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More Auto Insight from Mac - Chevy Volt Goes Upscale as Cadillac ELR-Why?

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
201? Cadillac ELR (Nee Converj)

SEE: Cadillac ELR Reveal (Full-length video) 2013 Detroit Auto Show
SEE: Cadillac Converj Will Be ELR +Video

By Mac Gordon
Senior Editor
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

DETROIT - January 15, 2013: A surprise unveiling of an all-new 2013-model hybrid sedan, called the Cadillac ELR, “made the headlines” today at the North American International Auto Show.

A sibling of the Chevrolet Volt, the ELR carries the hybrid powerplant's model of a large battery plus a small gasoline engine that can charge the battery.

Sharing of powerplants and platforms became a pattern for all GM vehicle brands in the 1980s.

Each of the divisions fielded look-alike sedans inside and outside.

Cadillac owners, stuck with the name Cimarron for a plainjane compact car, resented the Chevy Citation's entry-level car as well as a Saturn model in the same mold.

Mark Adams, a top Cadillac executive, boasted on an ornate turntable in the Caddy exhibit at NAIAS that the ELR is a 'luxury edition' of the Volt. Both are GM hybrid cars, but the ELR is being upgraded from the get-go with suede, power-assisted glove boxes and cup holders, and stylish headlight and taillight modules.

No price has been set for the ELR, which like other hybrid cars will offer the federal $7,500 tax credit for energy-saving cars.

Cadillac chief Robert Ferguson said the ELR would be a limited-production car “feeding off the Volt's success,” although only 23,000 Volts were sold in the U.S. last year at an average price of $39,000.

A cheaper all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf, also has been a sales disappointment in the U.S., where only 9,800 were sold in 2012.

The basic Leaf subcompact now sells for $29,000 before government tax credits.

Leaf's sire, said the Leaf, first of motordom's pure-electric cars, had been a disappointment for all of us in Japan, the U.S. and the plant state of Tennessee.”

Watch the 'original' Cadillac ELR concept promo video from August 2011