It’s been one of the hottest cars of the 2015 auto show season, going from a concept car at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show to one which had the green-light for production by the Chicago Auto Show a month later.
Now it appears the Chevrolet Bolt, General Motors’ first long-range electric car, might just be heading to Europe when production starts late in 2016/early 2017, wearing an Opel/Vauxhall badge.
The rumour, viaAutomotive News Europe (subscription required) and courtesy of insiders at GM, suggests that initial sales volumes would be kept low to properly assess market demand and response.
Given GM’s past history with plug-in cars in Europe, that’s hardly surprising. Back in 2012 following the massive success of its first-generation Chevrolet Volt range-extended electric car in its home market of North America, GM introduced a rebadged version of the Chevrolet Volt into the European market called the Opel Ampera. Identical to the Volt in most respects, it wore redesigned fenders and offered identical functionality to the Volt, but in a package that was deemed more appealing to European tastes.
In a few European markets, GM also sold the Chevrolet Volt in its original guise, offering customers the choice between the Opel Ampera (Vauxhall Ampera in the UK) or Chevrolet Volt.
Priced higher than the all-electric Nissan LEAF in Europe and only capable of seating four, both the Volt and Ampera suffered poor sales volume, leaving GM to pull both models out of the European market.
At the time that withdrawal was announced, Opel/Vauxhall CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann hinted that while Europeans wouldn’t get the second-generation Chevrolet Volt when it launched in 2015, they would get a European-market all-electric model.
Most, including us, had presumed this model would be an all-electric version of the all-new Opel Karl city car — sold in the UK as the Vauxhall Viva — but sources talking to Automotive News say they believe GM is now more likely to bring a rebadged Chevy Bolt to Europe rather than an electrified version of the brand new subcompact.
That said, we feel it’s important to note here that the Chevrolet Bolt and the Opel Kadet are both built on the GM G2SC platform — the next-generation of GM’s subcompact Gamma platform — along with the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Sonic.
While that doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily see the Bolt’s drivetrain and battery pack put inside the Kadet, it does tell us that it is at least possible, since the G2SC platform, as with many next-generation car platforms, has been designed with modular manufacturing and multiple drivetrains in mind.
Do you think the Bolt will head to Europe? Would you like to own one? Or do you worry that Europeans will baulk at the likely €27,000 sticker price?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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