Cadillac ELR

When there's a former BMW executive heading Cadillac's efforts to boost sales of its only plug-in, it's a pretty safe guess that the marketing emphasis won't be on environmental friendliness and tree-hugging tendencies. The General Motors luxury brand has appointed ex-Bimmer executive Uwe Ellinghaus to be its marketing chief late last year, and the German-born Ellinghaus is now saying that he's targeting potential customers of Tesla Motors, in addition to BMW, for potential growth in sales of the Cadillac ELR extended-range plug-in.

Appointed to Cadillac's head of marketing last November, Ellinghaus recently told Advertising Age that GM needs to highlight the Cadillac's looks and performance. He complimented Tesla for putting more emphasis on those attributes in the Model S than on its lack of emissions or lack of refueling costs (but Tesla hasn't shied away from highlighting the EV's savings). Ellinghaus says that trying to gear advertising "for people who are tree-huggers and green-wash an entire brand" won't be successful. You don't say.

So far, the ELR hasn't made much of a dent in US car sales. Through May, Cadillac, which spent about $280 million on all of its US marketing last year, sold 293 units, whereas Tesla had been approaching the 11,000-unit figure for the Model S. With that in mind, Cadillac may be working on a sportier version of the ELR, as spy shots of a test vehicle from May revealed larger brakes and wheels. You can read our First Drive impressions of the ELR here.