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GM exec: Cadillac ELR price was a 'mouthful'

Cadillac wanted to \"make a statement\" of how \"progressive\" the brand is, says marketing head Uwe Ellinghaus.

At least one General Motors executive has finally admitted the folly in giving the Cadillac ELR a $75,000 price tag.

Incoming brand boss Johan de Nysschen has cautioned that sales volume will not be an immediate high priority as the company works to transform itself, but the ELR has achieved particularly dismal numbers with just 1,310 units leaving showrooms last year. The second-worst-selling nameplate, the XTS, outsold the hybrid by a margin of nearly 20-to-one.

The ELR's MSRP was more than twice that of its stablemate, the Chevrolet Volt, which itself struggled to meet initial sales expectations. The price tag also put the Cadillac hybrid into direct competition with the Tesla Model S.

"One thing is fair to say: We've had a great learning exercise with this car," Cadillac marketing head Uwe Ellinghaus told Bloomberg. "The MSRP was, indeed, a mouthful. We just wanted to make this a statement for the brand of how progressive we are."

Sales have picked up a bit entering 2015, reaching 415 units through April, but only after reports suggested some dealers are offering steep discounts and offloading the ELR for around $50,000.

The company has hinted at retiring the ELR, but the model is getting a modest refresh as Cadillac takes another shot at the hybrid market. The 2016 model year brings a 25-percent boost in horsepower and torque, further differentiating it from its cheaper Chevy-badged counterpart, and a price cut of nearly $10,000.

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