Wednesday, February 12, 2014

GM: "We're still not serious about hybrids"

  - by New Deal democrat

David Atkins over at Digby's blog is upset at a YouTube commercial for a new luxury car, in which the actor portraying the owner spouts a river of entitled 1%er bile..  Atkins has since corrected the error, but he  originally misidentified the ad twice as for a Chrysler, which is important from my point of view.

You see, the ad isn't for a Chrysler at all.  It's for the new Cadillac ELR, a luxury hybrid that Hybrid Cars says is 
a $76,000-plus compact coupe that offers nothing more than the Volt except ride, luxury, image and style.
That David didn't even know it was a Cadillac isn't surprising, since the ad copy (which he helpfully reproduces below the video) never once mentions the car's brand, or the fact that it is a bybrid.

And GM's ad agency, if they read David's post, would probably be doing high-5's. The entire point of the ad is that this guy is a total a*****e who thinks nothing of dropping $80,000 on a toy that he can't even be bothered to name, let alone describe.

In fact, he's their target buyer.  Cadillac only sold 24 of the ELR's in its first month.  According to Hybrid Cars,
Judging by the fictional ELR owner’s bold-as-brass attitude, and GM’s own prediction that it will not sell a lot of its new ELR, the automaker might be interpreted as saying it is just fine with the state of affairs.
And that's a shame, not just for the egregiously offensive political view that is promoted, but because of what the above says about GM's commitment to hybrids and other alternately fueled vehicles.

As Edmund's test drive concluded:
And at the end of the day it's not that quick, not that engaging to drive. Cadillac would like us to think of the ELR as a 6 Series or Tesla Model S competitor instead of a hyper-expensive Volt, but that's how it drives, for the most part.
The 2014 Cadillac ELR is stunningly beautiful from most angles. Photos truly do not do it justice. In the end, though, the 2014 Cadillac ELR displays far more show than go.
While Toyota was busy turning itself into your father's Oldsmobile, GM, especially via the Cadillac CTS and Buick LaCrosse, was turning out some state of the art styling, and with the aforesaid CTS, finally hit a home run with the kind of car they once described as a "little limousine."

But that aforesaid CTS has disappeared from the lineup, replaced with a model carrying the same badge but really a continuation of the old STS midsize.

GM could have priced the ELR at $50,000 and sold many 10,000's of the model to luxury car drivers who actually care about fuel economy, not to mention the environment, and shown that it was the carmaker to beat in the luxury hybrid niche.  Instead they have made crystal clear that the ELR is just an expensive bauble for collectors, which will undoubtedly disappear from the lineup after two or three years and sales of a few thousand. It is content to let Toyota/Lexus own the segment from the low end, and for Tesla to own it from the high end.

So the ad isn't just offensive politically.  It shows that economically GM still isn't ready to do what it needs to do not to be a dinosaur.