Opel Ampera Lives On? Spy Photos Of Next Gen Volt-Based Car Spotted

6 months ago by Jay Cole 37

While The Original Opel Ampera Was Well Suited To Compete In Europe, Its Price Point Wasn't

While The Original Opel Ampera Was Well Suited To Compete In Europe, Its Price Point Wasn’t

We Quite Liked The Restyled Original Ampera For Europe

We Quite Liked The Restyled Original Ampera For Europe

When General Motors axed the Chevrolet Volt, then later the Opel Ampera in Europe, there wasn’t a lot of gnashing of the teeth as the model really didn’t cause that big of a splash in the electrified pool.

However, most did acknowledge the potential for the vehicle.  The Opel Ampera just needed a little more publicity love…and a lot more reasonable price tag.

The European Volt-alike started with a retail price of €42,900, taking the wind out of the “sales” (pun intended) right out of the gate for the car.

General Motors built ~10,000 Amperas, a number which they figured they could sell in about a year originally. Unfortunately it took them about 4 years to approach that result, and even then about half those sales ultimately landed in the hands of fleet customers.

Next Generation Chevrolet Volt

Next Generation Chevrolet Volt

Now it appears that GM has had a change of heart when it comes to bringing the next generation Volt to Europe, as spyshots of a Opel-ized Chevy have been snapped here in North America!

The photos are under copyright, so we can’t post them live here, but you can check out the spyshots of what obviously looks to be the new Ampera at CarAdvice here, and also even more snaps from the spy photographer’s (Brian Williams) homepage here.

In looking at the spy shots on the car, one is immediately drawn to a couple of changes; specifically the shape of the Opel logo under light camouflage, and the decision by GM to remove the huge chrome air intake found on the bottom half of the front of the new Volt.

Hopefully this time, the price is right.

Once again, links to photos of the new Ampera at CarAdvice can be found here, and more shots at the original spy photographer’s homepage – SpiedBilde here.

Tags: , , , , , ,

37 responses to "Opel Ampera Lives On? Spy Photos Of Next Gen Volt-Based Car Spotted"

  1. ModernMarvelFan says:

    How come EU also get a better looking version of the American cars?

    1. vdiv says:

      They get better-looking and better equipped versions of all cars, not American.

      It’s because we suck and are willing to accept being treated like idiots, or something…

      1. PVH says:

        That I don’t know but it seems we always pay a higher price for them because of value added tax (around 20% in most of Europe except for some scandinavian countries where it can be much more).

      2. R.S. says:

        But BMW Audi and Mercedes sell their cars cheaper and better equipped in the US. Its just about gaining market share.
        If the cars sell well, you can ask for high margins, if there is room to grow, you sell for low margins and hope to make it up by increased volume.

    2. Yup says:

      Wait, you’re calling that better looking? It’s almost identical! If anything, there are a few flourishes that are gone that make it look cheaper. The original Ampera was better looking than the original Volt, but if these spyshots are any indication, they’re not really bothering to differentiate the appearance now. I think that’s a good decision because the new Volt looks great, so why change it. And if you were going to change it, it ought to be different enough that people couldn’t immediately tell that they were the same car, like the original Volt/Ampera.

      1. Samwise says:

        Removing that butt ugly silver grill accent definitely doesn’t make it look cheaper!

        1. Yup says:

          The Teutonic austere look peaked around 2000 and is solidly on the way out now. Chrome is very tastefully applied to many cars today, including the Volt.

  2. Speculawyer says:

    Do it!

    The latest Chevy Volt is a GREAT car. It really deserves to be sold in Europe. By what I understand from our European friends, Chevy is not a respected brand there so perhaps it would be best to launch is an OPEL again.

    1. Mikael says:

      Chevrolet was ranked dead last in a number of countries when it came to dependability and customer satisfaction.
      So there is no wonder why they pulled the brand from the market.

      Opel is generally in the lower middle of such rankings. Fairly decent brand but nothing you would brag or rather even talk that much about if you had one, takes you from point A to point B.

  3. Mikael says:

    “While The Original Opel Ampera Was Well Suited To Compete In Europe, Its Price Point Wasn’t”

    It was hardly well suited to compete in Europe, it was a lot more than the price that was wrong with the car.

    They should really put the drive train in some of the current models which already fit the needs of the customers.

    Why not the smaller Corsa, the larger Astra/Insignia or the SUV Mokka.

    Oh well, if they put a low enough price on the Ampera it might sell anyway even though it’s not an optimal vehicle for the European market.

