By on March 23, 2012

Opel has taken 7,000 pre-orders for the Ampera (aka the Chevrolet Volt), and looks to be on their way to meeting their 10,000 unit goal for 2012.

Hot on the heels of being named European Car of the Year, Opel is experiencing strong demand for the car. Poor demand for the Chevrolet Volt, the Ampera’s twin, meant that GM shut down production of the car for 5 weeks. In a continent where $10/gallon gas is just arriving and driving distances are generally shorter than in North America, the Ampera is a more attractive proposition, despite its premium sticker price.

Opel is reporting that many Ampera sales are conquests from premium brands like BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, not surprising given the Ampera’s premium price tag. In England (where it will be sold as a Vauxhall), the Ampera is also exempt from vehicle taxes and the infamous London Congestion Charge that prohibits drivers from entering the downtown core of London during peak times.

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39 Comments on “Opel Ampera Gets 7,000 Pre-Orders In Europe...”


  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    The Ampera is the much better looking version of the two.

  • avatar
    Hank

    I agree, definitely better looking. I still think, given the price, the Volt should have been a Buick. I wonder, too, if the Ampera sales gives us any insight into what a Volt could have done if several talking heads hadn’t politicized the car and fed so much misunderstanding of what the car does (I can’t tell you how many times I heard on radio and tv that the car only has a 40 mile range and then you’re stranded..ignorance is a catchy little bug).

  • avatar
    wmba

    This is the second time in a couple of weeks that the Ampera has featured here on TTAC, last time being European car of the year. I wondered then, and wonder anew — if this vehicle has so many pre-orders in Europe, why did GM shut down production at the Volt plant? These two vehicles are built in the same place as they essentially the same car.

    Beats me why GM wouldn’t be interested in the export demand. Anyone know what’s happening?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Pre-orders mean squat. Nissan lost 60% of their Leaf pre-orders. Wake me up when those pre-orders turn into customer deliveries.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      Good point. And with the Ampera retailing at $59k, I can’t believe there will be that many takers.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Well, they’ll never turn into deliveries if they don’t even make the darn things. Perhaps the whole thing is a chicken/egg scenario. I will trust GM to make the wrong call, though, as they have proven adept at getting things incorrect in the past.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @wmba: There is no chicken-and-egg scenario in the US. Production of the Volt has been double the sales rate, which is why production is halted for now. There are plenty of Volts to go around, just not a lot of takers.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        I know the Volt isn’t selling in the US. Been on this website often enough to the point of boring me to tears. So they stopped production for the second time. Fine.

        Commenters here have mentioned that Canadian who have ordered the car haven’t received their Volts. If there are so many Volts blighting dealer lots in the US, why don’t they truck a few north and at least sell the darn things?

        Same with the Ampera. It comes out of the same factory as the Volt. It’s made in the US. So they stop making the Volt, due to slow US sales, and apparently aren’t making any Amperas either.

        My question is, why not? Seems a pretty simple logical progression of thought, surely. Is the US market so dominant in Volt’s production arrangement that they can’t turn out a few thousand Amperas in the meantime or are European orders discounted in GM’s mind as being unworthy to fill?

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @wmba: Your questions make sense, but you’re assuming the demand (by Canadians and other non-US customers) is real. Perhaps it isn’t, and GM is smart enough to know this. This would be The Truth About Cars.

        I don’t see them skimping production on their flagship car if the demand was real, regardless of where the point of sale is.

    • 0 avatar
      GarbageMotorsCo.

      So true. Remember when there was supposedly 50 thouand orders for the Volt here in the states? Or that it was in such high demand, dealers were adding markups to cash in on the hoopla?

      Didn’t even meet it’s first year quota and that was with 2 months off for shutdowns.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I never read anything from GM that stated 50,000 pre-orders for the Volt.

        I know that GM-Volt.com (an independent Volt fan site) had an unofficial “wait” list people could sign up on that did have about 50,000 names on it. But it takes a giant leap to convert a fan list on a blog site into an official GM pre-order list.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Somewhere in the Obama regime is a totalitarian concluding that Americans will buy the cars they want us to if they can just get gas prices to $10 a gallon and exclude the cars people currently own from urban areas.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      That totalitarian is right… for the ‘one-percenters’ who buy them, and can still afford groceries when gas costs that much. The rest of us will end up in $12k microcars.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        You’re being optimistic. Read UN Agenda 21 if you want to know what is in store for the rest of us. http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        Way to pigeonhole yourself CJ

        “Antigovernment Conspiracy Theorists Rail Against UN’s Agenda 21 Program”

        http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2012/spring/behind-the-green-mask

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        And linking the SPLC doesn’t define you? Agenda 21 is such a fantasy of Constitutionalists that they went through the trouble of hacking the UN website and planting the blueprint for concentration camps there for other paranoids to read: http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      So, pretty much like dictatorial hell-holes like Denmark or Japan? Awful places, those are. Just wretched.

