Cadillac: Electric Vehicles and Elmiraj Are Gaining Momentum

Cadillac Elmiraj

The Cadillac Elmiraj at Pebble Beach

Though General Motors (NYSE:GM) has not won over the public yet with its electric vehicles, the automaker made it clear it is taking the concept seriously with the Cadillac ELR, an expensive offering from its luxury brand. In fact, Cadillac’s global sales chief told more electric vehicles are in the company’s plans while the stunning Elmiraj concept car could get the real world treatment in the coming years.

It’s fair to say a bit of shock reverberated through the auto industry when the $75,000 price tag of the Cadillac ELR was announced, but General Motors is aiming at the niche market now dominated by Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA). The ELR, in many ways, seems like a bridge vehicle until a better electric powertrain is developed. Bob Ferguson, Cadillac’s head of global sales, told the company has more battery-based vehicles on the future design board.

Ferguson described the Cadillac stance as “bullish” on electric vehicle technology, the news agency reports, and mentioned the spectacular reception of the Elmiraj concept car had company officials inclined to develop a business plan to bring the showcase coupe to production. The Elmiraj debuted at the Concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach in August, but there has been no formal announcement of Cadillac’s plans for the elegant, powerful coupe that’s over 17 feet in length.

Ferguson told the Elmiraj wasn’t made as a fantasy vehicle — that “it was made to be operationalized” — but it would require a formal business plan and presentation to General Motors executives to justify a production model in the coming years. It would represent a step further into the ultra-luxury space where the Mercedes (DDAIF.PK) S Class resides, but Cadillac has shown it has designs on the higher range where Tesla and top German brands do business.

The market will determine whether General Motors invested wisely in the Cadillac ELR once it hits dealerships in January. Though there is a small target market for a luxury vehicle that gets 35 to 40 miles in electric-only mode, Cadillac executives expect new customers to try out the luxury brand now that there is an electric option on the table.

The Cadillac ELR might not be a convincing answer for the Tesla Model S, but GM has more room to experiment with products like its new electric vehicle and the high-end Elmiraj. After an impressive third-quarter earnings report, it’s difficult to fault the automaker’s all-around strategy.

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