GM to launch incentive program for Cadillac ELR test drives to boost sales

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 13, 2014

General Motors will provide a $5,000 incentive to Cadillac dealers who would offer test drives of its ELR plug-in hybrid. Cadillac spokesman David Caldwell said the offer, dubbed as Demonstrator Allowance Program, is designed as a tactical move to attract more test drives of the ELR, who was off to a slow start following its launch.

Caldwell said GM initiated the program due to the “newness of the ELR,” adding that that it is a “different brand.” GM is also offering discounts of up to $3,000 to customers, according to recent report by The Wall Street Journal. ELR inventories are steadily rising, with around 1,700 ELR coupe models in stock at the end of April, equivalent to a 725-day supply, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

Caldwell remarked that GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck site that builds the ELR has had heavier production since the start of 2014 it will in the summer or fall. Industry analysts, however, view things differently. Cadillac started selling the ELR in late December for a starting price of $75,995 -- including shipping – something which analysts and dealers didn’t welcome.

They noted that the price was twice that of the Chevrolet Volt, which shares its powertrain with the ELR. The ELR is the second unit to use GM’s Voltec technology, which entails having a 435lbs battery pack power two electric motors for a pure electric travel range of about 35 miles.

Once the battery loses its juice, a gasoline-powered, 1.4-liter four-cylinder generator will take over to power the drivetrain. Caldwell remarked that the Demonstrator Allowance Program is part of GM’s US-wide effort to get more dealers to support test drives, adding that the Cadillac had successfully implemented similar programs on the West Coast.

Dealers have until June 2 to designate ELRs as test vehicles. Each ELR in a dealer’s test fleet will earn it $5,000. Dealers having fewer than seven unused ELR models could designate one for the program while those having more than seven ELRs can designate two.

To qualify, each vehicle should accumulate a minimum of 750 logged test drive miles. Likewise, dealers can collect a further $2,000 for every ELR sold in July and $1,000 in August.

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