$75,000 Cadillac ELR Coupe Price Was 'Overestimate', Chief Marketer Says

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The Cadillac Converj concept, a range-extended electric coupe design, debuted to favorable reviews in January 2009.

That was pretty much the last time much went right for the car, which went on sale in December 2013 as the 2014 Cadillac ELR.

Now Cadillac's head marketer has admitted that pricing the compact-sized coupe at $75,000 was ... well, let's say not smart.

DON'T MISS: 2016 Cadillac ELR: More Performance, More Range, Lower Price

In an interview with Bloomberg last week, Cadillac marketing chief Uwe Ellinghaus said the pricing had been a "great learning exercise."

That's marketing-speak for, "We goofed, big-time."

"The MSRP was, indeed, a mouthful," Ellinghaus told Bloomberg, claiming GM's luxury brand had "overestimated" the degree to which potential buyers would realize how many features came standard on the ELR.

2014 Cadillac ELR 2-door Coupe Dashboard

2014 Cadillac ELR 2-door Coupe Dashboard

He said that other luxury vehicles--presumably the Tesla Model S--were "naked at that price," requiring thousands of dollars of options to reach a comparable equipment level.

When it was revealed in October 2013, the price of $75,995 including delivery stunned electric-car advocates.

While the ELR indeed had many standard features, including leather upholstery and a 10-speaker Bose stereo system, it was both the smallest car that Cadillac sold and the least powerful.

ALSO SEE: 2014 Cadillac ELR: $75K Electric Coupe Gets Five-Figure Discounts, Already (Jul 2014)

While GM has never confirmed it, industry sources told Green Car Reports that the price was a direct mandate from then-CEO Dan Akerson, who wanted the ELR to cover the marginal costs of its expensive, low-volume Voltec range-extended electric powertrain.

Fewer than 2,000 ELRs have been sold since the car went on sale more than a year ago, and dealers are now offering remaining 2014 models at prices below $50,000.

The 2016 Cadillac ELR--there was no 2015 model year--received more power, additional standard equipment, and a $10,000 price cut.

Frame from 2014 Cadillac ELR video on YouTube, with actor Neil McDonough

Frame from 2014 Cadillac ELR video on YouTube, with actor Neil McDonough

Price isn't the only controversy that has dogged the ELR.

A TV ad known as "Poolside," released in February 2014, featured actor Neal McDonough's portrayal of a hard-charging, self-assured, modern-home-owning middle-aged white man.

The character's perceived arrogance, and his outright contempt for people who take vacations--especially Europeans--was widely attacked by some as the worst sort of U.S. chest-thumping.

MORE: 2014 Cadillac ELR Ad Video: What Does It Say About Who Buys Electric Cars? (Feb 2014)

(It was also lampooned by at least one popular YouTube video.)

Ad-industry sources at the time quoted Ellinghaus as saying that the ad, which he had inherited upon arriving in the job, originally featured a different new Cadillac vehicle, for which was swapped out for the ELR at the last minute.

That would almost surely have been the large, bling-laden 2014 Cadillac Escalade seven-passenger full-size sport-utility vehicle, though Ellinghaus never confirmed that.

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