Nysschen said in an interview with Bloomberg, “It’s part of confirming the progressive nature of the brand.”
Other than the plug-in CT6, which has apparently been relegated to a Shanghai reveal this month (away from the word debut in New York in March), there is no tangible evidence of plug-in technology at Cadillac. And what do we know of it ahead of the reveal? Absolutely nothing.
Performance and luxury comes with a plug these days…not a 600 hp V8.