Aug 11

Opel CEO shares details about present and next-generation Ampera in UK and Europe

 

The 2012 Vauxhall/Opel Ampera allocation is reportedly 70-percent pre-sold, and Opel’s CEO has already given significant information and hints about the second-generation Ampera to go on sale in 2015.

This news came from the UK’s Autocar last week, in which Opel CEO Nick Reilly spoke of plans to gain greater acceptance for the limited-availability cars, even as he said the Ampera’s replacement will cost less, be more radically styled, and an implicitly better-executed design.

“We have an education job to do on the technology in the Vauxhall Ampera, but that will come in time,” Reilly said. “We hope that this first car will establish itself as a market leader, and we’ll be able to capitalise on that with a cheaper, more expressively designed second-generation model.”


Vauxhall Ampera.

Reilly said among 10,000 units pending for 2012, fleet accounts have spoken for 75 percent of the 7,000 Amperas pre-sold thus far.

The first-generation car is on sale now, and the UK offers consumers a £5,000 ($8,142) grant, which yields a net selling price of £28,995 ($47,215).

The cost of the battery is reported to account for £7000 ($11,400) of the Ampera’s selling price, and it is estimated its production cost will be lopped in half by 2015.

Considering that GM has a no-talk-about-future-production policy for the Volt in the U.S., the degree of revelation from its European CEO is significant. If this report is reliable, and we have no reason to believe it is not, what he says about the Ampera being improved and launched in 2015 could be considered fodder to speculate what this means for the U.S. Volt.

Speculation about the Volt’s future selling price based on Euro/UK price decreases may not be as well founded however. Reasons why the prices are what they are in Europe and the UK are due to some factors that affect U.S. prices (like production cost), as well as factors unique to those export markets.

Part of the reason European and UK prices are higher, aside from the Value Added Tax which is not going away, is import costs. To eventually bring prices lower, it is expected economies of scale and saving money by building the vehicles in Europe and the UK will bring costs and selling price down.

For now, the Volt are Ampera are built at Detroit-Hamtramck and shipped over, partially eroding their net lifetime fuel and emissions savings in the process.

Vauxhall/Opel intends to gauge sales and market viability before committing to manufacturing domestically.

Reilly called the first-generation Ampera a “non-profit car,” but a worthy sacrifice toward gaining a leg up in the development of range-extended vehicles.

Assuming progress goes as planned, the Volt/Ampera will be manufactured somewhere in Europe for the Opel line, and Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port on Merseyside plant is the leading contender to win the contract for the UK-built cars.

Autocar reported also on the Ampera’s future styling. It said “insiders” have said the built-in-a-hurry first-gen Ampera is a bit more conservative than some might have liked, as it is essentially a restyled Volt built following the GM bankruptcy. We do not know if “insiders” is a cloaked reference to an off-the-record comment by Reilly, or others at GM.


The Vaxhall Zafira Tourer Concept may lend inspiration for the makeover of the 2015 Ampera sedan.

In any case, it is being said that the Ampera’s cutting-edge technology and unique branding will be better showcased in the second-generation 2015 model, which will take styling cues from the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer Concept.

That vehicle was shown this year at the Geneva motor show, and the UK publication described it as having “a more familiar Vauxhall family look” as well as a design that highlights advanced development.

We are unsure exactly what interior or exterior styling cues from the crossover type concept would lends themselves well to an advanced-tech sporty compact sedan, or that the Zafira Tourer even looks more high-tech to our American eyes, but this is the story as it was told.

Reilly did say the Ampera’s powertrain is scalable to make it workable in a variety of other vehicle types. This statement prompted speculation that a range of Amperas could be in the offing.

As we said earlier, this Autocar report could be fodder to guess what it will mean for the U.S. Volt’s future pricing and specifications.

That was the case yesterday in Australia where it was reported that the rarely mentioned Holden Volt’s price could drop by generation two. Its pricing has not even been disclosed yet for Oz, but it is believed the Volt could ring up for almost as much as the $61,990AUD ($63,493USD) Caprice. This was the word from an Australian publication that also caught wind of Autocar’s UK report, and interpreted it as news for the Holden-badged Volt.


That’s a Holden Volt, mate.

We attempted to get more information on the Holden Volt yesterday, but while GM replied to other questions, its spokesman neglected to talk about Holden.

As for supply to Europe and the UK, even though GM’s EREVs are only just now going on sale, Reilly said there will not be enough of them.

“It looks like we’ll get an allocation of 10,000 cars next year, but the demand is so strong that we are trying to get some more.”

As GM-Volt readers know, we have tried to get GM to comment on just such a scenario – that is, whether it could or would increase production if needed after an extra shift comes online at Detroit-Hamtramck later this year, and it is well on its way to producing 60,000 worldwide Volts and Amperas next year.