    1. R.S. says:

      Very true, but I guess it would be too expensive to put the drivetrain into another car. A compact sedan, even if its technically a hatchback, really isn’t what the european customer wants. The Bolt on the other hand seems to be built with Europe in mind. I would even say it’s the most european Chevy that was ever built.

    2. kdawg says:

      So you are saying put the drive-train into a small car (Corsa) for the European market, and the person that posted after you (Sondre) said the Ampera was too small.

      1. Mikael says:

        It’s too small (on the inside) and lacking a lot of important things to be a family car. It’s too big to be a small and handy car built for European cities.

        So either putting the drive-train in a smaller or a larger car works.

        Right now it’s a big car on the outside (car footprint) but a very small one on the inside. It’s basically a lost cause…

        1. Speculawyer says:

          “Right now it’s a big car on the outside (car footprint) but a very small one on the inside.”

          So either the Volt has abnormally thick walls or it violates the laws of physics?

          1. Yup says:

            Who turned the Tardis inside out?

          2. R.S. says:

            Its a sedan with a big hump between the rear seats. Compare it to a Opel Astra wagon, which is roughly the same footprint and you’ll see it has less a lot less space. Compare it to the Astra hatch and you’ll see that it is longer and therefore harder to park, while still not having as much interior space.

          3. Mikael says:

            Something is thick here, that’s for sure… 😉

          4. wavelet says:

            For the North American market (Canada is the same), space efficiency is essentially irrelevant, that is, not wasting any space inside the car. Parking spaces have huge dimensions, sized for pickup trucks & lanes are wide. IME >50% of the cars sold in the US would not fit in any parking space in Europe.

            There’s a reason why compact hatchbacks are the best-selling car class in Europe (#1 is the Golf), and even for families, MPVs (which allow very flexible use of interior space) outsell fullsize minivans.

            I can think of only one MPV-type car sold in the US: the Honda Jazz (called Fit in the US).

            Therefore, yes — the Volt has too little interior space relative to its external dimensions, esp. with that crippled middle seat in the back row.

        2. Phr3d says:

          @Mikael, thanks that helps as I -did- think it was Only price vs competitors, I (we,US) don’t think of the Volt as exterior Large, obviously.

      2. Speculawyer says:

        Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of Europeans say the Ampera was too small . . . and that is a mind-boggling complaint coming from Europe, home of the Fiat 500, MINI, Polo, and zillions of other tiny cars!

        1. Mikael says:

          Too small to be a family car. What is it that you have such a hard time understanding?

      3. Paul Stoller says:

        I wonder if they could modify the Cruze hatchback platform without too much development and sell a more traditional hatchback version in Europe. Sure it would likely be a bit less efficient due to the shape, but it might be a way to deliver something more suited to the market without too much increased development costs.

        1. James says:

          I think you may be missing the point that they are making: Volt’s outward size is more what Europeans call a “midsize” car, but it’s large T-shaped battery and resulting effect on reducing interior space makes it an impractical form factor.

          It seems gen 2 Cruze started development after Volt and got a 2″ stretch in the D2XX platform. Thus, more legroom and headroom in the back seat. Volt would have truly benefited greatly by this also – albeit still having the large hump on the floor. We could overlook that hump since we are all familiar with RWD cars, but its the coupelike roofline and small dimension in the rear that surprises many car buyers.

          I think selling Ampera/Volt in Europe is money wasted. Instead, the push should be to strongly market Bolt there as an Opel. It surely would be a big hit there. Bolt’s form factor is exactly what Europeans love – small car, tall roofline, flat floor with tons of space with the seats folded down. Very useful as an only car for a family, and the perfect size and maneuverability for country roads and small towns with very narrow streets.

  4. Sondre says:

    Rather expensive car with 4 seats, little place for luggage and no roof rack or hook. It was doomed before arrival.

    1. Speculawyer says:

      One can easily put a roof rack on Volt/Ampera.

      Permanent rack things are stupid . . . just needless drag when you don’t need to put something up there.

    2. David Peilow says:

      As an Ampera owner the 4 seat thing doesn’t bother me. I can count the number of times I’ve had to carry 5 people on one hand.

      The luggage argument is also nonsense. I’ve seen reviews state it has less capacity than a VW Golf, but I’ve carried a lot of equipment in the car on work trips and can vouch the carry will carry much more stuff with the seats down than a Golf Plus.

      1. Ampidriver says:

        Absolutly…i had an Calibra in the past years and it was enough place for carrying luggage and so one..so is it now in my Ampera also…and the future design is still great !!

