By on July 21, 2014

ampera-450x317

The Opel Ampera, an Opel-badged Chevrolet Volt, will be killed off in Europe due to slow sales.

The Ampera will be axed after just one generation – with a new Volt being launched in the second half of 2015, an Opel (and presumably Vauxhall) version will not be produced.

Automotive News Europe reports that Ampera sales slid dramatically in 2013. In Germany, the Ferrari F12 supercar has sold nearly twice as many units as the Ampera.

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50 Comments on “Opel-Badged Chevrolet Volt Killed In Europe...”


  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    £37,250 for the Vauxhall variant comes to a bit more than $63k.

    Methinks these were pretty poorly priced, though not quite so poorly as the ELR? Also, a bit more economic depression in Europe (for the moment)..

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Luckily Brits don’t pay for cars in dollars!

      As has been said on here numerous times, simply translating the price using the current exchange rate is meaningless. $38k UKP is roughly analagous to $38k in terms of buying power, which is about what it costs here.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      According to Vauxhalls website the Ampera cost 28750 gbp after incentive

      The leaf is considerable cheaper at 16450 gbp. When I was last in the UK adverts for the leaf were everywhere where as no-one I spoke to had heard of the Ampera.

      In general most households don’t park in a garage as they are typically too small for modern cars (16′ x 8′) and are used as storage. Plus many houses in cities don’t have off road parking and so lots of people can’t charge at home.

  • avatar
    NN

    if ever there were a vehicle that US General Motors manufactured that should have done well over in Europe, it was the Ampera. The fact that the entire continent is on 220V, it was a technically sophisticated product, extremely efficient/cheap to run and tax, could beat city congestion charges, and a rather spacious vehicle by Euro standards. This was poor marketing or a lack of desire to sell the car more than anything else. My guess is that they really were losing $10k+ on every one they made, so the vehicle was given the standard GM-type short term thinking. They aren’t interested in building momentum as a brand/technological leader and making an “investment” to do so as much as they are making money on each vehicle right now. I understand they’ve been in the red forever over there, but a business is revived with investment and risks, not with endless cost cutting. They are running their European operation like a side of the road seafood stand as opposed to a successful international company, and the results are continued loss of brand equity and presence in that ultra-competitive market.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Great comment! But I think the reality of PEVs surfaced in Europe long before it is recognized in the US. Even in Europe where fuel is taxed at a much higher rate, real people prefer real cars instead of glorified electric golf carts. Any Deux Chevaux is still better than an electric car, and much cheaper to own and operate.

      There’s not one EV, PEV or Hybrid owned by any of my German or Portuguese relatives living in Europe. Some of them don’t even own a car, but rent one if they have a need for it (like for extended vacations or weekend trips).

      But I firmly believe that they should be available to anyone who wants to buy one. Even in Europe.

      • 0 avatar

        If you are up to the task to have to transport 4 people plus luggage on a regular basis you certainly have cheaper opportunities in Europe than buying an Ampera/Volt. The Ampera offer simply does not compute, except for green nerds with an income well above the average.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          herb, my family members in Europe are a lot better off than I am. Many families have a his and a her car.

          And where their kids still live at home, the kids each have their own car. In Europe it is not unusual for kids to remain living at home after they’re fully grown, completed school and are employed, many even with their spouses and kids. Ditto with my family members in Portugal, although most do not own a car.

          They did not find any EV, PEV or Hybrid to be a better alternative for their application, and they have solar panels everywhere on their property.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @HighDesertcat,
        Who killed the Electric Car? I think the answer is we all have.They sell EV’s in Australia and they are flying out of Showrooms as well as the Dodo

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          RobertRyan, yeah, I sure did my share of the killing. There was nothing that I found that attracted me to the prospect of range-anxiety since I wanted to be able to go when I needed to go.

          But I also have stated numerous times that I believe that EVs, PEVs and Hybrids should be available for anyone who wants to buy one, just not subsidized by the US taxpayers.

          And wasn’t there a guy named “Dodo” on these auto-boards who wrote extensively about his brother driving up to visit him and who expected Dodo to pay for the electricity when his brother plugged in his Volt at Dodo’s house while visiting him?

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Vaguely I can recall something like that. Some of these innovations for batteries etc will flow onto other devices where they will be more warmly received

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I don’t know if this applies, but the battery in my iPad Air impresses the hell out of me!

            One thing for certain, the battery in the iPad Air is so much better than the battery in my iPad2. Lasts longer too!

            I’ve never completely drained the battery in my wife’s Galaxy S5 phone, but I do know that the tech in that battery is far longer lasting than that of the iPhone she had before, currently in use by my 17yo grand daughter.

            Maybe if the battery tech in pure-EVs extends the range to say, 300 miles? Maybe I would change my mind. But then there is the whole charge-time thing.

            My philosophy, I want to gas up and go! NO EV for me!

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t even know what a “Deux Chevaux” was until I saw it on “Wheeler Dealers” last week. What an interesting piece of history!

    • 0 avatar
      piro

      One of the big problems – countries that might seem like big buyers, aren’t.

