Will the Cadillac ELR be Launched as a 2014 Model?

Do not be surprised if GM announces at what it deems the appropriate time that the Cadillac ELR will be launched as a 2014 model year vehicle.

Since yesterday conjecture has been mixed with what little is known about the Cadillac ELR based on an unintended GM OnStar revelation, while in related news, it has been said the ELR will be made available in China.

As the unintended revelation story about the pending Chevy Volt-based Cadillac goes, a blogger named Christopher Price checked the OnStar Web site to see whether his Pontiac G6 was due for service and whether it was compatible with OnStar’s RemoteLink technology for smartphones.

To his surprise, on the list of compatible cars was a 2014 Cadillac ELR, which thus far, is the only possible confirmation that the extended-range Cadillac would be produced for that year.

Previous slipped statements made last year by GM of Europe head Nick Reilly had been that no new Voltec models would be spun off before model year 2015. It appears now that statement could very well be incorrect.

The OnStar revelation also listed a “Chevrolet SS Performance” model which could be used as a platform for a NASCAR racer, and that has the GM enthusiasts’ rumor mill also swirling.

As for the plug-in Caddy, so far it’s still being said it will share the same powertrain the Volt has – a 1.4-liter gasoline generator plus electric motor and 16-kwh lithium-ion T-shaped battery.

The 2+2 coupe is to be considerably more upscale, more aesthetically pleasing, and positioned as a global halo vehicle for GM. But the company has been silent as to whether it will boast more power – as some think it should – or whether a new generation Volt would also see more power, range or both.

The ELR is based on the Converj Concept as this 2009 video shows.

Today in a phone interview, Cadillac spokesman Brian Corbett said only that OnStar is a separate division from Cadillac, he could confirm no ELR rumors, and “production is not imminent.” He said GM will make an announcement with more info on ELR specs, launch date, and more at a time closer to production.

What GM has revealed this week – and deliberately, not as a rumor – is the global halo Cadillac will indeed be sold in China, the brand’s second largest market. GM has said both the ELR and full-sized XTS gasoline-powered sedan were confirmed as due for launch, although date for the ELR introduction remains shrouded until GM decides to make further announcements.

Since debuting in China in 2005, Cadillac’s market acceptance there has steadily grown, its fortunes as a prestigious American status symbol rising also with that of what is now the world’s largest auto market.

Don Butler, Cadillac vice president of marketing, said by the end of the decade GM expects China to account for half of all luxury purchases in the world – in all categories, not just cars.

“China has quickly become the fastest-growing market for Cadillac. Last year, sales rose by 73 percent,” said GM CEO Dan Akerson. “Introducing the XTS is part of our strategy of adding one new model per year to our Cadillac lineup in China through 2016 to address the needs of luxury car buyers nationwide..

We have seen speculative reports that the ELR could be launched in China as early as 2013, but have no reason to believe this will be the case.

Also awaiting confirmation is whether Cadillac will build the ELR – or Volt, for that matter – in China. Thus far it has not yet said it would build the Volt in China, but it will build the XTS there, and is quite unequivocal about the allure of that market. Presently there are 68 Cadillac dealers in China, and by the end of the year, GM projects this to nearly double to 120.

“Our dealers in China are experiencing strong growth, with some of them quickly becoming among the largest and best we have in the world,” said Butler.

“The average age of a Cadillac buyer in China is 35, signifying the explosive growth of the luxury marketplace and consumer perceptions of Cadillac,” GM said.

“We’re very encouraged by the positive response Chinese luxury consumers have to Cadillac,” said Butler.

“Qualities like innovation and entrepreneurship are admired by many luxury consumers in China, which aligns well with Cadillac. The American spirit of Cadillac creates a distinct and compelling position in the luxury marketplace,” GM also said.

It sounds like many in the upwardly mobile, electric-vehicle friendly country would be eager to get their hands on the premier Cadillac, the ELR, and no doubt GM will make it so just as soon as it deems the appropriate time has come.

For the time being, America remains the biggest Cadillac market however, and eyes are on GM wondering when it will officially launch its pending halo car that itself will be a statement to naysayers and GM critics everywhere – the extended-range electric Cadillac ELR based on the Chevy Volt.