Late last year, General Motors announced it would pull the Chevrolet brand out of Europe completely by 2017, citing poor sales figures and the fact that many Chevrolet-branded products were competing directly with more popular Vauxhall and Opel branded European variants.
As a result, the Chevrolet Volt — only sold by three licensed dealers in the UK and similarly unloved across the EU — was among the cars axed for Europe.
At the time we were told its mechanically identical sibling, the Vauxhall/Opel Ampera, would live on in Europe as GM’s plug-in offering. Now it seems that GM could send the current model Ampera the same way as the European Volt, replacing it with a more market-specific model when GM brings its second-generation Volt to market in the U.S.
That’s what Autocar is hinting with the report that German dealers are being told that a ‘next generation’ Ampera would be smaller and more affordable than the current Ampera.
Given the fact that early spy shots of the next-generation Volt appear to show a car which is similarly-sized to the current model, and we’ve been told by various sources that the next-generation Volt will be built on the same platform as the Chevy Cruze, we think that the U.S. Volt and the next-generation Ampera could end up being completely different cars.
As Autocar explains, GM’s plans to produce a lighter, cheaper version of the Volt — most likely smaller than the U.S.-market second-generation model — could fit in well with what German dealers are being told. A smaller Volt-like model would likely also be more appealing to European buyers, many of whom have been put off buying the current generation Volt/Ampera due to their U.S. size and styling.
Autocar says that Vauxhall UK has reiterated its commitment to the Ampera in its current guise, but notes an absence of commitment on the car moving forward.
Given sales are so poor, we can’t help but wonder if this means the Ampera will be gone in the UK for good, with the name living on as a mainland European, LHD only model moving forward, adapted from a smaller version of the cheaper, Volt-like car GM is promising for the U.S.
But what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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