Could Opel Ampera Outsell Its Sibling The 2012 Chevrolet Volt?

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Amidst much gnashing of teeth over sales of the Chevrolet Volt electric car, a couple of bright spots have emerged.

First, orders for the 2012 Opel Ampera--the Volt's European sibling--have already reached 7,000, out of a projected total of 10,000 Amperas sold for all of 2012.

The orders may have been helped by the Ampera's win as European Car of the Year, the first U.S.-built car ever to earn that prestigious title.

But they came before news that five Amperas would enter the Monte Carlo Rally in the Alternative Energy competition.

Deliveries of the Opel Ampera, which is built on the same line in GM's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant as the Volt, began last month.

Second, an analysis by CNW Research indicates that car buyers are less negative about the Volt--most likely because the NHTSA has closed its investigation into a battery-pack fire in a Volt three weeks after it was destroyed in a crash test conducted by the agency.

The Congressional hearing at which GM CEO Dan Akerson was interrogated over Volt safety by Rep. Darryl Issa [R-CA] has also faded from memory.

And since December, GM communications staff have been loaning out Volts for up to a week to potential buyers or those who were misinformed about the car and how it works.

We'll be eagerly waiting to see what March sales figures come in for the Volt.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Enlarge Photo

Last month, Chevy sold 1,023 Volts, its highest total in several months. According to GM's Shad Balch, it had already passed that number by March 20. Keep your ears open on Monday, April 2, when sales totals for March are reported.

Oh, and to answer the question in our headline: No, we don't think the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera will outsell the Chevy Volt.

Remember that Chevrolet Volts are also sold in Europe, and they too have started to rack up some numbers. The Chevy brand is still new there, and viewed as quite down-market by European buyers, so a range-extended electric car may be more of a stretch for Chevy over there.

But even if Opel were to sell 15,000 Amperas rather than 10,000, we suspect that U.S. Volt sales for 2012 will equal or beat that higher number.

As they say, stay tuned for more.


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Comments (9)
  1. So when will we get exact sales numbers from Europe, country-by-country, for BOTH the Chevy Volt as well as the Opel Ampera -- and any other model, as it may be?

  2. Looks like Europe's gain will be America's loss.

    Our politicians clearly have more important things on their minds than slagging off the Volt/Ampera.

    Also with Petrol at 9USD per gallon here there is a much better business case to buy a Volt, wide spread availability of 50+mpg Diesel cars not withstanding.

    There certainly is a new world order and it is called globalisation, if GM can't sell the car in the USA they have plenty of other options through their global network.

    The citizens of Hamtramck will be happy even if if Rush Limbaugh is not.

  3. Canada didn't get enough allocations of the Volt - Quebec dealers need more to support sales there. With $5.50 USD gas in Quebec and some parts of Ontario - how about more Volts are exported to Canada? Seems easy enough with Canada's rail service.

  4. It seems to be a given already with 7000 Euro sales. Clearly the Republican Party, Fox News, and Limbaugh have won the day in USA. I expect they are very proud of themselves for destroying the most innovative car to come out of Detroit ever. GM should ship all the Volts it can to countries that actually want them.

  5. Interesting thought. Americans think Germany and Japan build the best cars. But when they learned that Europeans liked the Cruze, this made the Cruze a desirable car. GM should learn from this, and introduce all new models in Europe and other countries first, then sell the models that were successful in the USA. If foreigners like it, it must be good. GM could include Canada as part of the foreign roll-out countries so then if an American wanted to buy the latest cutting edge, they could just buy it in Canada and drive it back.

  6. @Roy: Actually, I suspect the vast majority of U.S. Cruze buyers have no earthly idea that it's also sold elsewhere, including Asia and Europe. They view it simply as the (much, much improved) successor to the not-very-good Chevy Cobalt. And I'm not sure how closely you follow the auto industry, but in fact GM and Ford are in the process of moving rapidly to one set of "architectures" globally, meaning that the same product (with about 20% local variation) gets built all over the world--especially in compact and smaller cars, where the cost savings from that volume are crucial to making any money on them.

  7. To John Voelcker and others,

    Here is link to a very interesting video discussion about the Volt on Fox News. All Volt Haters need to watch this for sure.

    Could the Chevrolet Volt help win the war on terror ?

    March 26, 2012 The above headline is not our question, but one posed by Fox News, which gave a fair platform to Texas media executive Lee Spieckerman to share from a conservative viewpoint why the Volt should make sense to all Americans.

  8. Wow! A really positive review on the Volt from Fox!
    There's hope for the US yet.

  9. They only sold 17 Amperas in Germany last month. I doubt they'll sell in the thousands as they do here. Gas is expensive but so is electricity plus other options exist, especially when you need to drop $60K on the car.

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