Opel To Dealers: Stop Selling The Ampera-E, We Have Too Many Orders
The Opel Ampera-e (aka the Chevrolet Bolt EV in North America) is one of the best electric vehicle values to be found on the European market today … but the availability of the inexpensive, long range EV (383 km/238 miles real world/EPA range) in the region has been nothing short of depressing.
There are thousands of hand raisers that placed orders for the Ampera-e (4,000 signed up in Norway alone by the first day of deliveries); but here we are 5+ months after its release, and total sales have yet to reach 4 digits in the country.
There simply aren’t enough 2017 model year cars being produced for Europe (despite the fact there has been plenty in U.S. as the roll-out has widened, and the factory itself had an extended summer break), and it looks like the 2018 model year allocation (production starts December 18th) will be more of the same.
As a result, Opel is telling its dealers to stop accepting orders. So yeah, that isn’t a good sign.
Why do this, and not just inform customers of an extended delay?
Well, apparently Opel doesn’t know when and how many Ampera-es will be available in the future (or at least they aren’t saying publicly). For those who would order today, Opel is telling customers they can’t even nail down a date in 2019 now. So, instead of orders, dealers will now create a waiting list…to wait on making a future order we suppose.
“…they (Opel) feel it is more tidy for customers to switch to a reservation list, as they are no longer able to promise any specific delivery date in 2019, but stresses that there is no final sale stop.”
Of note: This really shouldn’t be surprising at all to InsideEVs readers, as we have suggested since early 2015 (even before the Europe offering was officially confirmed) that the Opel re-badging project of the Bolt EV would likely be sporatic, and limited to no more than 10%-15% of total Boltec production (we just made that term up), which was pegged at 25,000-30,000 per year out of the gate.
A similar situation is found in other European countries – thanks to the demand in Norway. Fore example, Germany has only received just a few cars (which has translated into less than 100 sales so far we believe).
Neither General Motors or the PSA Group (that acquired Opel from GM earlier this year) have yet to articulate their reasoning for intentionally short-shipping Europe, but it likely has a little something to do with profitability.
Building a value EV in the US, then shipping that car, as a completed product, into Europe isn’t really an ideal situation for the bottom line (ask Tesla about this) – and there is no valuable ZEV/emission credits to be had in Norway to offset some of those costs as there is in the US.
To the Norwegian dealers credit, some have even looked into importing the Chevrolet Bolt EV from the U.S., but there are problems between fast charging standards (CCS Combo type 1 vs 2).