Former Volt Critic, Now Cadillac President: There Will Be a Gen-2 ELR

If you heard any rumors of the Cadillac ELR’s inevitable demise, these have been greatly exaggerated said its new company President, Johan de Nysschen.

Given it was only launched January 2014, it’s too early for sneak previews, especially with a new Volt due for revelation in January, but in an Automobile magazine interview, de Nysschen said a similar car would follow.

“I am fascinated by the technology and completely convinced of the longer term potential,” said de Nysschen to Automobile. “I read [a news story] recently claiming there will be no ELR successor. I can tell you that’s complete nonsense. Whether the successor to ELR is exactly a compact two-door coupe is still under evaluation.”

To some, this outlook may seem surprising because of a widely broadcast de Nysschen comment criticizing the Volt in 2009 before it was launched.

This was when he was the head of Audi where he was credited with remarkable brand growth of a heavily diesel-reliant product assortment, and he spoke of the folly in America to Lawrence Ulrich of MSN’s Exhaust Notes.

“No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla … They’re for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are…so there are not enough idiots who will buy it,” said de Nysschen.

He later tried to qualify his points, including that he thought the U.S. government which was subsidizing the plug-in Chevy would need to prop it up further when it was discovered it was a flop.

SEE ALSO: Cadillac ELR Presents Mixed Messages

“Let me clearly state that in my opinion, electric vehicles will be part of the future transportation of society – but only if we go about it the right way,” said de Nysschen. “In fact, Audi is working on electric vehicles.”

Even so, the “car for idiots” phrase has stuck in the memory of Volt fans, but today at GM-Volt.com the call for forgiveness in hindsight is actually being made.

“You know what, he was right. Price was/is a HUGE barrier for Volt adoption,” said Taser54 today in a comment on GM-Volt with presently 15 upvotes from agreeing Volt fans. “Time to rethink your hatred people. It’s uninformed OR willfully ignorant.”

The Poolside ad had some saying Cadillac does need a breath of fresh air in its marketing department.

The Poolside ad had some saying Cadillac does need a breath of fresh air in its marketing department. This year GM sold half as many units as Tesla sells of the Model S each month, with discounts up to $25,000 from dealers plus free chargers, the plug-in Volt-based $76,000 Cadillac will see a reprise eventually.

In any event, de Nysschen who in the interim headed Infiniti and was in on its 2012 move to New York is moving Cadillac to New York also.

Cadillac is being turned into a “separate business unit” says GM, and the idea is to get the sales and marketing people in the heart of the upscale trendy SoHo district to help breath more inspiration into the Cadillac brand.

But as for the ELR, Edmunds has just reported an improved 2016 model year version will be shown at the 2014 LA Auto Show in November with undisclosed “engineering enhancements” to make the ELR more competitive.

That disclosure did not reveal the changes, but we suspect it will include the 17.1-kwh battery the 2015 Volt got as we were told in July.

Meanwhile, what a Gen-2 ELR will be, and what it will look like is something even Cadillac has not decided.

But as brands like Mercedes are announcing plug-in varieties for every one of its models, you can be sure Cadillac will try and do it better the second time.