When there's a former BMW executive heading Cadillac's efforts to boost sales of its only plug-in, it's a pretty safe guess that the marketing emphasis won't be on environmental friendliness and tree-hugging tendencies. The General Motors luxury brand has appointed ex-Bimmer executive Uwe Ellinghaus to be its marketing chief late last year, and the German-born Ellinghaus is now saying that he's targeting potential customers of Tesla Motors, in addition to BMW, for potential growth in sales of the Cadillac ELR extended-range plug-in.

Appointed to Cadillac's head of marketing last November, Ellinghaus recently told Advertising Age that GM needs to highlight the Cadillac's looks and performance. He complimented Tesla for putting more emphasis on those attributes in the Model S than on its lack of emissions or lack of refueling costs (but Tesla hasn't shied away from highlighting the EV's savings). Ellinghaus says that trying to gear advertising "for people who are tree-huggers and green-wash an entire brand" won't be successful. You don't say.

So far, the ELR hasn't made much of a dent in US car sales. Through May, Cadillac, which spent about $280 million on all of its US marketing last year, sold 293 units, whereas Tesla had been approaching the 11,000-unit figure for the Model S. With that in mind, Cadillac may be working on a sportier version of the ELR, as spy shots of a test vehicle from May revealed larger brakes and wheels. You can read our First Drive impressions of the ELR here.


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  • 52 Comments
      • 5 Months Ago
      Lol!
      purrpullberra
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ha ha ha ha ha. So the MARKETING boss is 'ready' to take on Tesla. That means the ads Caddy are going to produce are going to aimed at people who are interested in a Tesla or an i3. Do they really think they'll steal sales due exclusively to ads even though the Cadillac car is inferior in every way? How?!? I can't really hate on the Voltec technology, it is an admirable achievement. But the i3 is a purpose built City car EV and the Tesla ModelS is a large family sedan EV. Neither forces compromises on the buyer. No matter how you drive, with a Volt/ELR you are always lugging around 2 propulsion systems. If you are doing electric driving why weigh down the car with a lot of heavy gas and an engine? If you need the gas range, why lug around a lot of batteries and extra motors? Voltec tech only makes sense for 'green', single car households who need to occasionally drive long-distances. **Those people can't afford a Cadillac.** And if you can afford the Caddy then you can afford either of the more purpose built 'green' cars. And both the i3 and the ModelS make huge, 'green' statements to the world. No one knows about this car really. You want to have a car people are jealous about when you buy an expensive 'green' car. Virtually everybody you show an ELR to will say, "why didn't you get a Tesla?" Or, "how can the ELR be as interesting as the Tesla? Isn't it just a Volt with an expensive veneer" I'm sad for GM.
      • 5 Months Ago
      When your brand is damaged, you sell at a price that gets those who have written you off to take notice. You back the products with a bonkers warranty so the risk is mitigated if they come back. You guarantee resale value. Then, when you've got some butts in the seats and cars in garages, you baby the hell out of your new customers to build a reputation for stellar service. You learn what they don't like and fix it in future products. After winning the hearts of customers with solid-value products as good as the competition and coddling service, only then may you start bumping up prices to cash in on your work. This is not new stuff. See: Toyota in 1976, Lexus in 1989, Hyundai in 2002, and KIA in 2008. GM wants to skip all the hard stuff and jump straight to the inflated prices.
      vegasstyleguy
      • 5 Months Ago
      It's the price stupid. Simple as that. I love this car but it is not priced correctly. I went and checked it out and it is stunning , but, the price... And fer chrissakes, call it an Eldorado.
        purrpullberra
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @vegasstyleguy
        Awesome idea for the 'Eldorado" name. I haven't heard it before but it seems perfect.
      paulwesterberg
      • 5 Months Ago
      GM needs a better product, not better marketing.
      Eta Carinae
      • 5 Months Ago
      If this is his strategy he is targeting the wrong automaker........what cadillac going after is mercedes benz......if the S class and new C class are any indication on were they are going....there interior quality is amazing......his focus should be marketing this new flagship and itbetter right down to the stem caps on the tires...
      • 5 Months Ago
      It is clear that there is a lack of direction at cadillac , it is about 45000 to expensive . 4 seconds too slow Missing 1 seat ,lacking 14cubic feet of traditional rear cargo area and bull/boring to drive, why on EARTH WOULD ANYONE BUY IT? why not a 5series, A6, E Class , Tesla, ,Etc
      Alan Dean Foster
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Dear Uwe; News bulletin: this isn't the 1950's. People have access to the internet. People can compare products. People can research price, features, technology. Every kid who sat in my model S immediately knew how to operate the 17" central control panel...I didn't have to explain a thing. Because they've grown up with that tech. And they want it. They already know the difference between a hybrid and a BEV, and they know which is yesterday's tech and which is tomorrow's.
        Grendal
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @Alan Dean Foster
        Non-sequitur moment. If you are really the author. I just saw on his website that Mr. Foster bought a red Model S. If you are, then, as a lifelong science fiction reader, then thank you for your wonderful books. In some minor way I can be certain that my fascination with electric cars (also Elon's SpaceX) stems from my history with science and science fiction.
      Levine Levine
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Cadillac is a damaged brand. It can never regain its stature as the US premium brand regardless of fancy marketing. The GM bean counters had neglected Cadillac for decades. The CEO clowns even use interchangeable parts in the Cadillac: engine, and transmission from Chevy, Olds, Buick, and Pontiac. Wellborn is the fiasco sheet metal designer responsible for Cadillac's current prismatic design. The man has no talent, artistry, sophistication, or any notion as to what constitute a luxury car. As the product of Detroit ghetto he has made the Cadillac into America's 'Pimp Mobile.' The proof of his 'good' taste is the Pontiac Aztek, the perennial ugliest car and best known as the Wellborn icon.
        SublimeKnight
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Technically he grew up in Philadelphia and went to college in Washington, DC which is just outside the ghettos of Detroit.
        ELECTRO
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @Levine Levine
        damn is everything racial these days? I'm pretty sure being from a Detroit ghetto has nothing to do with anything.
      nitrostreet
      • 5 Months Ago
      Although I like the looks of the ELR, you can't pit a front wheel drive car against a rear wheel drive car, period, for the ELR price it should be AWD, and while they're putting the AWD on it they need to match or beat the acceleration of the other 2 cars....that would be a good start.
      sebringc5
      • 5 Months Ago
      Cadillac has the wrong demographic to introduce game changing tech like this. Half the typical age group that have a Cadillac (though is has come down in recent years) knows how to operate 20-30% of the technology the car currently has. TESLA it seems can do no wrong. They have the right long term philosophy and think outside the box when it comes to the total car production. And when they complete the gigafactory its going to be game over for all those GM execs in Warren MI that where in bed with the oil industry, and rightly so. All the best, Aaron Lephart www.smartcar451.com
      electric-car-insider
      • 5 Months Ago
      That sounds like a deeply conflicted message. The ELR is an interesting car, but it can't be called a performer. Diminishing the message on its one standout feature, that this luxury car can be fueled on 100% domestic, renewable, zero-carbon, zero-emission fuel, will relegate the ELR to a perennial footnote.
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