GM responded that it was not able to discuss such hypothetical matters.

Autocar

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 11th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 37


  1. 1
    Mark Z

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (6:44 am)

    If GM ran Apple, then Apple stock might be at the same price as GM stock. 10,000 vehicles is a crying shame when 70% have been pre-sold before any have been shipped. The reason may be due to the “non-profit car” possibility. GM could raise the price. The first generation Apple products were not profitless.


  2. 2
    kdawg

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (8:30 am)

    What do the charge cords that come w/the Ampera look like? I can imagine, but curious if there’s pics.


  3. 3
    Nelson

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (8:39 am)

    GM needs to start incorporating a lot more than just the Volts steering wheel in their other vehicles. Adding Volt components to the rest of the line will increase volume and reduce costs.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  4. 4
    T 1

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (9:35 am)

    “Reilly said among 10,000 units pending for 2012, fleet accounts have spoken for 75 percent of the 7,000 Amperas pre-sold thus far.”

    Another data point indicating that fleet sales could/should be a focus for Voltec–remember GE’s huge ‘order’. I don’t know who handles such sales at GM, but I hope they’re go-getters.


  5. 5
    kdawg

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (10:00 am)

    If Europe builds their Amperas, will they still source the batteries from the Brownstown plant in MI?


  6. 6
    kdawg

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (10:16 am)

    Jeff Cobb, whats your email address again? I think theres a big story today, but dont want to post anything if you are already on it.

    Edit: i sent it to jcobb@verticalscope.com


  7. 7
    Loboc

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (10:20 am)

    Interesting comment about scalability.

    Recently, GM announced that they are drastically reducing the number of passenger car platforms. I think this was all started well before their bankruptcy. I read something (maybe in one of Lutz’ books) that they were globalizing the entire fleet and reducing the numbers of design shops worldwide. (A Wagner effort.) This implies that GM would use globalized platforms for all their product lines.

    I see no reason that the Voltec platform couldn’t be used for any size car/CUV. It certainly has enough power/torque to handle larger vehicles. Next gen batteries could be designed to not intrude into the passenger compartment so much since they will be significantly smaller for the same power output.


  8. 8
    DonC

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (10:22 am)

    One piece of good news, not unexpected here, is that GM is working on a Gen II!

    Personally I’m more interested in “better” than I am in “cheaper” but from a sales volume the Volt will need to get cheaper. “Cheaper and better” would be good.

    I was worried about the percentage of fleet sales. Here in the US fleet sales are usually bottom feeding events, but someone in the forums explained to me that fleet sales in the EU are quite different. Companies buy cars for their employees as perks, so the fleet sales are a measure of consumer demand for a given model.

    I like what Ampera is doing with the front end but I can’t say that I find the Zafira to be more appealing than the Volt. Could just be me. This holds true of the interior as well, with the exception that the Zafira has layers in the central console. You can slide the layers back as well as open them. This gives you considerably more storage space and is pretty cool.


  9. 9
    DonC

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (10:29 am)

    Loboc: Recently, GM announced that they are drastically reducing the number of passenger car platforms.

    Interesting point. The idea is to reduce the number of platforms AND powertrains. GM thinks this is the key to Toyota’s success. It sells the same vehicles all around the world so the development costs are lower.

    I think there are some limitations on how well the Volt platform scales. They could make it longer and have it be a six seater. Shorter might be a problem.


  10. 10
    jeffhre

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (10:44 am)

    DonC,

    The Volt is already based on the global Delta platform.


  11. 11
    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (10:48 am)

    kdawg,

    Thanks kdawg. I emailed you back.


  12. 12
    DonC

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (11:15 am)

    jeffhre: The Volt is already based on the global Delta platform.

    There is a difference between Voltec and the basic platform of the car. Both have to work. For example, could you move the Voltec platform to the rear wheel Zeta platform? Probably not. The Delta platform used for the Volt is also used for FWD crossover SUVs, which means it would be simple to use the Delta platform for an EREV CUV. However, the Voltec platform with the existing battery pack and motors and planetary gearset might not be powerful enough such a vehicle or it might not lend itself to being packaged for a CUV.


  13. 13
    taser54

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (11:22 am)

    Mark Z,

    Absurd comparison. Apple has made a living selling less than cutting edge products in order to make a profit. Only recently has Apple been able to have the buying power to provide higher spec products at cheaper prices than the competition (Ipad, Iphone).

    Here, we have GM producing a cutting edge product. The penalty for a cutting edge product is high component prices and the fact that you can only sell a car for so much before it is priced out of the market. So GM is taking it slow, to maintain quality AND working to reduce component prices. The current battery is the biggest price factor in the car, but producing more of them will not appreciably reduce the production costs. Barring a revolution by LG in battery production, look for GM to transition to a different battery design to reduce costs.


