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Car and Driver: Unplugged: Slow-Selling Cadillac ELR Plug-In Hybrid Ends Production


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2016 Cadillac ELR


After selling fewer than 3000 Cadillac ELRs since the model’s introduction, General Motors formally announced that it has ceased making the slow-selling plug-in hybrid coupe.


According to HybridCars.com, ELR production quietly ended in February, shortly after Cadillac president Johan de Nysschen stated that there were no plans to invest in a second-generation model; however, it wasn’t until this month that the division’s product communications manager, David Caldwell, confirmed that the car was no longer rolling off of GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly line, which currently builds the Cadillac CT6the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, the Chevrolet Impala, and the Chevrolet Malibu.


Although the Cadillac ELR’s unique exterior styling received high praise, not much else about the luxury coupe was well received by the press or the public. In our first review of the car we called out the ELR for failing to “push the technological frontier forward.” Despite sharing very little with the Chevrolet Volt, the Caddy was often referred to as a “$75,995 Chevy Volt.” It certainly didn’t help that the battery pack and powertrain were some of the few pieces the two cars shared. At roughly 2.5 times the cost of the Volt, we, as well as many consumers, found it hard to justify the cost of the ELR. Things only got worse for the ELR after Cadillac released its widely mocked “Poolside” ad, which portrayed the ELR as the dream car of xenophobic Americans.


After selling a meager 1310 ELRs in 2014, followed by a paltry 1024 cars in 2015, Cadillac introduced a handful of changes to the 2016 model year ELR as a final Hail Mary to turn things around. The price was slashed by $10,000, and the drive system was updated to boost the stylish coupe’s horsepower by 29 percent and its torque by 26 percent. Additionally, Cadillac revised the car’s suspension, added a sporty Performance Package, and updated the styling to include its new wreath-less badge. Alas, it was too little too late.


Cadillac isn’t giving up on the plug-in hybrid concept, though. The Chinese-built Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid is expected to arrive later this year, boasting 30 miles of electric-only driving range and a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds. Hopefully it will achieve greater success for the brand than the short-lived ELR.


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