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Sales of the Chevy Volt in the US have been fairly stable for the last few months (between a low of 1,478 and a high of 1,777 since March), but in Europe, the Opel Ampera (sister-vehicle of the Volt) has been trending downwards. The sales decline is prompting discussion that the vehicle will be killed off in Europe, according to Automotive News Europe.

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Nissan can see an upside to the tough new emissions rules in London and turn it into a great promotional opportunity. The London Congestion Charge has been tightened up so that the vehicles that are eligible for exemption from the hefty daily charge of 10 British pounds (a little more than $15 US) that it costs to access the city's downtown streets was recently revised from an emissions threshold of 100 grams per kilometer down to 75g/km.

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General Motors Vice Chairman Steve Girsky has had it up to his eyeballs with Europe. It's one thing to attempt to bail out GM's Opel subsidiary in the beleaguered European auto market. It's another to market the Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid to such tepid response.

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We still can't figure out where those wacky British will fit the gurney, but we'll let that go as we report that the UK version of the Chevrolet Volt will be tested as an ambulance across the pond.

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Before the Chevrolet Volt launched in late 2010, General Motors representatives were boldly talking about some big production numbers, like 60,000 or 45,000 Volts a year. It's been a rocky road since then, and the reality was more subdued. The General sold 7,671 Volts in 2011 and 23,461 in 2012. When you add in the rebadged Opel Ampera, GM made and sold around 30,000 plug-in hybrids last year and the Volt was the best-selling plug-in car in the US last quarter. Now that GM has momentum on its si

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The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid was the top selling plug-in hybrid vehicle in the United Kingdom, with 470 sold since being introduced to the market in July 2012. That means the Prius Plug-in Hybrid outsold the Vauxhall Ampera plug-in hybrid, Toyota says. The sales lead happened even though the Ampera was launched in the UK market three months earlier than the PHEV Prius. The Ampera is GM's European version of the Chevrolet Volt.

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General Motors' Vauxhall division in the UK is looking to spur sales of the Chevrolet Volt sister vehicle by giving prospective buyers a chance to drive the extended-range plug-in for 30 days – then return it if they don't like it.

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Fleet owners in the Netherlands are finding out that you can overshoot the mark by 80 percent in fuel consumption with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Leasing company Arval (which is known in the US as major fleet management and leasing company PHH Arval) surveyed fleets leasing the Opel Ampera, Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and found that they're using, on average, 80 percent more fuel than the fuel economy estimates found in the manufacturers' specifications.

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Some say the Vauxhall Ampera extended-range plug-in can do amazing things, but we're pretty sure the sister vehicle to the Chevrolet Volt can't float on water. That's what the U.S. model is for.

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We're close, but we're not that close.

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Former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz went bicep-to-bicep with "America's ballsiest pundit," Stephen Colbert, last night – and came out ahead. Ostensibly, Lutz was on Colbert to talk about his new book, Car Guys Vs. Bean Counters, but as one might expect, the discussion veered into Mitt Romney vs. President Obama territory pretty quickly.

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Former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz went bicep-to-bicep with "America's ballsiest pundit," Stephen Colbert, last night – and came out ahead. Ostensibly, Lutz was on Colbert to talk about his new book, Car Guys Vs. Bean Counters, but as one might expect, the discussion veered into Mitt Romney vs. President Obama territory pretty quickly.

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It looks like the Volt. It sounds like the Volt. It's built on the same assembly line in Detroit as the Volt, but it's not a Volt. It's the Opel Ampera. Despite all the similarities, there are some differences that Europeans enjoy and we can't have...yet.

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Most gearheads know the Opel Ampera is the European near-twin of the Chevy Volt. There are obvious exterior differences, such as the Ampera's "boomerang" headlights and Opel badging, but inside, the only noticeable difference is another Opel badge on the steering wheel.

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Most gearheads know the Opel Ampera is the European near-twin of the Chevy Volt. There are obvious exterior differences, such as the Ampera's "boomerang" headlights and Opel badging, but inside, the only noticeable difference is another Opel badge on the steering wheel.

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The Chevrolet Volt's European sibling took home a checkered flag that might as well have been green instead of black and white.

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Think James Garner in "Grand Prix," only quieter.

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