  5. Seth says:

    It was the rear seats that turned me off from buying one of these. No middle seat, really?

    And when I climbed into one of the rear seats myself I had a heck of a time getting out.

    Somehow the whole experience was cramped, which it shouldn’t be for the size of the car. The front seats are fine, but the touch buttons on the dash were meh.

    The one I drove had a empty battery, that makes the car sad, that made me sad. It was it’s best when driving electric.

    Another issue was the road tax, the hybrids are taxed for half their weight – 125kg. That still means you pay the road tax for 50% of about 1700kg. Which is 518 euros a year. And in 2018 that will be gone too.

    Instead I opted for the i-Miev sitting on the same dealer lot. That has no road tax till 2020 and I still managed to fit the baby seat and stroller into it. Win.

    Since starting this 1-1-2016 the hybrids in NL get a higher tax (15%) for the gross price of the car. So a new Ampera/Volt would make even less sense in NL now, eventhough they have sold quite a few of them here previously (7%). Starting 1-1-2017 they’ll even get bumped to 21%.

    So if GM is contemplating selling the car here, they better do it this year, and drop it like it’s hot next year.

    1. kosee says:

      Yes it’s bolt or go home for gm in the Netherlands.

  6. SJC says:

    That describes coupes in general, two back seats and no trunk, but they sell.

  7. Thomas J. Thias says:

    A little bit Of Opel/Vauxhall history as you reported here in the summer of 2014.

    Tweets Of Opel CEO Karl Neumann, ( Tweets Are Linked):

    “We see #eMobility as important part of the mobility of tomorrow and we will continue to drive down costs & deliver affordability. 1/3”

    https://twitter.com/KT_Neumann/status/491912293211701248

    “Our next electric vehicle will be part of our massive product offensive – with 27 new vehicles in the 2014-2018 time frame. 2/3”

    https://twitter.com/KT_Neumann/status/491912389747830784

    “After the eventual run-out of the current generation Ampera, we’ll introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment. 3/3 /KTN”

    https://twitter.com/KT_Neumann/status/491912469116637184

    So, will GM unleash the Next Gen Volt under the Opel/Vauxhall and Holden brands into Euro/Asia global?

    With BMW, Nissan, VW Group, Mercedes Benz, Fiat/Chrysler, Volvo, BYD Company, BIAC, Kia, Mitsubishi, Huyndai, Morgan Motors, Honda, Tesla Motors and now Ford forecasting major plug in and wireless fueled, Electric Fueled Vehicle model ramp-ups over the next 3 1/2 years I believe GM Group: Opel/Holden/ Vauxhall/Cadillac/Chevrolet/Wuling/Baojun, have no choice but to play.

    Best-

    Thomas J. Thias

    517-749-0532

    Publisher:

    https://twitter.com/AmazingChevVolt

    1. Thomas J. Thias says:

      Oop’s forgot Renault, Via Motors and near future cars; Local Motors, NextEV, Faraday Future and the Pheonix Rizing, Kama Automotive!
      TJT

  8. Priusmaniac says:

    The organised GM Ampera receipy for failure:
    Start with ennoying people by doing a non standard full size backseat.
    Follow by proposing a price higher in Euro than in Dollar despite the exchange rate indicating a higher Euro than Dollar.
    Finnish the perfect failure sauce by making no decent advertisement and by making sure your dealers don’t ever propose it to their customers or even criticize their own product when asked about it.
    That is the perfect way to organize a failure so that you can quietly keep on selling full gas cars.
    Of course refine your offering if some bad guys start to offer better electrics so as to keep their market share under control….and keep the oil flow.

  9. vdiv says:

    Wonder if they will have a telematics system this time around. Also the whole thing about not having RHD version, are we really that sure?

  10. kdawg says:

    How do they know this car is Europe-bound? Looks like the spy shots were taken in Michigan.

  11. an_outsider says:

    Hasn’t GM & Honda signed a deal for Voltec powered Honda? Just saying…

    Could be Opel version after all…

  12. Phr3d says:

    Given Mikael’s description of why (in addition to price) the Ampera wasn’t as appealing in UK as we in US might have imagined, it sounds like Holden is the place to go for Volt II – quick, sporty sedan that is relatively inexpensive to own and operate – hope chris or others can comment.

    Dear GM, if you don’t dump -at minimal profit- an Opel version of the Bolt, get Mary some more coffee, cuz’ you’re sleeping through the party. Presuming that you can match the Volt I’s impressive build quality with the new Bolt, you NEED this car in the UK to slowly improve your customer perception.