Will the Ampera Live On To See The Next Generation In Europe?


The Ampera Is Certainly An Attractive Version Of The Chevrolet Volt

The Ampera Is Certainly An Attractive Version Of The Chevrolet Volt

With the recent announcement that General Motors is fully committed to the next generation of the Chevrolet Volt and two “other” electrified models, the future of the best selling plug-in car in America was secured into the next decade.

Ampera With Its "Vauxhall" Badging

Ampera With Its “Vauxhall” Badging

But what of GM’s European EREVs?  We know the Chevrolet brand is leaving Europe by the end of next year, so it certainly won’t be seen in its more familiar Chevy trim; but will the Vauxhall/Opel Ampera brand continue into the second generation as well?

The answer may seem like an obvious yes, as the technology would seem to be at hand.

However the Ampera/Volt combo has largely been a disappointment for GM in Europe, and there is still significant cost to homogenizing the 2nd gen car and re-skinning it to fit Europe – to say nothing about dealing with it as a captive import 4,000 miles away.

With a new vehicle offering now being introduced below the Adam in Europe, and the addition of an all-electric car in that same class in the next 2.5 years, GM no longer needs any help with the EU emission standards that it once might have with the Ampera.

We have long speculated from looking at sales that the Ampera/Volt’s days might be numbered in Europe.  Now AutoCar has tracked down a Vauxhall representative to get their reaction on the second generation Volt planned for the US and if the Ampera would also be in line for an upgrade; unfortunately the Euro rep didn’t exactly say GM was on board to bringing it across the pond when the time comes.

The spokesperson noted that the car had only been on sale in Europe for three years and that Vauxhall is “fully committed to the Ampera in its current guise” for the UK – which is a long way from saying “yes, we also offer a new and improve Ampera when the time comes.”

With Ad Spots Like This How Did The Ampera Not Sell Better?

With Ad Spots Like This How Did The Ampera Not Sell Better?

On the flip side of the conversation, there has been some talk of GM producing a second, shorter range/less expensive extended range vehicle more along the lines of a plug-in Cruze.  If this vehicle saw the light of day, it could well be a replacement option for Europe.

The Ampera went on sale in late 2011, and at the time GM said they had over 5,000 reservations for the car and expected to sell 10,000 in 2012, with that number growing in the future.

However, the company only realized about 6,700 units (including Chevy Volt) sold in 2012; a number which fell to around 3,200 in 2013.

For first 3 months of 2014, less than 250 units have been sold.  Further complicating the matter, it is reported that more than half of all the Amperas sold have been to fleet customers and not the general public.

So, we ask you…will the Ampera live on to see the 2nd generation in Europe?


Category: Opel/Vauxhall

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30 responses to "Will the Ampera Live On To See The Next Generation In Europe?"
  1. Jeff D says:

    With numbers like that,I would doubt it. I would hope that GM would offer an EV that Europeans are more interested in.

  2. qwerty says:

    Sell the Ampera here! Its appearance and design is ten fold better.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      I can’t tell you how many times I have been told that…or asked if we can get kit pieces for it. I agree though, I really like the look of the Ampera.

    2. Spec9 says:

      I think they both look pretty good. It would be nice if they had sold the Ampera here since it is always nice to have more design choices.

      1. Anon says:

        Never cared for the ‘Electric Malibu’ looks of the Volt. The Ampera is much better styled.

  3. TSLA says:

    Meh Ampera looks are overrated only because you cant get it here and people praise it even more so.

    The Volt has a cleaner design.

  4. David Murray says:

    I only like the front of the Ampera better.. I like the Volt’s rear end better.

    1. vdiv says:

      Yes. Also I like the climate controls of the Ampera better as they allow for independent selection of the air flow and have more accurate labels on the modes (Min, Eco, Max, instead of “Fan Only”, Eco, and Comfort). Finally, there a regulatory differences as the Ampera has amber rear turn signals, adjustable headlights, tow hooks, included safety triangle and med. kit, etc.

  5. krona2k says:

    They weren’t able to pass on the price reductions to the UK. Unless they can get the price down I think it will be cancelled here. It’s a real shame because it’s the car I wanted but I ended up getting a Leaf.

  6. Boris says:

    For Volt-like vehicle to be successful here in Europe, it needs to be made by VW or one of the luxury brands. Nobody here is willing to pay premium for an Opel, Renault, Fiat and a few others. Also with diesels getting 50+ miles to a gallon and people really driving much less than in the US, Ampera is really not such a big deal here.

    1. Mikael says:

      Even worse when it was a Chevy. The Chevrolet brand was the lowest rated brand by a margin in many European countries.
      They had a really hard time selling cars even though they had prices way lower than any proper brand (and by proper brand in this case I could include any brand like Kia, Skoda, Seat, Renault, Fiat, Peugeot… which normally are ranked pretty low when compared to anything but Chevrolet).

      It’s a shame because even though it’s limitations there would have been many happy Volt/Ampera owners if they could have gotten the price down or at least been made by another brand.

    2. jumpjack says:

      @boris , as you live in Europe, do you know any insideEVs-like site but EU-centered rather than US-centered?

