Cautionary tale: Cadillac's Volt-based ELR finally gets deep-sixed

2016 Cadillac ELR
Cadillac has finally pulled the plug on the Chevrolet Volt-based ELR after years of dismal sales.

Executives initially had high hopes for the ELR, which was hailed as the company’s first full-production plug-in model when it was introduced at the 2013 edition of the Detroit Auto Show.

“We’re only going to make so many. I actually think you’re going to see a scramble for that vehicle,” predicted Bob Ferguson, the former boss of Cadillac, in an August 2013 interview with Automotive News.

Ferguson’s foresight seemingly failed to take into account the coupe’s jaw-dropping base price of $79,995. To put that figure into perspective, the ELR was over twice as expensive as the original Volt that it shared most of its mechanical components with, and it was positioned in the same price bracket as the markedly more advanced Tesla Model S. It consequently failed to meet its sales target as soon as it hit the market.

Cadillac slashed the ELR’s base price to $65,996 for the 2016 model year as a last-ditch effort to lure buyers into showrooms. It also made an array of improvements, including tweaking the drivetrain to increase both torque and horsepower, and tuning the steering system and the suspension to make the coupe more dynamic. However, the updates were too little, too late.

Read more: Cadillac will take on BMW M and AMG with more V-Series models

It goes without saying that the ELR won’t be replaced, but its demise doesn’t mark the end of alternative powertrains for Cadillac. The company remains firmly committed to taking on the Germans, so it will shift its green car strategy to building plug-in hybrid models like the gasoline-electric variant of the CT6, its current flagship.

Déjà vu

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that Cadillac has tried to sell a dressed-up Chevrolet and failed in a spectacular manner. The firm tried to break into the booming compact luxury car segment in 1981 with the Cimarron, a sedan that was little more than a re-badged first-generation Chevrolet Cavalier.

Designers didn’t do enough to mask the Cimarron’s economy car roots, and it went down as one of the least successful models in the automaker’s illustrious history. John Howell, one of Cadillac’s former product directors, even kept a photo of the Cimarron on his office wall captioned “lest we forget.”

We’re willing to wager that phrase will make a comeback at Cadillac headquarters in the coming years, under a picture of the ELR.

Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Cars

Startup Rivian exits stealth mode with a bold promise to electrify off-roaders

Electric car startup Rivian has finally turned off stealth mode and provided details about what it's been working on since 2009. It will build battery-powered off-roaders instead of taking on Tesla and others in the luxury EV segment.
Cars

Meet the born-again Ford Bronco that will soothe your ’90s nostalgia

Ford has confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in a few short years. While it's still very much a work in progress, this is what we expect from the Blue Oval's born-again off-roader.
Cars

Our favorite fuel-efficient cars are as frugal as they are fun

You don't need to opt for a hybrid or an all-electric ride in order to achieve good fuel economy. These vehicles pack both performance and style, whether you're in the market for a luxury sedan or a game-changing pickup truck.
Cars

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.
Cars

Many adults believe fully self-driving cars are already traversing U.S. highways

The American Automobile Association tested cars with features such as lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control and found them lacking in real-world conditions. Forty percent of surveyed U.S. adults think self-driving cars exist now.
Cars

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.
Cars

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Waymo’s driverless cars, ‘Fallout 76’ tips, and Racella

In today's episode of DT Daily, we discuss Waymo's foray into the ridesharing sector, along with various tips for making the most of the recently launched Fallout 76. We also sit down with singer Racella to chat about her new EP, Waves.
Cars

Want to keep connected on the road? Here are 5 ways to add Bluetooth to your car

The best way to make an old ride feel young again is to bring it up speed with the 21st century. Here's how to properly add Bluetooth to your vehicle, via independent kits, vehicle adapters, or aftermarket head units.
Cars

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.
Cars

The hamster-friendly 2020 Kia Soul will rock out at the Los Angeles Auto Show

Kia has released a teaser image to preview the next Soul. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2020 Soul will keep the outgoing model's boxy proportions but it will wear a sharper design.
Cars

2020 Toyota Corolla sedan aims to offer sharper handling, better tech

The 2020 Toyota Corolla sedan gets the same upgrades as the recently-introduced Corolla hatchback, including a firmer foundation, new engine, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the long-lived Corolla nameplate relevant?