With a controversial ad campaign featuring actor Neil McDonough, a $76,000 price tag and a head of marketing who said that tree huggers need not apply as prospective owners, the Cadillac ELR range-extended electric car isn’t a car that has flown off dealer lots all that easily. In fact, sales have been so appalling that some dealers have been offering up to $13,600 in discounts to try and entice owners to buy the Chevy Volt-derived luxury coupe.
Yet despite the ELR’s unimpressive sales figures, General Motors’ latest Cadillac Boss Johan de Nysschen says the premium brand is looking to expand its plug-in offerings in an attempt to resurrect the struggling brand, including a plug-in hybrid version of the new Cadillac CT6 sedan, an all-electric, 200-mile sedan, and a successor to the slow-selling ELR.
Talking with Reuters, de Nysschen — formerly head of Audi North America and more recently head of Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti — said that Cadillac would be expanding its range over the next six years to try and make it more appealing to customers. The challenge: beating tough competition from German brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, who have consistently outsold Cadillac 2-1 in the premium and luxury segments in recent years.
Despite being a vocal critic of plug-in cars both at his time at Audi and at Infiniti, once calling customers who were prepared to buy the Chevrolet Volt electric car “idiots”, de Nysschen appears to have made at least some peace with the fact that plug-in cars might help the troubled Detroit brand. And of the five to ten models Cadillac plans to introduce, some will come with a plug.
Lease surprising is the confirmation that the Cadillac ELR — which is based on the current generation Chevrolet Volt — will be given a refresh at the same time as the Volt on which it is based. With the second-generation Chevrolet Volt due to debut at January’s Detroit Auto Show as a 2016 model year car, de Nysschen confirmed that Cadillac is working on a successor for the slow-selling ELR plug-in, hinting that it may not be a two-door coupe like the current model. Since Cadillac has already confirmed a revised 2016 ELR will debut in November at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show complete with unspecified “engineering enhancements,” it’s not clear if de Nysschen was referring to the 2016 model year, or a future-model for a few years’ time intended as a complete ELR replacement.
Also confirmed by de Nysschen is the news that the all-new CT6 luxury sedan — the company’s latest flagship model — would debut with a plug-in hybrid option when it goes on sale late next year. Rumored to include a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine with eight-speed automatic and electric motor assist, the CT6 will follow in the path set by other plug-in luxury hybrids, offering limited electric range and a 75 mph top speed in EV mode. While it’s unlikely to turn heads as a plug-in car however, Cadillac has previously promised the CT6 will “be the most advanced vehicle technologically in the world,” complete with a monitor system which live-streams video from a rear-mounted camera on a monitor mounted in place of a traditional rear-view mirror.
Finally, de Nysschen confirmed for the first time that like sibling brand Chevrolet, Cadillac is working on bringing a fully-electric sedan to the market. While range wasn’t discussed, other rumours surrounding the brand suggest that Cadillac is working on a new compact crossover model which would be based on the same chassis as the Chevrolet Cruze and hit the market some time in 2017. Give that’s the same time as luxury automaker Tesla has promised its own affordable, 200-mile Tesla Model ≡ and we already know Chevrolet is working on a compact 200-mile electric car for release around the same time, we’d like to suggest it’s highly probable that Cadillac’s future electric car would be a compact sedan with a 200-mile range.
Without official comment however from Cadillac, that particular prediction remains firmly in the unconfirmed camp.
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