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Opel has received more than 7,000 orders for Volt cousin Ampera

Opel has so far received some 7,000 orders for the Ampera electric vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt’s European cousin. Opel said that the numbers surpassed its most optimistic expectations for this point in time.

Enno Fuchs, Opel’s e-mobility launch director, said that the Ampera sales target of 10,000 units for 2012 is “well within reach.” Customer deliveries, which began in February, are going according to plan, according to the company.

In the US, General Motors is suspending production of the Volt for five weeks starting 19 March, due to higher inventory than demand. GM is also suspending production of the Ampera, according to the report in the Detroit News.

The Ampera and the Volt were just voted “Car of the Year 2012” by a panel of judges in Geneva, made up of 59 leading automotive journalists from 23 European nations. The Opel Ampera / Chevrolet Volt tallied 330 points against VW Up (281) and Ford Focus (256).

Comments

Davemart

How the heck do GM reconcile suspending production with orders in Europe exceeding their most optimistic projections?
Their business strategy is just nuts.

mahonj

Gasoline is > $8 / US gallon in Europe.
That tends to concentrate people's minds on fuel economy.

Dave R

There are some rumors that GM is using the production shut down to make changes to the Volt line. Not sure if they're any more than that.

That said - GM can produce at least 1000 Volts or Amperas a week. Assume that GM can sell 2000 of each a month (annual sales around 24k units) and they still have a lot more capacity than sales.

Davemart

Since GM make much higher margins on the Ampera in Europe than on the Volt in the US one would have imagined that it is not beyonnd the wit of man to carry out a real sales push in Europe, so as to effectively own the plug in nybrid space before competitors like the pluf in Prius and Peugeot 3008 hit volume.
Perhaps they could even consider using some of the extra margin to reduce prices after the initial rush and maintain momentum.
It doesn't really sound like rocket science if sales are struggling in one market to switch emphasis to another where they are booming and margins are higher.

SJC

Volt production in the U.S. may pick up again, they are making them qualify for the California HOV lanes and the lease is a good deal, it will just take a bit more time.

Anthony F

I'd have to imagine there is something behind this shutdown more than just "letting supply and demand equalize" in light of 7000 people queued up to buy them in Europe. And GM seems to have done an Apple-like* job keeping the lid on any enhancements and developments to the Volt. If they were going to do something big (like cut price or enhance batteries or whatever) we probably wouldn't know until they announce it.

* judging by the iPad 3 leaks over the last month, I'd say GM is doing a better job than Apple at this point...

Bob Wallace

The anti-EV folks have been very busy with their distortion of the Volt battery "three weeks after the crash" fire incident.

They've added the bogus Tesla bricking story to their campaign.

I'm guessing that all that bogus negative publicity might have suppressed sales.

I don't think Europe suffers from the crappy media problems that our fossil fuel industry brings us.

SJC

They projected 10,000 units and sold about 7500, I don't think that is so bad, considering the economy and people's personal family finances.

I have seen people commenting on news sites about the Volt leases and they are happy. They save enough in gasoline expenses to pay part of the lease and the cars work fine.

Chad Snyder

Bob-

What about Volt sales before the battery incident was reported?

Both before the production line upgrade this summer and after -- but still before the fire story -- GM still seemed as if it was going to come up short of its 10,000 car forecast.

HOV access in California will help this year, as would a point of sale tax credit, but ultimately, costs have to come down for most consumers. As that happens the Volt will sell in greater numbers regardless of what the press claims.

Also, isn't electricity in the US created by the fossil fuel industry? Or do coal and natural gas get a pass?

Nick Lyons

I for one might consider a Volt if the tax credit were a cash rebate instead. Not everyone who might consider a Volt pays $7500 in income taxes.

Engineer-Poet

Chad, 29.9% of US electric generation came from carbon-free sources in 2010 (source: EIA).  The fraction for motor fuel was 0%; even the "renewables" are processed using fossil fuel.

ToppaTom

The headline says;
"Opel has received more than 7,000 orders for Volt cousin Ampera"

The article says;
"In the US, General Motors is suspending production of the Volt for five weeks starting 19 March, due to higher inventory than demand. GM is also suspending production of the Ampera, according to the report in the Detroit News.

They have a future headline ready;
"GM reveals the enhanced sustainable Volt program"

The article might say;
"GM recalls Volts; will crush and recycle them into new Chinese Regals"

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