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Green Car Reports
March 28, 2019



GM recently announced that its reshuffled electric-car efforts starting in 2021 will be focused on Cadillac.

The greater profits on luxury vehicles may allow it to make money on electric cars sooner than if they had to compete at mass-market Chevy prices.

Looking back, Tony Posawatz, product manager for the 2011 Volt, mused that “perhaps GM should have started with a Cadillac version (given the higher costs) or introduced the originally planned crossover soon(er).”

Cadillac did get the ELR, effectively a luxury coupe on first-generation Volt underpinnings, but its jaw-dropping price of about $75,000—what a decent Tesla Model S cost—and the limited utility of a two-door coupe body killed it pretty much on launch.

Analyst Lindland echoes Posawatz's thought. Asked what GM learned from the Volt, she responded, “Not enough, or else the Chevy Bolt EV would have been the Cadillac XT4.”

It’s worth noting that’s the exact route Audi will take with its upcoming Q4 e-tron, to be built on VW Group’s shared MEB electric-car platform following the larger, pricier e-tron that goes on sale this year. The Q4 likely won’t arrive until 2021, but arguably GM could have beaten it to the punch in 2017 if its electric-car efforts weren’t still wedded to the Chevrolet brand at the time.







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Asked what GM learned from the Volt, she responded, “Not enough, or else the Chevy Bolt EV would have been the Cadillac XT4.”
Valid comment. Let me say however that I loved my three year lease of a Chevy Volt, and I would have taken another one but my desire for a manual transmission was a greater draw.

Perhaps it should have been assigned to the Cadillac brand, but then hindsight is always 20:20.

Just a few days before the federal tax incentive on the Volt and Bolt are reduced by 50%. TODAY is the day to shop for one so you can take delivery by Sunday. Don't mess with the IRS with a delivery date later than Sunday.









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Valid comment. Let me say however that I loved my three year lease of a Chevy Volt, and I would have taken another one but my desire for a manual transmission was a greater draw.

Perhaps it should have been assigned to the Cadillac brand, but then hindsight is always 20:20.

Just a few days before the federal tax incentive on the Volt and Bolt are reduced by 50%. TODAY is the day to shop for one so you can take delivery by Sunday. Don't mess with the IRS with a delivery date later than Sunday.









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So the first maker who comes out with a hybrid or 'lektrik with a three on the tree or four on the floor for the 'lektrik motor will be tapping a yooj unreached market?
 
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Just a few days before the federal tax incentive on the Volt and Bolt are reduced by 50%. TODAY is the day to shop for one so you can take delivery by Sunday. Don't mess with the IRS with a delivery date later than Sunday.


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It'll be interesting to see where this all goes with the credit shrinking.

It is hard (impossible) to measure, but I think the Volt helped the brand Chevrolet and the company General Motors, the ELR did nothing for Cadillac, selling ELR's at $40,000 wasn't the answer either............ Yet somehow "this time" Cadillac is going to have a bunch of EV's that'll take over the world, or at least failing Tesla?


:ponder:
 
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Things that held the ELR back:

1) Price possibly, but

2) No Sunroof. Seriously? In a car that looks like this.. sold to greenies with money (obviously) in California.. No Sunroof?

3) Its a sports car config. The backseat, like that in a 911 is a joke.

4) No advertising after "Poolside." None. Nada. If costs vs return is the issue.. be like most luxo manufacturers and have a all-inclusive marketing campaign that shows all the models at once. Heck. Take page from Chevy. Their ad has everything from Cruze to Z06 in it.



5) Preach leasing! $1999 at lease with $599-699 per month. Why are people looking at the PRICE anyway unless its a collector car? The tech will continuously evolve.. buying an EV in today's market will in teh next few years be kno different than buying an iPhone or Galaxy. Every 6 months!!! Upgrade.




Bottom line is that the ELR at $75K was fine IF Cadillac only wanted to sell them to niche buyers. They didn't. They FAILED to sell the intended 3000 (last year about 1/2 of that) units annually because they did nothing to market this car after "Poolside" went viral and let's be honest, its a 2-seater (eff the back seat in any of these sports coupes/Verts from Cadillac to Benz), it has no sunroof, which is insane considering the market for this car would seemingly be the well-to-do, Silicon Valley, greenie types who love to show up in something sexy that lets's their hair blow around in the wind.



This car.. THIS CAR.. should have been a sub-ATS sports car, with a convertible roof or sunroof having coupe, with a TT 2.0L 270HP and 350HP VSeries version, and ta hell with EV. The Voltec should have gone in the XT4, XT5, XTS...... those, with Voltec would have made sense. The XTS with Voltec would have added numbers in the realm of what Tesla sell because it would be in a car that could actually seat 5, maybe 6, with a trunk that could house a bunch of Golf Clubs.

