Who will buy the Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid at $75,995?

11 October 2013

Cadillac's new luxury plug-in hybrid, the ELR, shares many of the same underpinnings with the Chevy Volt -- GM's plug-in hybrid that took a $5,000 price cut in August to combat disappointing sales. Now at $34,995, that's less than twice that of the Cadillac ELR, which will hit dealerships in January sporting an eye-watering sticker price of $75,995.

What was Cadillac thinking?

If you've never driven the Volt, you should, as it's a nice car with an interesting interior design and zippy acceleration — thanks to its accompanying electric motor. Driving the hybrid for a week, I didn't use a drop of gas. And it looks good, as well. But the price remains too high. As with all new technologies, that will be the case until manufacturers can produce enough to lower its costs. That time is not yet upon us.

The ELR will be very much like the Volt. Only more blingy, angular, and exclusive. Exclusive, according to Cadillac, remains the operative word. Only being sold in roughly 500 of the 940 dealerships nationwide, Cadillac aims to woo the more affluent buyer, embracing a car that has no known natural customer base. By committing to producing just a small number of ELRs, Cadillac says they expect buyers to scramble for one.

But I'm not so sure they will. At $75,995, even after federal tax credits, they might not sell many at all. Which is Caddy's plan all along, right?

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