Later this year, as promised by GM some months ago, its range-extended Chevrolet Volt electric car will cease European sales as part of a wider withdrawal of the Chevrolet brand from Europe, with only its European sibling — the Opel (Vauxhall) Ampera remaining on sale Europe-wide.
Yet from 2016, sources close to General Motors Claim, even the Ampera will be withdrawn from the market due to poor sales figures across Europe.
That’s according to Automotive News(subscription required), which cites two people ‘close to the company’s plans’ who say that the Ampera will die an early death some time next year.
The Ampera, which is mechanically identical to Chevy’s top plug-in, wears different body panels to the Volt in an attempt to make the range-extended plug-in hybrid more appealing to European buyers. But with Ampera sales plummeting across the whole of Europe and GM’s European arms resorting to quirky publicity stunts to drum up interest for the plug-in, the parent company appears to have had enough.
When the Chevrolet Volt is given a ground-up refresh for the U.S. 2016 model year, the Ampera will be dropped, say insiders.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the Ampera will be dropped, either. Back in April, Autocar claimed that the Ampera wouldn’t be getting a refresh the same time as its U.S. cousin, while we’ve noticed the Ampera slowly and quietly disappearing from Vauxhall forecourts across the U.K.
What’s more, cars which have been sat at dealerships for months are now having their prices slashed to compete with more popular cars like the all-electric Nissan LEAF.
While neither Vauxhall nor Opel are willing to confirm the rumors publicly, both are similarly quiet on the subject of a second-generation car. In a marketplace where the versatility of the five-seat hatchback is king, the American-inspired Ampera is considered too large and its range too limited for most car buyers.
Then there’s image. With the Opel (and the Vauxhall) brands suffering a major image crisis among car buyers, many plug-in car buyers are opting for better known, more trusted brands like Nissan, Toyota, BMW, and Volkswagen. With some of those rival brands offering better equipped plug-in cars for less, it’s no wonder the Ampera is struggling to sell — even if it is being viewed as some within the industry as being the car that could turn the ailing european brand around.
Here at Transport Evolved, we try to clearly draw the line between hearsay and fact, but multiple different sources pointing to the axing of the Ampera in the coming year, we suspect this particular rumor has a healthy dose of reality behind it.
Given the fact that preparing a car for multiple markets is extremely costly for automakers, there’s no logicality for GM to spend millions of dollars homologating the second-generation Volt for a European market where it isn’t selling well. It makes far more sense to focus on making the second-generation 2016 Volt perfect for the market where it sells the best: the U.S. one.
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