The Opel Ampera may be very similar to the Chevy Volt under the skin, but a lot of people in the U.S. would argue that the Euro-plug-in's skin is far more attractive. Apparently a lot of Europeans agree.

First year production for the Ampera had been targeted for 8,000 units, but high demand has caused that number to be moved up. Already, GM is reporting more than 6,000 paid reservations (which, granted, is only 150 Euros, which is $212 U.S. at today's exchange rates). The number of 2012 Amperas is now expected to be between 10,000 and 15,000. Apparently, GM has learned from its difficulties in getting up to speed with production of the Volt, as the company says it expects to be able to meet this increased target without a problem.

The Ampera is considered a more up-scale model than the usual Opel and its introduction is being seen as an effort to not just sell a car, but to move the brand. In addition to the Ampera, Opel will also be introducing a new small car, the Opel Junior, which is designed to compete with the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      That was always what I figured. However, the price of petrol in the EU is not twice the price of petrol in the USA. The price of the petrol is the same, the tax on the petrol is different. From a consumer's point of view, there is no difference. But from a macroeconomic perspective, there is a huge difference. Mass adoption of BEVs will force EU nations to collect taxes in some other manner, but they certainly will not be able to simply eat the deficit.
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Please... displace some petrol. It's never too late. We still live in the neanderthal age where people are constricted to put refined mud into most of the cars and trucks.
      Tina
      • 3 Years Ago
      GM is essentially selling all the Volts they are making available for sale in the US, no reason they can't sell more Ampera's too. Although the first year Volt production was intentionally restricted to insure the high quality (borne out but buyer satisfaction surveys), the 2012's with an increased production rate seem to be selling just as well. Critic's like to point to the low sales number (reflecting low production numbers) and pronounce it a failure even though all available for sale (showroom demo's can't be sold for 6 months) being sold. Or they point to cars.com which shows "not for sale" demo cars, sold cars, and cars in transit as "available for sale" even though they aren't. I guess it's some sort of odd "we want electric cars to fail" based on oil politics that drives many of these nearsighted folks.
      Julius
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wonderful how soon it will be before US Volt owners start rebadging their cars as Amperas...
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Julius
        That doesn't make the least bit of sense. A Volt is a Volt. You can't 'rebadge' a car that has been manufactured already.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Or change the entire front and rear panels.
          Julius
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Ah, odd to get downranked for something that happens all the time. Dozens of people have swapped 240SX parts for JDM Silvias, oer even done LHD Civic conversions. I've personally done it with a US GTO with a swap for Australian Monaro pieces (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jchen003/sets/72157594253774507/) Point was that a car that gets no love as the Volt might get some if it looked as stylish as the Ampera.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      I seriously doubt that 10-15,000 units per year is profitable for GM. So, I'll assume this is a first year production ramp-up. GM usually axes models with dismal sales numbers like that. (of course it would be fairly reasonable to consider combined Volt and Ampera numbers as one model)
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        It is a completely brand new technology that is in its infancy. Toyota sold 3000 Prius in the first year . . . and they now sell huge numbers of them & dominate the hybrid sector. Companies need to have a product development pipeline for future products. Voltec is an important part of GM's future. People don't realize that now . . . but they also probably laughed at that first year of 3000 Prius cars.
        Danaon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        Don't think of the Volt like you would the Cruze, or the Tahoe. It's more similar to the Corvette. They used to sell about 30-40k Corvettes a year, and it's down to about half of that now due to the economy. But they use the Corvette as a halo car, and to develop new technology that is disseminated to the less costly products in the future. Plus, the Volt is just one car with an entirely new drivetrain system that can be implemented into other vehicles. It's basically half Corvette/half modular powertrain system from a development standpoint. Just like they spend a lot of money to develop their LS V8 architecture because they will make many different versions of it for different uses.
        Dave
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        OTOH- This car will probably bring folks into GM showrooms that never would have been there otherwise.
      Chris M
      • 3 Years Ago
      Actually, Vauxhall in England will be producing the Ampera for the RHD Euro market, and Holden will be producing the RHD version for Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Not sure it's really practical for GM to export cars from Australia to the US, though they have done that on occasion.
