Share This Page

The market speaks: Cadillac dealers reject another electric folly

| Sunday, March 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Consumers don't want plug-in hybrid cars. Now, neither do some car dealers.

The plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt's internal-combustion engine acts as a generator to extend its electric motor's range. It has been such a sales bust — even with a $7,500 federal tax credit for buyers — that Chevy slashed the 2014 Volt's price by $5,000, to $34,999.

Yet corporate parent General Motors thinks it can sell a gussied-up Volt in luxury-car guise for more than twice that price — as the $75,995 2014 Cadillac ELR, which shares its powertrain with the Volt. Cadillac has yet to roll out the ELR in earnest, selling just a few dozen since December. But when it does, it faces insurrection in its own dealer ranks: Cadillac told automotive website Edmunds.com that about 410 of its 940 U.S. dealers have decided they don't want to sell the ELR.

Those dealers, many in rural areas, think they could sell just one or two ELRs per year. And because special charging stations, sales areas, employee training and tools would cost each ELR dealer up to $15,000, they see the ELR as not worth carrying.

That's common sense, as is car buyers' rejection of the Volt in favor of less expensive, comparably fuel-efficient models with conventional powertrains. What's nonsense is government's heavy hand to make sales winners out of plug-in hybrids — with a tax credit that has failed to juice sales of the less upscale Volt and is even less of an inducement for more affluent luxury-car shoppers to buy an ELR.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.