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By JENNA MINK, The Daily News, jmink@bgdailynews.com/783-3246

Monday, January 26, 2009 11:49 AM CST

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General Motors plans to end production of the Cadillac XLR, which is made at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.

The company anticipates production will cease this spring, impacting about 40 employees at the plant, said Sharon Basel, communications manager for General Motors.

The plant employs a small assembly crew dedicated to XLR production. Those employees were recently notified of the production cut. It has not yet been determined when those workers will be laid off, but it will likely be this spring, said Paul Graham, plant manager.

“Obviously, it’s difficult when a plant loses a product,” he said. “We want to continue to grow our volume as much as we can. So it’s been difficult.”

The plant is closed until Feb. 23 because of GM’s financial woes and about 154 workers, in both XLR and Corvette assembly, will be indefinitely laid off by March 1.

“No one’s really happy about (the XLR loss),” Graham said. “Everyone in the plant wants to do what we can to build great vehicles. No one’s feeling good about it.”

GM decided to stop XLR production as part of a strategy to help conserve money. The XLR was chosen to be eliminated after a year of slipping sales, Basel said.

“Models like the XLR often have limited product life cycles,” she said. “Difficult decisions have to be made to ensure that we can continue to develop, engineer and produce the most critical products in our portfolio.”

And during a recession, consumers are leery of purchasing high-priced vehicles, she said. Local prices for the XLR are listed from $87,000 to $106,000, according to Cadillac’s Web site.

“It’s very specialized in terms of who would buy a vehicle at that price point,” she said. “We’re seeing the market downturn impacting all segments and some more severely than others.”

Sales of the XLR decreased 28 percent last year compared to 2007. About 1,250 XLRs were sold in 2008, Basel said.

As consumers try to cutback spending and buy more practical vehicles, it is not surprising that XLR sales have plunged and GM has cut its production, said Bill Parsons, managing director for the Global Advanced-Leadership Center and chair of the Global Automotive Conference.

“The XLR is a very nice vehicle, but people are making choices to buy more serviceable vehicles that’s a greater utility to them,” he said. “I think it is something to be anticipated, and the XLR will rebound, but it’s going to take a more sound economy.”

Still, the plant focuses the bulk of its production efforts on the Corvette, a vehicle that Parsons said will survive the national automobile crisis.

“I think the Corvette will be fine,” he said. “The Corvette has a real broad appeal ... Corvette has an increasing appeal outside the United States, too, so that’s a positive.”

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This quote from an article on the same topic in Autonews:

GM will launch the new CTS coupe next year. "That will replace the XLR as Cadillac's luxury sports-car imagery," Krell said. "And you'll get two extra seats; great design and its price comes in at significantly less than the XLR."

I certainly was not *thinking* of the CTS Coupe as a replacement for the XLR. They seem fairly different cars to me, but I guess for marketing the switch makes sense(?)


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No, you're quite right... A CTS Coupe is clearly NOT an XLR....

A CTS Coupe isn't an Eldorado either....

I thought platform commonality with the C6 Corvette would assure the XLR's Survival... guess I was wrong....

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  • 5 months later...

See, ya just can't have only two doors on a Cadillac.


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There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved. - Ludwig von Mises

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The XLR is a halo car, and the article talks about it as if it were a main line cash cow car like the CTS. The XLR is in the same market segment as the Mercedes 500 SL, and the XLR-V is an answer to the $500,000 Mercedes 500 SLX. The V Series is in general in the market segments of the Mercedes AMG models and the BMW M-Series. These are halo cars that support the product image with they younger buyers and thus support market share over a long business horizon. None of these cars are cash cows.

The Corvette is and always was a halo car. It's one of the few American halo cars that has had commitment and support sufficient for long-term survival. There was pressure to abandon it in the late 1950's but Zora Arkus-Duntov was Chief Engineer for Chevrolet at the time and he brought out fuel injection, achieved 1 hp per cubic inch, built and raced the Corvette SS, got Roger Penske involved in preparing and racing Corvettes, and introduced independent rear suspension. The 1963 model exploded sales and ended the problem until 1975, when Zora retired. About that time the Corvette drivetrain and suspension went flat and the car became a two-seater Camaro until some people on the GM board wondered why we weren't' on the same planet as some European roadsters; this was more Roger Smith era thinking that flatlined Cadillac too. The ZR-1 fixed that.

In 1997, I went to a Chevrolet-Cadillac dealer to buy a Corvette. For over a week I tried to get the Chevy guys to show me an option sheet so I could make a bid and we could close on a sale. This process takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half with a decent salesman and the presence somewhere in the building of someone who could authorize a deal and a special order. But, that wasn't the way that they did business with the Corvettes. They stocked two "demos," which two of the younger salesmen drove as their own cars. They let Corvette enthusiasts sniff at them and sold them before they hit 2,000 miles and thus under the law could not be sold as new cars. Of course, neither of them had what I wanted (6-speed, performance engine and suspension, etc.). I kept sniffing at the ETC and the Cadillac dealer kept shoving more money across the table until they found my threshold. At the time, I did have a Cadillac salesman show me a Corvette but he wasn't authorized to deal. I told the Cadillac people that they should sell the Corvette because the culture on the Chevrolet side was just wrong for that car. I came home with my 1997 ETC and have been happy as a clam now for 12 years. When the XLR appeared, I thought that this car was the answer -- until I saw the price.

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  • 6 years later...

Reading through this old post, you hit the nail on the head. --The XLR was killed by the price on its head.

When new, (2004) they sold for $75k. Later, with the introduction of the Platinum (Leather dash pad, Alcatraz headliner, some badging, a chrome grill, and new exterior colors) the price went to $85k! And of course, the "V" model was $100k. You could buy a nice corvette for $75k and a really nice one for $100k!

I always thought the base XLR was a $50k car (max.). I waited the traditional four years for it to drop 50% of its retail value, and got a great deal. After watching XLR prices for all these years, I can't think of another modern Cadillac that has kept its resale value as high as the XLR. Low mileage 2004's are still selling in the low to mid-20's.

With less than 15,000 built, the XLR was definitely a niche car, but it paved the way for many of the features we enjoy on today's Cadillacs.



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