      For example, in Denmark, Ampera is not a pure-electric, so doesn’t get any tax relief, so it’s treated just like any other expensive car.

      It costs 648100 DKK, starting price, which is $117,500. Yep, over a 100k base price for a volt in Denmark. Taxes, yay!

      Because of this, in Denmark, you can literally buy an 85kWh Model S cheaper than an Ampera.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Has anyone done a cost-comparison between the pure-electric cars and ICE cars of that same size and class in Denmark?

        My family members in Germany did an unofficial one and found that an ICE was cheaper to buy, more expensive to operate because of fuel prices, cheaper to insure, and had greater trade-in value after 5 years. And then there was the driving range that off-set range-anxiety.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      But Europe has turned their backs on electrics and hybrids in general, regardless of the badge on the vehicle.

      They love their diesels. This was DOA from the word go.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It just looks so familiar, but not as a Volt.

    As an Acura TL.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Sans the gills. Those are horrific.

      Though not on the same level of ugliness as the gills on the new 4Runner. Those should be banned altogether.

  • avatar
    erikhans

    Maybe they can send that front end on over here to us Yanks! I almost bought a volt over the weekend but could not get past the Chevy front end that put on there.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I’m surprised those Eurolibbies didn’t subsidize the pee out of this.

    • 0 avatar

      Liberals the world over excel at SPENDING OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY or, suing companies until they build/advertise/ or otherwise conform to their needs and desires.

      They create NOTHING. They employ VERY FEW. They are only good at WHINING.

      WHAT IDIOT actually thought that you’d be able to simply “subsidize” Electric vehicles without causing more losses both public and private?
      These things are more expensive to manufacture than I.C.E vehicles and offer so much less. I’d take a 2015 Sonata 2.0T over ANY EV…including the Model S and the show-off-car “BMW i whatever”.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      As someone so far left, that I think American liberals are a bunch of crazy far right religious extremists, when it comes to subsidizing electric cars (and generally blaming cars for pollution) our politicians over here are at least as stupid and useless as right wing politicians. Political standpoints do not grant politicians any intelligence. In any democracy, the most popular opinion is going to win, no matter what the people actually think outside voting season.But, we didn’t subsidize the living shit out of the Volt/Ampera because it has no real merit as a ‘green’ car when you can still choose to run it on gasoline only (if you’re stupid/rich enough).

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nooo and just as the Green party was coming in to put deposit on 5,000 examples.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    This car almost fit perfectly for Norway. We usually commute reasonably short distances on an everyday basis, have cheap electricity, and have a tax system that favours electric cars. Only problem is, it has a gas driven generator (range extender), which gave it a lot less of the advantages the Tesla has over here (and makes it look as intelligent as Top Gears ‘Hammerhead-Eagle-I-Thrust’(Geoff). Fully electric cars are completely tax excempt, including the usual 25% sales tax.
    Not to mention it’s made by people famous for occasionally lacking the ability to build a proper car, and an attention to detail that is sub-par to any of it’s competitors.
    Here in Norway a Tesla Model S starts at less than $80K,(Ampera is rouglhy 60K) which is about the same as a loaded mid-size car (or less than a loaded TSX wagon or CRV)
    while being as powerful as a 200K car since our arcaic registration-tax system is based on what would be a powerful car in 1960. Our rulemakers never thought there would be luxurious electric cars either, and apparently never noticed all the hype about the Tesla…
    So, a small country with roughly 5 million people, most of whom are upper middle class, buy half of the Teslas that are built…and save tons of money on gas, toll booths, congestion lanes, etc

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Well, given the physical size of Norway and the inexpensive hydro electricity, maybe the Tesla actually makes sense, so long as you don’t plan any vacations out of the country.

      I suppose the cold weather diminishes the range of the car as well, compromising the batteries’ output and diverting energy to heat the cabin.

      • 0 avatar
        Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

        Doesn’t seem to bother this fellow much:

        http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/tesla-superowner-arctic-circle

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        The physical size of Norway doesn’t do us many favours whan it comes to driving, because we are spread very thinly over mountainous areas with lots of deep fjords (except for the more populated areas in the southeast, where most people live, and most toll booths are) Teslas are not as popular out here in the ‘rural’ areas as it is in large cites.
        As for vacations I don’t think people mind having a break to get some food while stopping at one of the ‘supercharger’ stations.
        People who surely won’t buy a Tesla are those who do a lot of long distance driving in their jobs, with a schedule to follow. Not that they would consider anything not German anyway…

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I suppose you’re aware that the Leaf is the ruling EV in Norway – for all the reasons you mention. The highest Leaf per capita is in Norway, which nobody would have guessed three years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        The Leaf is a pure-electric vehicle. Not a fair comparison with the gas-generator+battery Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        If it was possible to incentivise the Leaf to the extent that Norway can in this country, it would be a best seller here too.

        A Leaf would do for the majority of trips I make, but there is no reason for me to have one here in the US. My Abarth, which I use for 90% of my short distance driving, was cheaper and is a heck of a lot more fun. At 5k miles a year at 35mpg, gas is rounding error on the ownership expenses, and I CAN take it on a trip if I want/have to. Here free taxes/tolls would also amount to rounding error.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          krhodes1, you wrote about your Abarth which brings to mind a question I want to ask you.

