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Demand for the Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in hybrid vehicle in the U.S. has been up and down over the car's first 16-odd months, but executives at General Motors' Opel division in Europe are saying that the Ampera, the Volt's European twin, is getting some good attention.

The Ampera has received more than 7,000 orders, leading Opel executives to believe that the Ampera will hit its 2012 sales target of 10,000 units, website Plug In Cars is reporting, citing Enno Fuchs, Opel's e-mobility launch director.

Opel started shipping Amperas to customers last month, saying that most of those owners previously owning high-end cars from automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. General Motors is hoping the Ampera will be better received in Europe than the Volt has been here in the States, where it has become a political lightning rod. Earlier this month, GM said it would shut down Volt production for five weeks – starting this week – in order to thin-out dealer inventory of the car. And last year, GM missed its sales goal of 10,000 units, selling just 7,671 units. GM makes both the Volt and the Ampera at the same plant in Hamtramck, MI.

Still, the Volt showed signs of more life last month when the model moved 1,023 units, up from 603 vehicles in January. The Volt and Ampera were also recently named the 2012 European Car of the Year. Last October, Opel bumped the Ampera's 2012 sales target to at least 10,000 from 8,000 after Opel had received more than 6,000 paid reservations.


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  • 51 Comments
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, they don't have the conservative right over there demonizing the thing. That alone will make some difference.
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        There are conservative right wingers in Europe. What they don't have though, is far-right fascists who spit on their own industry.
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Nick
          Amen. These attacks on GM are an attack on the American Economy.
        marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        @Rotation It's the Conservative Governments in Europe that have introduced incentives to support EV's ! I think you are confusing the notion of conservative and even right, with the the sort of fringe group of right-wing crazies that seem to be unique to the US.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          Truuuuuuuust me, they're not unique to the US. At ALL. Google 'PERKASA Malaysia' if you want to know about our local equivalents.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          Truuuuuuuust me, they're not unique to the US. At ALL. Google 'PERKASA Malaysia' if you want to know about our local equivalents.
      sdn
      • 2 Years Ago
      Styling of the back of the Volt has to change - that whole black strip thing looks so cheap and dated. Got to make it sexy Chevy!
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sdn
        It is to make the small windows look bigger. I agree that it doesn't do much for the car, hopefully they will change that in v2.0.
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ford focus with 1-liter EcoBoost engine Ford Focus ECOnetic Diesel Ford's small C-Max Ford Focus ST Wagon Ford S-Max Chrysler Grand Voyager with 2.8L diesel Chevy Cruze wagon Chevrolet Malibu with diesel engine ...for Europe Only.
      Randy C
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not surprising news. If gas is $4.50 in the US it's $9.00 in Europe. It's a little easier to justify the inflated price tag.
      marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Count me in ! I've been a fan of the Volt since it's inception! When the Vauxhall Ampera (UK RHD version) was anounced, I persuaded my collegues to order 3 as corporate fleet cars. Since then we have increased that order to 7, as the UK Conservative government has introduced substaintial tax benefits. I have also ordered 2 Ampera's for family use. I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Volt in Australia, and I hope the Anti-EV Australian government will provide conditions to persuade GM to build a RHD Volt and the up market export RHD Buick Ampera in Australia.
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        Very cool, thanks for supporting the electrification of automobiles ! +1
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Nick
          @Nick Thank you. These GM EREV's are just the the latest in over 500 EV vehicles we have created or bought. (over 17 years)! So we're pretty sold on the technology. The GM Volt/Ampera should be a perfect fleet vehicle for middle management. In the US GM Volt sales have suffered from a determined campaign against the Volt from right wing crazies, EV purists, GM haters, the " it's too expensive, I'll wait 'til it's cheaper next month" hypocrites, troglodytes etc.. GM should introduce the up market Buick (based on the Ampera body shell) and a Cadillac version.
      budfox
      • 2 Years Ago
      GM/Opel running a pretty cool ad campaign in Germany. Though, don't know what they air elsewhere. Its about beeing a pioneer and forerunner. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGq9_Kv-GdA No wonder GM drag costumers from BMW and Merc since they have nothing even close to the Ampera.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @budfox
        "No wonder GM drag costumers from BMW and Merc since they have nothing even close to the Ampera." GM is stealing customers from BMW and Mercedes in the free market. That should warm the heart of a hardcore USA patriot. But for some reason, nearly half of the USA has decided to hate the Volt/Ampera for some obscure political reason. I find that so sad.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Being build on at the same plant and only changing the front bumper, the rear logo and the color of the center console, the Ampera still suffers from the low building quality (for european standards), as I could witness at Geneva last week. After only 1 week at the show the interior carpet was disintrigrating and the stick on cover between the two back seats pretty much destroyed their upholstery. With features like this and the confusing onboard electronics, which has moreto do with the interface and choice of buttons, it will be hard to sell this car over a longer time period. I really love the concept and the pricing model, but in a rubbishly made car it won't fly very far.
