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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.