Outsold by the Viper, Cadillac’s ELR Can’t Find Love—Even from Dealers

2014 Cadillac ELR

A couple of months after hitting dealerships, Cadillac’s stylish ELR plug-in hybrid coupe has yet to light a fire beneath customers. For a taste of how bad things are, the hardly everyday-versatile SRT Viper—a car with sales trouble of its own—handily outsold the $75,995 Cadillac during its first full month on sale. Now, a report from Edmunds suggests not only are buyers cool toward the ELR, but a good chunk of Cadillac dealers are, too.

Edmunds says that 410 out of Cadillac’s 940 dealers opted out of selling the ELR, with most citing the poor cost-benefit balance of taking on the car. Franchises facing only a handful of annual sales would nonetheless need to outfit their service bays with stuff like chargers, specialized tools, and freshly trained techs, a pricey investment that likely wouldn’t be recuperated anytime soon, if ever. Cadillac’s global marketing director, Jim Vurpillat, indicated that a good number of the ELR-averse dealers were located in rural areas, and he expects most sales to come from the flashier coastal regions.

Instrumented Test: 2014 Cadillac ELR
Instrumented Test: 2013 Cadillac ATS 3.6
Comparison Test: 2014 Cadillac CTS vs. Audi A6, BMW 535i, Mercedes-Benz E350

While the ELR’s slow sales aren’t great news, if Cadillac can foist the car on folks in places like California, New York, Dallas, and Miami—Vurpillat’s stated sales hotspots—it could still mark a win. There are two reasons such an accomplishment would be considered a victory: One, Cadillac never expected to sell a great deal of ELRs to begin with; and two, like other domestic brands, the brand still needs to lure more car buyers on the traditionally import-friendly coasts.

2014 Cadillac ELR

About Alexander Stoklosa