Designers and engineers are working on a version of the plug-in hybrid Opel Ampera, which was modeled after the Volt and scheduled for sale in Europe this year, with a Buick grille and front-end styling, said the people, who didn’t want to be named because the plans are private. The Buick version would begin sales in 2013 if it gets final approval, the people said.
In theory this is a brilliant plan. Since capacity constraints are limiting production right now, GM might as well get its profit while the early adopters are still in the market. On the “not so brilliant” side of the equation is the fact that the most basic Volt already costs upward of $40,000. At that price point, how will they possibly tempt buyers up into a rebadged Opel version of the same car? On the other hand, there’s no automaker in the world that manages to associate itself so consistently with flailing brand management as does GM. Case in point, the Saturn “Flextreme” concept of 2008 pictured above. Meanwhile, this comes as no news at all to our friends in China.