          At church yesterday, a guy asked me what small/city/short drive/grocery-getter-car I would recommend for him and his wife, that would be easy for people in their seventies to get in and out of, yet still was roomy and gave reasonable fuel economy. (Their other car is a 2008 F250 to haul their travel trailer with.)

          I recommended a Kia Soul automatic or a Subaru Forester, based in part on recommendations I had read on Yahoo Autos and MSN Autos.

          What say you? Don’t feel obligated but your choice of an Abarth tickled my mind and now I want to know why. Inquiring minds want to know!

          • 0 avatar

            We just got a 2014 Soul Plus w/navigation and the mood speakers, or whatever they call them…in Alien Green II. It is a great little SUV/hatchback thing, but it’s not much fun to drive. The brakes feel very non-linear to me, so that I have to exert a lot more force during the last few seconds of coming to a complete stop. And the engine just makes the most *dreadful* noise if you mash on the throttle. But I think it exhibits better craftsmanship than our 2012 Sonata Limited, which was over $8000 dearer.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @HighDesertCat

            I truly love the FIAT 500 for an urban runabout. It’s cute, its “quick enough” even in base form, and it is CHEAP. Being a 3dr it has HUGE doors and is super easy to get in and out of, as the seats are way up off the floor. Easiest car I own for schlepping my 90yo Grandfather around in. The BMW is too low, the Rover is too tall. I think if I got him in the Spitfire I might never get him out again. The 500s are not as small as they look. The back seat is quite usable for short trips even by adults, but is hard to get in and out of like any 3dr. As a two person + stuff car it is about perfect.

            For the next size up, I like the Soul a lot too. I have three friends who have them and love them. I agree with Kyree that it is no fun to drive. I think the FIT is OK if you need the Tardis interior, but it costs too much for what it is, and being a Honda there is not much for discounts. The Forester is kind of huge for an urban runabout, at least here in the East.

            As to why “I” bought a 500 Abarth? Pretty much just for the fun of it. I had Pops and Sports as rentals and loved them. I had bought a Porsche 924S to use as an autocrosser that turned into way more of a project than I had time for, so I bought the Abarth, as it was the one Fiat model that the SCCA allows to autocross. The fact that it is about 10,000 giggles per mile to drive is part of it too. The utterly ridiculous exhaust note is a good part of that. As I said in the Fiesta ST review comments – I drove an ST, and thought it was a GREAT car, much more rounded, but the Abarth is way more fun.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Kyree and krhodes1, thank you both for your response.

            I have copied both your comments and sent them by email to the guy who asked me yesterday.

            krhodes1, I highlighted in bold the part “Easiest car I own for schlepping my 90yo Grandfather around in.” for him, with a smiley emoticon after it.

            Haven’t heard back from him yet but he may not be home or could be tied up with something else.

            Sorry about my delayed reply. A couple of buddies wandered in at my place and we ended up watching the Rangers@Yankees game, guzzling some brewskis and feasting on Indonesian Chicken and Pork Fried Rice, Spicy Peanut Sauce and giant Shrimp Crackers, with sliced fresh cucumbers in pickling juice, on the side.

            Now you know THAT takes priority over ttac!

            Just so you know I wasn’t neglecting you guys. I was occupied stuffing my face!

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            LOL – no worries, I only replied an hour or so ago. Sounds like more fun than I had tonight – flew from Augusta GA to home, with thunderstorm delays and plenty of bumps on both flights.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Wow, that does sound rough. At least you got home safely.

            And the next time you fly, they’ll double your TSA tax.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            The life of a road warrior. Next trip is Wednesday, to Cleveland. I alternate between Cleveland and Dallas the next four weeks, two trips to each, W-F.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            krhodes1, that is quite a schedule! Be safe!

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        The Leaf had a head-start on the Tesla in Norway, but their montly sales now are quite close to each other. I see both of them everywhere on the roads around here, but offcourse, there is a price difference between them, so they have slightly different customers. I don’t think the Leaf sales are as surprising as the Tesla sales though, since it’s a more common size of car here, while the Tesla is a quite large luxury car.
        And how brilliant isn’t it that we subsidize these cars with money we make from oil…

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Norway is truly a blessed country:

    First, it has lots and lots of natural resources.
    Second, it has well educated people that properly manage those resources.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Great point.

      Natural resources are a curse to countries whose population squanders the opportunity offered by having those resources – just look at the nations of OPEC:

      “http://www.opec.org/opec_web/en/about_us/25.htm”

  • avatar
    mars3941

    They should also kill the Volt in the U.S. and it’s monstrosity cousin the Cadillac ELR or ELX or EL something. Both aren’t selling and never will.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The Volt sells well enough, but the ELR is an embarrassment to GM/Cadillac.

      Volt
      2012 = 23461
      2013 = 23094
      2014 = 8615 YTD

      ELR
      2014 = 390 YTD

      The Ampera has been selling at ELR rates this year.


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