Chevy or Opel? What to do with Volt outside North America

When GM launched Chevy Volt concept last year, officials explained why they badged the car as a Chevrolet. The Volt was intended to be a mass market car that would be affordably priced and widely available. Chevrolet is a global brand for GM and the company wanted to make it clear that the E-Flex technology would be available everywhere. Unfortunately, while the long-term plan is for E-Flex to be widely available and affordable, at launch it will be anything but. With Chevrolet being a budget priced brand in the rest of the world, selling the initial Volts as Chevys could make marketing problematic in the places like Europe.

GM wants to make the Opel brand a technology leader in Europe, but E-Flex is among the most technologically advanced systems GM has. Offering it in a Chevrolet first runs counter to the plan. GM faces a similar dilemma with the Corvette, which doesn't really fit in with the rest of the Chevy lineup. The Corvette is essentially sold as a stand-alone brand in the rest of the world without referencing Chevrolet. Mike Arcamone, vice president of GM Powertrain Europe, told Automotive News that Opel and Chevrolet would both offer E-Flex vehicles within months of launch, the Opel would likely launch first over there.

Although the Opel Flextreme concept that was shown at Frankfurt last September used a diesel engine for the range-extender, the early production Opels will only use the gas/E85 flex-fuel engine from the Volt. While the Euro-Volt will use the same styling as the American car, the Opel will apparently have a different body style, perhaps more like the Flextreme.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

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