 

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Yes, it should've been a Caddy from day 1...Been saying this since it was introduced, start w/ the Luxury brand at cost and then trickle down to mainstream at a reduced cost. This'll give the premium brand the halo tech and it'll later give value minded buyers the assurance that they're mainstream product has premium tech at a bargain price. IDIOTS!!!

Edit: I also mentioned a while back that the ELR should've had some sort of gimmick...like Mclaren style butterfly doors...just a little something to make it stand out.

And also agree that the Bolt should've been some sort of Caddy, XT3E or something.

1 last thing...to hell w/ Apple and Samsung I'm not falling for that phone upgrade crap anymore, I have an S9 and am keeping it until it doesn't work anymore
 

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This car.. THIS CAR.. should have been a sub-ATS sports car, with a convertible roof or sunroof having coupe, with a TT 2.0L 270HP and 350HP VSeries version, and ta hell with EV. The Voltec should have gone in the XT4, XT5, XTS...... those, with Voltec would have made sense. The XTS with Voltec would have added numbers in the realm of what Tesla sell because it would be in a car that could actually seat 5, maybe 6, with a trunk that could house a bunch of Golf Clubs.

I can't upvote this enough.
 
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Well, you have the perfect hindsight option or options.

You also have a more realistic, but certainly less glamorous perfect foresight option.

Both are worth a discussion, but the second one requires 'less brilliance' ( plus ridiculously good forecasting ) and risk taking in a sense..... which is more congruent with where GM was at that time.

Fundamentally, you take the over sized, primary, almost exclusive focus off of Prius / Toyota HEV..... ( notice I did not say Lexus ) and Chevrolet's various travails at the time ..... concerning too much to list - and numerous this and that versus Toyota Brand - and Ford Brand primary volume numbers.



So with that said, under the second perfect forecasting 'option'..... imo not that it matters..... if you go Voltec or similar then...... no question, mid / premium Buick first, and Cadillac whatever second.

Or maybe, both brands, damn near simultaneously.

And yes, I am most definitely thinking Global.


But there is some other worth a mention and it basically boils down to taking all that effort and as an option all the Two Mode effort..... and well, deploying perhaps a whole different kinda' electrification effort.


Across a bunch of Product.

Including a bunch of mainstream USA Chevrolet product.


So roughly, a strong 48 Volt 'effort' up to relatively smaller battery equipped Voltec efforts plus.... a full BEV.

Ideally, a Modular approach at least in large part.


Not sayin' what should have been done except in the sense that while a good and noble effort of a strong sort..... both Voltec and Two Mode effort could have been deployed better and made not only less loss, but more positive other.


The thumping the Chevrolet Brand received in the 2000s was basically impossible to stop due to factors well beyond GM's control although ironically some of the above would have imo helped mitigate that - in all ways possible and mighta' positioned them for a really strong second lap.


There is another thing about all this that is really tricky to even just contemplate never mind figure - especially if you just move the real time lines around even a little bit.

And that is the BK.

The other fundamental idea here is would it not have been far better in almost incalculable fashion, to have won the MPG wars ( with Electrification assistance ) across the Mainstream Segments ?


Finally, if none of the above makes sense, then yep, a proper Cadillac first would have been better, rather than a Chevrolet led effort.


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The Bolt should have been the 2nd gen Volt with the Voltec powertrain and all-electric as an option.
- with more comfortable front seats.
 

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Things that held the ELR back:

1) Price possibly, but

2) No Sunroof. Seriously? In a car that looks like this.. sold to greenies with money (obviously) in California.. No Sunroof?

3) Its a sports car config. The backseat, like that in a 911 is a joke.

4) No advertising after "Poolside." None. Nada. If costs vs return is the issue.. be like most luxo manufacturers and have a all-inclusive marketing campaign that shows all the models at once. Heck. Take page from Chevy. Their ad has everything from Cruze to Z06 in it.



5) Preach leasing! $1999 at lease with $599-699 per month. Why are people looking at the PRICE anyway unless its a collector car? The tech will continuously evolve.. buying an EV in today's market will in teh next few years be kno different than buying an iPhone or Galaxy. Every 6 months!!! Upgrade.