      1. Boris says:

        Sorry I don’t, all of the EV/green tech sites I read are US-based. I am pretty sure that sites like this one and perhaps cleantechnica cover whatever is happening in Europe really well…

        1. Jay Cole says:

          We do try to cover Europe (and elsewhere)quite a bit as we have 3 international people who contribute.

          Generally we aim to have 1 European/international story for every 4-5 US one…and as we run anywhere from 8-12 stories a day, they are quite frequent. We also have gone to every auto major show around the world this year…Geneva, Tokyo, China, Toronto, etc (plus the US ones of course)

          1. Mikael says:

            I think you are doing a great job and not being just US centered.
            There could always be more things covered and I hope you will exand even more to cover in even more global news.
            And I think you are good at picking up on what we who read your articles want to know about and also picking up on stories to cover.
            Keep up the great work =)

  7. Spec9 says:

    Any Europeans want to offer some views on to why the Ampera failed in Europe? Was it too expensive? The Volt has been reasonably successful in the USA.

    1. vdiv says:

      It was/still is too expensive and too “American” for the European tastes. Also the dealerships did not try to sell it all that much.

    2. Mikael says:

      Way too expensive. Even though the price has been cut by almost $20k since introduced it still cost MORE than 3 times as much as the gas car Opel Corsa.

      It’s a low price brand and not that popular outside Germany so the brand in itself is a hinder of getting the sales started.

      Those two combinations gave really low sales. And that is even before actually looking at the car (which in itself would have a hard time selling when looking at most aspects except the drivetrain).

  8. arne-nl says:

    The Ampera and it’s US sibling, the Volt, were selling really well here. Until the € 10k cheaper yet more functional (full rear seat!) Outlander PHEV appeared. A 15 k price cut apparently was not possible, so that was the end of the car in Europe. Survival of the fittest.

    When does the Outlander go on sale in the US?

  9. Andrei says:

    The price for the car with Ampera name is $5k – $10k bigger then for the same version with Volt written over it, this is the reason why Europeans do not buy Ampera.

  10. George CH says:

    yes if the european pricing would have been similar to the US it would have sold far better….

  11. Priusmaniac says:

    Only one and single reason why sales are low. If you sell shoes but with only one shoe in the box instead of the expected two, you won’t sell a lot. Similarly, if you sell an Ampera with only a partial backseat instead of a full backseat, you won’t sell a lot. It is that simple and come in with a vengeance in Europe where non full backseat are an extreme rarity.

    So the good news is that if the gen 2 indeed implements the triple five expectations, then the sales expectations will be higher than expected, a true reverse of the present situation.

    1. Spec9 says:

      Not a full backseat? Do you mean because it is a four-seater or because it is kinda hard for tall people to sit in the back?

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        Because it is a four seater and bar access to famillies.

  12. MrEnergyCzar says:

    Maybe the new 2016 loaded version of the Volt will look like the Ampera…

  13. Sieg says:

    If the Ampera would have cost under 30K Euro and if it would have been easier to get in and out virtually every one in mys circle of people is 6″ and if they really had tried to sell it who knows. It took me 2.5 month to arrange for a test drive and then they had to bring in a demonstrator from 500km away. I live near Bordeaux a reasonable sized city.

    Anyway I did not buy it as I do not need a second car but at frequently have to carry 4 people. So I bought A Citroen C4 Picasso, almost as quiet as an EV and does 60mls to the gallon and hopefully rather sooner then later someone will make an EV out of it.

    As for the Mitsu Outlander in France it costs
    about 60000.00 USD one might as well save for an Tesla.

  14. K-lein says:

    As many people have already stated above, the problem with the Ampera in Europe is one of price and the Opel brand. The car costs 40.000€, government incentives already deduced.

    It costs the same as very sporty and premium german cars, but the Opel brand is deeply anchored in the family/value segment.

    People with such an amount of money to spend on a car don’t even look at the Opel line-up, they go staight to Audi/BMW/Mercedes-Benz.
    And they would never know about it because Opel doesn’t advertise the car on TV (I’ve only seen a few small ads in magazines).

    You’ve got a situation where people who want the car can’t buy it becaus eit twice the price they can afford, and people who could buy it either don’t know about it, or socially can’t stand to be seen in a vehicle of such a low brand.

    1. David Stone says:

      I would generally agree.
      However, since the insignia, and to a lesser extent the new astra, the brand has gained a better image. I am seeing many in Munich, where I currently live, a place where opels are not liked.

      I think an electric insignia could sell well.

  15. Herto says:

    After the introduction of the Ampera into the market, Opel did almost no move to advertise or bring real visibility (no tv or radio ad, almost no paper or internet ad) knowledge of the Ampera. When almost noone knows the car exists, it is much harder to sell many of it.

  16. Derekosb says:

    I recently bought a Vauxhall Ampera as the price was dramatically reduced by one dealer group. After the £5k government grant and the dealer discount I got one for £22,995 which is on par with a Golf Bluemotion and therefore a much more realistic price.

    There are however only 24 dealers in the UK that actually sell the Ampera so unless Vauxhall (GM Brand in the UK) are interested in selling Ampera’s (and they really don’t seem bothered) sales will remain low and GM will miss out on the segment and it’s growing sales.