Cadillac drops price on ELR plug-in for 2016 model year

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. said Wednesday it's shaving $10,000 off the price of its Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid for the 2016 model year.

Cadillac said after U.S. federal tax credits of $7,500, the 2016 ELR will start at $58,495. The current model starts at $75,995 including destination charge, and after tax credits starts at $68,495. It's the second price reduction in two days on a GM electric vehicle.

The ELR luxury coupe, which debuted early last year as a 2014 model, has been a slow seller and has been heavily discounted at times by dealers to move them; last year GM sold 1,310, and through March this year, had sold 311. That's up from 180 sold in the first three months of 2014.

Kelley Blue Book analyst Akshay Anand said that ELR likely was overpriced to start with, and the reduction isn't a surprise.

"In an ideal world, Cadillac wouldn't need to cut prices on some of its slower-selling vehicles because its prestige would be enough to prop sales up," he said in a statement. "However, as Cadillac quests to become one of the premiere brands in the auto industry, short-term sales have necessitated price cuts."

Cadillac said for the 2016 model year it has boosted horsepower and torque more than 25 percent, and the electric range grows on the base model thanks to a revised electric drive system. The coupe also gets OnStar 4G LTE built-in Wi-Fi and Cadillac says it has enhanced steering, braking and handling. Acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour takes 6.4 seconds with a modified sport mode, a 1.5-second improvement. Cadillac says the ELR also has a higher top speed.

A new performance equipment package with 20-inch, summer-only performance tires, sport steering wheel and front Brembo brake calipers and vented rear rotors that improve stopping distance, also is available.

The front has a newer appearance, getting a new grille with the new Cadillac crest. GM also is offering more technology standard on the car, including the ability to wirelessly charge a phone through a new magnetic charge spot on the instrument panel. Driver Assistance safety systems, which were optional before, will be standard on the 2016 model and include side blind zone and rear cross traffic alerts. Cadillac says lane change alert and a new vehicle security system also are standard.

"ELR's combination of leading technology with stunningly attractive design is unlike any other coupe in the luxury segment," Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said in a statement. "The upgraded ELR offers enhanced driving performance for buyers seeking uncompromising luxury and exquisite craftsmanship with electrification technology. It is unique in the luxury category, in that it completely eliminates conventional concerns over driving range, which has been the Achilles' heel of other competitors in the luxury segment."

The ELR has a driving range of 330 miles. Once the battery is depleted, estimated at 39 miles, a range-extending 1.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine powers the vehicle. Cadillac says the performance package cuts electric range by about four miles.

At the beginning of the month, Cadillac had 109 days supply of the ELR, down from 449 — or more than a year — it had a year ago, according to LMC Automotive.

The ELR is built at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant.

GM, in an effort to grow sales, said Tuesday it was cutting the price on its 2015 Chevrolet Spark pure electric by 6 percent or $1,650 to $25,995 and offering low-mileage leases for $139 a month with nothing down. The Spark EV is available in the U.S. in California and Oregon and this spring it adds Maryland as a location.