Bottom line is that the ELR at $75K was fine IF Cadillac only wanted to sell them to niche buyers. They didn't. They FAILED to sell the intended 3000 (last year about 1/2 of that) units annually because they did nothing to market this car after "Poolside" went viral and let's be honest, its a 2-seater (eff the back seat in any of these sports coupes/Verts from Cadillac to Benz), it has no sunroof, which is insane considering the market for this car would seemingly be the well-to-do, Silicon Valley, greenie types who love to show up in something sexy that lets's their hair blow around in the wind.



This car.. THIS CAR.. should have been a sub-ATS sports car, with a convertible roof or sunroof having coupe, with a TT 2.0L 270HP and 350HP VSeries version, and ta hell with EV. The Voltec should have gone in the XT4, XT5, XTS...... those, with Voltec would have made sense. The XTS with Voltec would have added numbers in the realm of what Tesla sell because it would be in a car that could actually seat 5, maybe 6, with a trunk that could house a bunch of Golf Clubs.

The biggest issue with the ELR was that it met the needs of no one. It didn't have the practicality for people with kids (like myself) nor the performance for people willing to put up with the inconveniences of a sporty coupe: FWD, 233hp, 0-60 in 6.4s, in what is essentially a 2-seater.

And for the people interested in electrics, you could get a Model S for not much more money and that has the utility of a CUV and the performance of a RWD sport sedan.
 

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I fully DISAGREE and the VOLT HAD to be a CHEVROLET the Toyota Prius and Al Gore global warming were front and centre along with GM going into bankruptcy / "bail out"
the VOLT also was NOT a LUXURY car in the furthest stretch and to make it one worthy the 70K pricetag would have killed the fuel economy / green-cred GM NEEDED not to mention the volume GM "banked on" would not be there right after the recession and a LOT of "well off" were "hiding" there wealth and the "occupy wall ST" and all

IMHO GM's failure was the LACK of a follow up "voltcross" and a "fullsize" 4 dr COUPE from CADDY
 

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Could of, would of, should of but it's all water under the bridge. The Volt is no longer with us but it did further the Chevrolet brand in the marketplace, enticing many import intenders along the way.
 

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Any idea when a reliable Equinox sized electric SUV that can go about 400 miles on a single charge for approximately $30k to $35k with an 80% recharge in approx 5 minutes at any gas station on the road for under $5 is coming to the market? Then I know I'm saving real money and will switch over from gasoline. Until then its dead dinosaurs for me!
 

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... This car.. THIS CAR.. should have been a sub-ATS sports car, with a convertible roof or sunroof having coupe, with a TT 2.0L 270HP and 350HP VSeries version, and ta hell with EV. The Voltec should have gone in the XT4, XT5, XTS...... those, with Voltec would have made sense. The XTS with Voltec would have added numbers in the realm of what Tesla sell because it would be in a car that could actually seat 5, maybe 6, with a trunk that could house a bunch of Golf Clubs.

I like this alot. Probably a few people at GM who'd agree with you, too. I love my Volt, but its appeal is limited because of its size.
 

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Two doors didn't kill the ELR and neither did its price. The BMW i8 is proof.

What was underneath the ELR killed the ELR. My brother was shopping for a companion for his CTS Coupe years back and loved the ELR's design. He test drove one and couldn't sign the paperwork after driving it.
 

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One thing that was overlooked about the Prius was its cheapness was a major factor in its success. It was cheap to buy and cheap to own and due to its unique styling sent out the "I'm green" message. Because of the cheapness, people were happy to overlook the fact that the Prius was like riding in a tin can, other than the hybrid drivetrain, it was a crappy, cheap vehicle. The considerably more refined, but considerably more expensive Volt was priced out of that crowd and didn't make as much financial sense as the gas savings didn't offset the cost. If it's a Chevy it needed a cheap price, the Volt didn't have that.

And the other question is would the Prius been a success if it had a GM badge on it? I doubt it, the cheapness would've been a major issue that Toyota can get away with, but not most other makes.
 

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The simpler explanation for the Volt and ELR's failure is that GM
simply ignored marketing 101, "Who buys our product and why".

GM tried to cover a mistake (Volt) with an even bigger one (ELR).
Even Bob Lutz came out and said that GM was losing money on every Volt.
 

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The simpler explanation for the Volt and ELR's failure is that GM
simply ignored marketing 101, "Who buys our product and why".

GM tried to cover a mistake (Volt) with an even bigger one (ELR).
Even Bob Lutz came out and said that GM was losing money on every Volt.
Which is why it should've debuted as a Caddy at price to consume most of the development cost. Without the VOlt dragging it downmarket, they would've been able to sell them @ $75K because people like to buy what's expensive...it gives them a sense of exclusivity.
 
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