  14. 14
    CorvetteGuy

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (11:26 am)

    “It looks like we’ll get an allocation of 10,000 cars next year, but the demand is so strong that we are trying to get some more.”

    Oh, we know that feeling very well. (((…sigh…)))


  15. 15
    Nelson

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (12:06 pm)

    kdawg: Jeff Cobb, whats your email address again? I think theres a big story today, but dont want to post anything if you are already on it.

    Is that big story about A123?

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  16. 16
    Islander

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (12:25 pm)

    I like the Ampera front end better than the Volt. But I can’t afford either one of them. Its a moot point…


  17. 17
    Steverino

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (12:57 pm)

    taser54: Mark Z,
    Absurd comparison.Apple has made a living selling less than cutting edge products….

    Hilarious. The Mac UI, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, the App Store, iPad.

    My definition of cutting edge is different than yours and the Volt fits squarely in my definition in the same way that Apple products do: Innovative use of existing and new tech presented in an appealing package with exceptional attention to detail, fit and finish. Often one step ahead of consumer demand, but which consumers respond to.

    Few could understand the need or purpose of the iPad when it was announced. It did not fit into existing product models as it was some of this and some of that. It was pronounced a failure far and wide. Then people started buying them and a whole new industry was born.

    I think the Volt has many points in common. It’s unique drive train is some of this and some of that, it does not fit nicely in existing product models, it was (and still is to some degree) widely denounced as a failure, it is somewhat ahead of where the market is, but it is proving very popular with it’s customers.

    The key difference is lack of availability and the time it is taking GM to ramp up production to meet the demand. Apple has had similar issues, but I am sure ramping up production for it’s products is easier than it is for a car. That said, Apple is notorious for buying up critical components ahead of the curve to deny them to competitors, whether it be memory, displays, etc. If it was GM, it would have bought out LG’s battery production to prevent competitor’s (such as Ford) from having enough battery’s for it’s Focus. Of course GM does not have Apples cash reserves. Then again, neither does the US government!

    I think GM will have a few surprises for use in 2013 or so. Can’t wait to see what they do with GenII, both here and in Europe.


  18. 18
    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (1:03 pm)

    Loboc: Interesting comment about scalability.

    Recently, GM announced that they are drastically reducing the number of passenger car platforms. I think this was all started well before their bankruptcy. I read something (maybe in one of Lutz’ books) that they were globalizing the entire fleet and reducing the numbers of design shops worldwide. (A Wagner effort.) This implies that GM would use globalized platforms for all their product lines.

    I see no reason that the Voltec platform couldn’t be used for any size car/CUV. It certainly has enough power/torque to handle larger vehicles. Next gen batteries could be designed to not intrude into the passenger compartment so much since they will be significantly smaller for the same power output.

    I caught that too Loboc but to me it meant that they would scale the Voltec power train…ie like scale up the transmission and ICE and electric motors etc. I just can’t see them doing that now however.


  19. 19
    DonC

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (2:29 pm)

    kdawg: I think theres a big story today, but dont want to post anything if you are already on it.

    Would covering this story be as easy as 123?


  20. 20
    kdawg

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (2:32 pm)

    Steverino: Few could understand the need or purpose of the iPad when it was announced. It did not fit into existing product models as it was some of this and some of that. It was pronounced a failure far and wide. Then people started buying them and a whole new industry was born.

    I would like a smaller Ipad, but bigger than an Iphone, with a docking station in my Volt.

    Also, did you notice how a lot of car dealers are giving away Ipads if you buy a car?


  21. 21
    kdawg

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (2:32 pm)

    DonC,

    bingo


  22. 22
    jeffhre

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (3:04 pm)

    DonC: The Delta platform used for the Volt is also used for FWD crossover SUVs, which means it would be simple to use the Delta platform for an EREV CUV.

    That would be nice. Even better if they first made enough Volts and Amperas to satisfy the demand that was apparent from the evidence here on this site. Let alone expanding the market and getting beyond early adopters.

    (((…sigh…)))

    CorvetteGuy: “It looks like we’ll get an allocation of 10,000 cars next year, but the demand is so strong that we are trying to get some more.”

    Oh, we know that feeling very well. (((…sigh…)))

    CorvetteGuy, there is always gen II…


  23. 23
    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (3:28 pm)

    poster1.jpg


  24. 24
    Noel Park

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (3:46 pm)

    kdawg: Jeff Cobb, whats your email address again? I think theres a big story today, but dont want to post anything if you are already on it.