      Turbo Froggy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think this 5 week work stoppage with the claimed "lack of sales" is a complete BS. I bet the real reason they have stopped production is that they cannot get enough cells quick enough from LG Chem. Why would they stop production with 6000+ reservations for the Ampera already on the books? That makes no sense, that is 6000 cars they could sell today if they had them produced, parts shortage is the only real answer here.
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Turbo Froggy
        Or, maybe GM is not making enough per vehicle and has decided that they would rather sell cruze ecos...
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Turbo Froggy
        My guess is,they are starting to build a reason for dropping the car within a few years, if sales are not rising soon.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Turbo Froggy
        Are they building the Ampera in Hamtramck? Or is it built elsewhere? I thought the Hamtramck was only for the Volt not the Ampera. And is GE actually taking deliveries on the supposed 12,000 Volts they promised to buy? Or was that mostly just bluster to try to get other people buy EVs & chargers and use more electricity?
          Ziv
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          The Amperas not only come off the same line, it sounds like their VIN's are mixed in with the Volts. So the 20,000 Volts that were built up to the 19th of this month have a bunch of Amperas mixed in, and noone is sure how many of each car have been built. Around 25% of the Volts sold so far have been to Fleet sales, judging by the last couple months of statements by GM, but they don't break out the numbers of each fleet buyer.
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Turbo Froggy
        Will all 7000 pre-orders translate into real sales, that is the question ! I doubt battery supply is the issue. GM initially aimed for 50,000+ Volts a year, so I'm pretty sure the battery maker had allocated ressources for just as many batteries.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Turbo Froggy
        Good point.
      Eric Edelen
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would seem that our American ingenuity is still alive while our American spirit has passed away. I am completely amazed at how opinionated many uninformed people are, and even more amazed at how many others allow themselves to be misinformed by them. This has resulted in mass ignorance as it pertains to the Volt. Why driving my Volt I have been asked some good questions by those who want to know, but most of the time I get asked really crazy stuff like "aren't you afraid it's gonna catch fire?", or sometimes I'll hear a snippety remark like, "How do you like driving Obama's 40 mile golf cart?". I'm seriously concerned about common Americans and their ability to reason. Love my Volt. Love Love Love it!!!
        krona2k
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eric Edelen
        As for being a golf cart, I think they'd change their minds once they'd experienced a foot-to-the-floor 0-60 run?!
        Richard Lam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eric Edelen
        Whenever people ask me about the Volt fires, I tell them I've read the engineering reports and they say the fires are complete non-issue. I explain to them that it is a result that they is entirely unrealistic in the real world as the Volt would require a 25 MPH sharp pole crash and then wait hours to days for the coolant to dry up and become conductive. http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2012/NHTSA+Statement+on+Conclusion+of+Chevy+Volt+Investigation As an engineer, I find the issues to be extremely unlikely to occur in the real world. Over 2000 EV miles on my Volt and < 1 gallon of gas used =).
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eric Edelen
        When you hear questions like that, you don't even need to ask where they get their info. Those questions come straight from Faux News.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Eric Edelen
        Keep spreading the good word. Your success with the car is the best advertising of all. And by the way, on any given day in the US, there are an average 33 vehicle fires PER HOUR resulting in at least 1 death. Chevy Volt's that have caught on fire on the roads in the US since they've come out? Zero. Regular cars that have caught on fire just today in the US? 792!! Pretty clear cut. Facts derived from: http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/pdf/research/vehiclefires08.pdf
      harlanx6
      • 2 Years Ago
      These cars are a better fit for Europe than the US, because of the higher cost of fuel, the closeness of population center destinations and mindset of conservation because of limited domestic resources.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Those are all great reasons for the Volt to popular in the USA as well.
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Make it a Cadillac already !
      christianii
      • 2 Years Ago
      that looks waaaayy better than the Volt!! why didn't GM just make the volt look like that!!?? That's great for GM that the car is doing well overseas, and great for the US that both cars are built in the US. I'd love to get my hands on one. I think it's functionally way better than the leaf...
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @christianii
        This is the first non-white Ampera I've seen pictured, and I like it even more! I would like to see this car sold in the US.
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @christianii
        I know right? And the logo on the front of the car is a freaking lightning bolt!
        Richard Lam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @christianii
        The Ampera style was designed in Europe. http://youtu.be/2nhY-YZ3T50
        DarylMc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @christianii
        I agree the Ampera styling is a bit better but I think it could do wothout the teardrops on the headlights. A black one would fix that I suppose.
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