By on July 4, 2011

End of the year, Europeans can delight in the Made in America Opel Ampera, which is a rebadged and slightly reskinned (see picture) Volt. But don’t rush to your friendly Opel dealer to put in your pre-order: The Ampera is already sold out.

According to Automobilwoche [sub], Opel already has more than 5,000 pre-orders for the imported from Detroit Hamtramck plug-in-hybrid. There won’t be more than 5,000 Amperas coming to the Old Country this year. Better luck next year!

Money apparently is no object. The Ampera lists at €42,900 ($ 62,200 – usual disclaimers apply). Subsidies? What subsidies?  Most European governments don’t even subsidize pure EVs. Hybrids?  “Warum?”

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27 Comments on “Was, Ihr Volt Ampera? Vergessen Es!...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    So… Bertel… What’s the attraction between this car and it’s buyers in Europe? They love the environment that much? They think that it’s worth the money?

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Europeans can be quite conservative, and I guess this is going to be another ‘German’ alternative to the Prius more or less. Only for those environmentalsts who still can’t stand japanese cars. (unless they realize it’s an american car, and buy another Golf Diesel instead…)

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Front clip is a lot more stylish than the Volt IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      Front clip made it look like a raccoon.

      I wonder what’s this car’s attraction in Europe too. If it’s economy you’re after, a diesel (many excellent example of which can be bought in Europe) is better. I suppose it’s better for purely environmental reason, i.e. air pollution, especially in countries like France which produce most of its electricity from nuclear.

  • avatar
    M 1

    Boomerang Fight!

    My god that is ugly.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Proof positive that styling is completely subjective lol.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    I really like the faescia on the Opel variant much more than the Volt’s.

    Spoke to my local Opel/Chevrolet dealers, and they don’t want to bother to offer the Ampera … old GM is alive and well, trying to push dealers to make all kinds of unrealistic investments to have the honor of selling the Ampera, but for such a boutique car, it makes absolutely no business sense.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    This looks wacky to me; the Volt is much better-looking.

    As for the $62k price, I need some context – how much for a Eurospec (non-decontented) Jetta or Passat, for instance?

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      The Ampere will only be sold in the UK and the Netherlands, they obviously will be offered in other countries but those are its two main markets. So i would suggest you look it up. I believe the volkswagen.co.uk and vauxhall.co.uk sites are even in English.

      ps. For the Dutch market you need to know the lease price as those types of cars are mostly leased and depending on CO2 consumption the driver has to add a percentage of the new value of car to his taxable income. For electric cars that percentage is 0% and for a normal car it is 25%.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Cheapest Passat is €27990 and Ampere is €44500 in the Netherlands

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        And the Ampere is, I believe, one class smaller than the Passat — interior space is similar to Golf/Jetta, Astra or Focus given that it’s using the Cruze platform.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        OK, so the $62k Ampera price is as kooky as the $41k Volt price in the US, or maybe worse.

        Somebody, sometime, has to tell the Emperor he has no clothes. If Opel has the proverbial one foot in the coffin, the Ampera is the banana peel under the other foot.

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        @gslippy:

        Ouch! With one foot in the coffin and the other slipping on a banana peel, guess which part you’re going to whack on the upper edge of the coffin’s side?

        Ouch ouch ouch!

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        The Ampere doesn’t compete with a Passat but with a BMW. Cheapest BMW 3 is €33100 but than you don’t have the same bells and whistles as in a Ampere.

        But in the Dutch situation you have to see it from a tax perspective. With your job you get a car allowance which means you can choose a car up to a certain price from a preselected list. Opel is a big brand in the Netherlands so the chance that Opel is on that list isn’t low. You have a good job so the allowance is high (€45000) so you have the choice between a BMW (price €44000 so your taxable income will be €11000 higher) or a Ampere which wont increase your taxable income

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        @charly, from a tax perspective I can see it as an alternative. But otherwise … is Opel really a BMW competitor in the Netherlands? Will the Ampera really be a premium car in the Audi/BMW/Mercedes class?

      • 0 avatar
        charly

        Opel is not in the same league as BMW but the Ampere is. Just like Lexus and Ferrari are no competitors but the LFA is. The Ampere competes with BMW 3 series on price as the 5 is a few thousand higher for the base model so answering your question if it competes than my answer would be definitely be yes. It is premium because it is electric and GM didn’t cheapen the interior to much

  • avatar
    charly

    Most European governments don’t even subsidize pure EVs but the Dutch do and they are expected to buy most of them. That was maybe the reason why the launch of the Ampere was in Holland and not in one of the usual spots.

  • avatar
    red60r

    Overall look: Prius mated with a Honda Civic Hybrid. From many angles, distinguishing the brand among Volt/Prius/Civic requires close scrutiny of the logo.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    That face looks SO much better than the Volt’s. If I was going to pay the tag on it, I would want it to not look like an appliance.

    Europe is all about mad efficient small cars, and they are used to paying American luxury sedan prices for them. Still, I would have figured the lack of subsidies would put a damper on it. Lot of puzzlement from the peanut gallery out there on why buying this car makes no sense. Some people just want an electric car (me, though I can’t justify buying it to drive 5miles a day), or the latest tech marvel. Yes, I consider it a marvel no matter how Prius-dated some seem to wish it to be. Then the general public seems to think paying an obscene price for a gussied-up suburban makes perfect sense. Hypocrites….

  • avatar
    StevenJJ

    People here want low running costs – at all costs!

    Spend thousands on a new car to save a few hundred quid on annual road tax – I’m in! To be fair the plug-in element of this car is new and exciting and probably for that reason alone they’ll sell them all. Then make more. Then sell all those… easily. The technical possibility nee dream of never having to take this car to a petrol station will guarantee its early sales. Here, anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      I believe that it is more than a few hundred quid in congestion charge if you drive every workday into London

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        £9 per day, paid in advance, or about £2000 per year.

        But there is a lot cheaper alternative for avoiding the charge: simply buy a car that emits less than 99 g of CO2 per 100 km. Qualifying models includetwo hybrids (both Toyotas), seven gasoline/petrol models (Fiat 500, Hyundai i10, three Smarts, two Toyotas) and a total of 20 diesel cars (including Audi A3, Fiesta and Focus Econetic, two Minis, two Smarts, three Volvos, and the Polo and Golf Bluemotions). Full list here:
        http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/cc-gvd-look-up-table.pdf

        However, most of these cars are quite small, although some (for example, Focus and Golf) are similar size to the Ampera.

      • 0 avatar
        Sinistermisterman

        Or just register your car with Transport for London as a minicab. You’ll pay a small fee to set yourself up as one, but then you never pay the congestion charge again. All you have to do is keep some ‘receipts’ of paying customers if ever you get challenged…

  • avatar

    “Vergesst es!”, oder?
    (That will end my proofreading day.)

  • avatar
    Canuck129

    I think of Alice Cooper when I see that car….

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I always thought the Cruize was a somewhat ugly Prius copy, but this takes the cake! Somewhere out there a Stormtroopers looking for his helmet.


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