Sales of the Cadillac ELR have thus far been disappointing, but perhaps an unofficial convertible conversion can make the luxury hybrid more appealing? Newport Convertible Engineering is well practiced in the air of removing the roof, and they’ve taken their talents to the tarted-up version of the Chevy Volt, at least digitally.
This photoshopped rendering of what a Cadillac ELR convertible would look like isn’t likely to convince anyone that they have to have one of the luxury hybrids in their driveway. It does, however, give a little more depth and dimension to the ELR, which has been lambasted by the automotive press as overpriced and underwhelming. For $75,000, there are a lot more compelling cars out there, and GM has fumbled the marketing campaign with a commercial that is all American machismo and tells us nothing about the car itself.
No wonder GM has barely sold 100 of them since December.
Newport Convertible Engineering out of California (with satellite locations in Spain and the UAE, of course) are specialists in the art of making convertibles out of fixed-roof vehicles, like the Dodge Challenger. While their roofless conversion isn’t going to make the ELR any cheaper, it would make the Cadillac ELR the only hybrid convertible on the market. That might be worth a tidy sum to the right person, because as far as green convertibles go, your only other options are the Tesla Roadster or the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. One is no longer built, and the other is, well, you know. A Smart car. Ew.
My point? Cadillac should consider offering an ELR convertible of its own. The added structural rigidity from the low-hanging battery pack would, in theory, limit any additional reinforcement needed for removing the roof. And while it’d certainly make the Cadillac even more expensive, it’d also offer green car buyers a much more compelling reason to try out the ELR, especially now that a performance version has been nixed. Because for $75,000, I’d rather have a slightly-used Chevy Volt and a new Corvette Stingray than the Cadillac ELR.
As a droptop though? I’d give the ELR a little more consideration. Would you?