    • 0 avatar
      kenzter

      Good job on squeezing an “Obama regime” comment into an article regarding Ampera pre-orders! Perhaps next time you can squeeze in a comment about your upscale zip code or your intelligence over everyone else due to your buying a Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        +1 – trust CJ to turn what is a positive story for GM with 7000 pre-sold Ampera’s into something negative. But then outside of Honda (maybe even Acura!) his mo is to only write negative comments.

        Those countries that have $10 a gallon gas have democratically chosen to do that – I don’t want it but it isn’t for us to complain about other Western, free market democracies choices.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Democratically chosen? Like when countries are ordered by the EU to keep holding the same referendum repeatedly until the desired outcome is returned? Love your cage.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        +1 CJ I’m glad someone else is paying attention anymore besides me. I was in Dublin in Oct 2009 and the *only* graffiti I saw anywhere was and I quote “No means No” and “We love our constitution” (in reference to the second forced referendum) and only that… it was only a short time later their leaders sold them out to the bloated EU monster. How long will it be before the citizens of the West en masse revolt against the oppression?

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Whoa there CJ, take a breath. Lets get some things straight. I am from the UK and am a Conservative there and as Eurosceptic as they come. I completely disagree with the EU asking countries like Ireland to redo a referendum because they don`t like the result.
        However my point about democracy was around gas taxes (lets stay on topic please). In that case people moan about the taxes (UK just recently since it was Budget time this week), but political parties are free to run on raising or lowering taxes and people vote for them accordingly. Most European countries have many more viable parties than the US where we are stuck with just two.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      That’s a dark view of the administration – too dark for you perhaps.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Those headlights are fantastic. It looks like something out of TRON. Too bad it isn’t available in the US.

  • avatar
    W.Minter

    Great figures, GM! Congratulations! Some official pre-order stats from the past (Opel Ampera, Europe).
    3,000 … 11/04/06
    5,000 … 11/07/05
    6,500 … 11/12/19

    Well, 7,000 looks different from that perspective.
    But I still like the car.

    Price in Germany: starting at 45,500 Euro incl. tax. Same as a Diesel Wagon with a stick (520d).

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I would be curious to learn what percentage of pre-orders convert to actual transactions. GM would not have shut the Volt plant down if the demand outstripped supply.

    59k for an Ampera?? Dayum!

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    In addition to the factors already mentioned, I could see demand for the Ampera being higher than the Volt as Europeans are already used to the idea of paying a premium price for small cars.

  • avatar
    Richarbl

    According to Wikipedia, the Edsel sold 116000 vehicles in its first two years and is considered to be one of the great automotive failures
    In a year and a half, the Volt, including the 7000 Ampera “presales” has sold approximately 18000 vehicles.
    Am I the only person to see a problem here?

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Irrespective of whether the Volt will be deemed an automotive failure the metric you use is wrong. There are plenty of cars that sell less than 116000 in 2 years (NSX, S2000, Focus ST, original Prius etc) that are not failures.

      • 0 avatar
        Richarbl

        Obviously there are hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles that do not exceed 118k sales and are not commercial failures.
        So in reality your point, though valid, is simply not relevant.

        However, using GM’s own criteria of expected sales of 55000 in the first two years,the Volt/Ampera can be rightly judged to have failed from the evidence presented thus far.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        “Obviously there are hundreds, if not thousands of vehicles that do not exceed 118k sales and are not commercial failures.”
        Thanks for agreeing that your original point about 116K units was irrelevant to the discussion.

        As for the estimate lets see what two years of Ampera sales do plus the two years of Volt sales (2011-2012). Judging something about half way through and extrapolating to the end is not always the most accurate way to do things!

  • avatar
    shaker

    Apparently, the Ampera has the same power as the Volt to draw the wingnuts to TTAC. Good show.

  • avatar
    Richarbl

    Well if I see any wingnuts here I will tell them to move along


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