    #6

    Well now there’s a teaser if I ever saw one, LOL. Why should you be different from everybody else LMAO?

    #18 & #20 -

    OK, now it starts to leak out. I kind of figured it would if I kept on working down the thread.

    Oops, don’t look now, but I think that Jason just spilled the beans on the forum, hahaha.


  25. 25
    Dave K.

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (3:52 pm)

    Whether it’s a Volt or an Ampera on order. You’ll be happy with it.

    No Plug, No Sale


  26. 26
    George S. Bower

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (4:37 pm)

    DonC: Would covering this story be as easy as 123?

    Good one DonC.
    Ahhh is it A123??


  27. 27
    WopOnTour

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (4:56 pm)

    Speaking of big stories,
    For those that havn’t heard
    Rumor has it the Cadillac Converj was moved to the front burner today!
    :)
    WOT


  28. 28
    JeffB

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (5:19 pm)

    I wonder if GM will let you pick…A123 or LG? Will a price difference exist? The battery pack is not just “another part” on a vehicle. For instance at one time, the Saturn Vue had the option of a GM or Honda engine. Just speculating…


  29. 29
    DonC

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (6:04 pm)

    George S. Bower: Ahhh is it A123??

    I thought it was — and I was right — but I’m thinking the bigger story is WOT’s “Converj Greenlighted”. Both stories are interesting but as a consumer the Converj story will no doubt get the blood flowing a bit faster! LOL


  30. 30
    DonC

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (6:07 pm)

    kdawg: bingo

    You are definitely wired in on the supply chain!


  31. 31
    HaroldC

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (7:02 pm)

    does anyone know the engine speed of the volt’s genset ? does it follow the pedal or run a constant rpm or does it have different speeds for different applications…like passing another vehicle ?
    l am very discouraged that it is taking so long to get these cars out….hope l live long enough to enjoy one……sigh
    harold in canada


  32. 32
    Roy_H

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (7:32 pm)

    I think the A123 is a better fit for the Two-Mode hybrid. I would not expect to see any show up in the Voltech designs such as the Converje.


  33. 33
    DonC

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (7:38 pm)

    HaroldC: does it follow the pedal or run a constant rpm or does it have different speeds for different applications…like passing another vehicle ?

    I’m not one to ask. After about 3000 miles I’ve used 3 gallons of gas, so I’m hardly an expert in how the ICE runs!

    Having said that, it can run at several sweet spots and doesn’t necessarily track the power demand as reflected in the pedal. Some people find this odd, like a bad CVT. It also runs hard at higher RPMs right after the battery is depleted. Whether you find this to be true is somewhat personal. The times I’ve been driving and the ICE has come on the only way I could tell was the display. This is pretty common.


  34. 34
    Dave K.

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (8:26 pm)

    WopOnTour: Rumor has it the Cadillac Converj was moved to the front burner today!

    converj4.jpg

    Push the electric motor up to 180 HP and this one is a winner. Hope the rumor pans out.

    No Plug, No Sale!


  35. 35
    Raymondjram

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (9:00 pm)

    Dave K.:

    Push the electric motor up to 180 HP and this one is a winner. Hope the rumor pans out.

    Adding more power to the motor is easy. That can cut down on the CD range. Building a world class EV is the hardest part. Selling it as a world class EV is the next hardest.

    I wish GM and Cadillac all the success it deserves. I will try for the next winning lottery jackpot so I can but it before I get too old to drive.

    Raymond


  36. 36
    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (9:43 pm)

    I know Nasaman likes to say this, but he seems to be absent tonight, so I’ll say it for him, and second the emotion at the same time. Sell the Ampera in the US as an import. To steal a line from Chrysler…”imported from Detroit.” And keep hold mode, hey EPA, it’s an import.


  37. 37
    Truman

     

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    Aug 11th, 2011 (10:11 pm)

    Nelson: GM needs to start incorporating a lot more than just the Volts steering wheel in their other vehicles.Adding Volt components to the rest of the line will increase volume and reduce costs.

    NPNS! Volt#671

    The Volt shares it’s 1.4 liter four cylinder engine with the Chevy Cruze (but the Cruze adds a turbocharger).

    I’ve heard they designed low-power windshield wipers, audio systems, and air conditioning systems (so there is less energy draw on the batteries), and that they intend to use them on the Cruze and other models. This will lead to economies of scale (Cruze sells hundreds of thousands of units per year) and better gasoline MPG on the cars that use it (on non-Volts, they are powered by the battery which is then charged by an alternator by the gas engine ICE, or directly by the engine, such as by belts – so, the less power needed, the less gasoline used).

    As Volt production picks up, all these parts will get more refined, and cheaper. And the more other models they can use parts on, the better for everyone.