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks a little like an Aerodynamic BMW.
      electronx16
      • 3 Years Ago
      Makes sense. The Volt doesn't seem to be really taking off in the US so it's time for plan B. Just rebadge them and send them over to Europe where gasoline prices much better reflect the true cost of oil dependency and there are much more single car households for whom a car like the Leaf would be impractical so generally the Volt/Ampera concept would make a lot more sense than in the US. I think 2012 will see further shift from Volt production to Ampera production for GM to meet it's 60K sales target.
        David Peilow
        • 3 Years Ago
        @electronx16
        Selling the Ampera and Volt in Europe was always plan A. With the price of petrol over here running at twice the level of the US are you surprised there is pent up demand?
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @electronx16
        @Electronx16 You can't have it both ways! Either the Volt is not selling and there are lot of unsold Volts on the lots, or dealers are ripping people off by overcharging! One or the other, not both when it suits you! In fact GM is selling all the Volts it can produce. The Ampera is designed for world sales and is hopefully scheduled to have an Australian up market spec version, which will be exported to the US as a Buick. Australia's GM Holden, is rumoured to be designated as the RHD manufacturer for Asia Pacific and the Middle East . I hope this development comes is confirmed as I have been a fan of the Volt since it's inception!
        DaveMart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @electronx16
        There are also more drivers who do not need to travel long distances in a car and so an electric car as the sole vehicle works fine. The TGV in France for instance provides great long distance travel. This may roughly balance out for the fewer two car households in the EU.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @electronx16
        "...there are much more single car households for whom a car like the Leaf would be impractical..." Please explain why you think there are more households in Europe than the US for which the Leaf would be impractical.
        Naturenut99
        • 3 Years Ago
        @electronx16
        This is no plan B. This is no rebadging. They have from the very beginning designed the Ampera along with the Volt. The only difference is that it is selling better than expected in EU. So they have upped the amount they will sell there. Really the entire article could be completey said (not just summed up) by "Ampera selling better than expected in EU, building more Ampera's for the EU." There is no need for further elaboration. It's really simple.
      electronx16
      • 3 Years Ago
      Spec said it right. Bit of a no brainer really....
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think his point is that in the USA, you have more 2 (or 3) car households so the limited range of the Leaf can be handled by using a gas or hybrid vehicle in same the household.
      Larz Larzen
      • 3 Years Ago
      If the Volt looked like the Ampera, instead of Grandma's car, it might get more orders, too.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Years Ago
      Now that we have seen series hybrids like the Audi GM's choice of a parallel hybrid is looking better and better. Full series hybrids seem tough to do, and it seems better to have some drive for the wheels for the ICE.
        goodoldgorr
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        The volt is 100% serial hybrid. Hybrid sources of electricity, the battery and the gasoline electric generator and serial mean that the ice is only turning the generator directly and do not turn directly the wheels at any time whatsoever.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @goodoldgorr
          "In fact the gasoline engine can power the wheels, but only in addition to the electric motor powering the wheels " That also exactly describes the Toyota and Ford hybrid systems, which combine both series and parallel hybrid aspects into one.
          DaveMart
          • 3 Years Ago
          @goodoldgorr
          Well done. That is coherent, even if quite wrong. 'After several initial reports about the car’s electric drive/hybrid system GM has issued a press release to clarify exactly how it works, stating that specifics were never given in the past as the automaker awaited patent approvals. After some initial tests by and interviews with a few of the auto industry’s buff books, it was recently revealed that contrary to all past claims by GM, the Voltec system is not a pure extended-range electric vehicle (ER-EV), but that under certain circumstances the 1.4-liter gasoline engine can actually power the wheels. In that sense, the Volt seems like little more than a plug-in Prius (parallel hybrid) with a larger and more powerful battery and electric motor. That, however, is not entirely true either, as GM says the gasoline engine still cannot power the electric wheels on its own. In fact the gasoline engine can power the wheels, but only in addition to the electric motor powering the wheels and only under certain circumstances. One example GM gives is during certain types of extended-range driving (once the initial plug-in power has been depleted) the gasoline engine feeds a small amount of power to the wheels. “The resulting power flow provides a 10 to 15 percent improvement in highway fuel economy.” What this all means is that the Volt first operates as an electric vehicle, and then it switches to be both a series hybrid (extended range electric vehicle) and a parallel hybrid (like the Prius) depending on the type of driving.' http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2010/10/gm-admits-chevy-volts-gasoline-engine-can-power-the-wheels-so-is-it-still-special.html
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