Jun 28

Opel Ampera dominates European EV sales in May

 

This week Opel announced that the Ampera – its sibling to the Chevy Volt – was Europe’s best-selling electric passenger vehicle with a continent-wide market share of over 20 percent.

The results are a combined total of UK-based Vaxhall-badged Amperas, and the European Opel variety, according to Opel’s Christopher Rux, coordinator, product and brand communications Europe.

The Ampera is actually sold in most European countries. Specifically, in the first quarter of 2012, it went on sale in Germany, Benelux, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, Rux said, adding sales in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, and Norway “will follow shortly.”

 

In April, right-hand drive versions for the UK were introduced and this month, sales begin in Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia.

Opel noted particular examples of regional market dominance, especially in the Netherlands where public sentiment – and government incentives – favor this class of car so much so that Rux said the Ampera even dominated hybrid sales.

“In the Netherlands, we were able to sell not only more Amperas than every other EV, but also more than every hybrid competitor,” he said.

In all, the Ampera took more than 77 percent of the passenger EV market share in May. In a statement, Opel noted this made the Ampera “the undisputed leader of its segment by a wide margin with all the other competitors only managing single figure percentages.”

Further, Opel noted, the average year to date market share for the Ampera in the Netherlands was more than 50 percent, “underscoring its continuing popularity there.”

“We are proud that we are the number one in Europe. Our sales data and customer feedback confirms that we are definitely on the right track with the Ampera”, said Enno Fuchs, Opel’s e-mobility launch director in the statement. “Especially in markets with governmental incentives like the Netherlands we have performed very well.”

Then again, you can interpret Netherlands dominance for what it’s worth, as the Netherlands has apparently stacked the deck in a way American EV advocates could only wish for. The Netherlands also happens to stringently tax gas guzzling luxury cars to such a sales-numbing degree, that American start-up Fisker’s extended-range electric – thus guzzler tax exempt – Karma was the Netherlands’ second-highest selling luxury sedan in May. Due to the pro-EV economic climate there, it was able to beat established offerings including the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes S-Class, Audi R8, and only being topped by the Porsche Panamera.

But the Netherlands was not the only place the Opel Ampera did well on a percentage basis. It was also the best-selling EV in Germany with a share of more than 33 percent in May, and in Switzerland it took 44 percent.

The sales are the result of Opel/Vauxhall opening up the pre-ordering process all the way back in July 2011. The car could exceed its 10,000 unit allocation this year, thus possibly besting the U.S.-based Volt in its first year of sales, although Rux said more benignly that “we expect sales to land between 7,000-10,000 units in 2012.”

In any case, its achievements will potentially be made in less than a full selling year. Customer deliveries did not start until the end of February, and as mentioned, the Ampera was only just launched in some markets more recently.

“From January (the majority of deliveries and registrations began end of February) to May 2012, around 2,300 Opel/Vauxhall Amperas have been registered in total Europe,” said Rux, “which makes us the clear number one selling electric passenger car in Europe and the numbers are continuously increasing, as there were in Jan-Mar 982, in April 499 and in May 803 registered Amperas.”

Rux also clarified which vehicles Opel/Vauhall measured the Ampera against in determining its measure of success.

“We compared our Opel Ampera with the entire European electric passenger vehicle segment,” he said. “The major competitors of the Ampera within this entire segment are Nissan Leaf, Bollore Bluecar, Renault Fluence, Peugeot iOn, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Citroen C-Zero, MIA electric, smart fortwo ed, Chevy Volt and Tesla Roadster.”

With the exception of the anomaly in the Netherlands, Opel/Vauxhall did not compare to hybrid or commercial electric vehicles.

Auto_Express_Ampera 
Just yesterday the Ampera received Auto Express magazine’s Green Award 2012 to add to its collection of top honors.

General Motor’s sibling to the Volt has also racked up more than 50 national and international awards and overall, this latest news is all just reinforcement for what we’ve been hearing since last fall as GM was preparing for this year’s European launch of Amperas and Volts.

We don’t know if GM will supply more Amperas if demand proves it warranted, but it appears likely, based on Rux’s response to a question of whether they will get more Amperas if they sell through the first year supply of 10,000?

“Why certainly! But we always said hat 10,000 is our goal,” he said.

Also noteworthy is the Ampera has seemingly escaped the greater brunt of antagonism faced by its American counterpart. Here, the Volt has had to bypass a public relations gauntlet in the form of politicized arguments against its subsidization or very existence, not to mention a partisan and over-blown federal battery investigation and occasional unique spinning of other facts besides.

As is the case for the 2013 American-market Volt, Opel/Vauxhall expects to have 2013 model year Amperas generally available for customer order by August, with some countries not receiving the updated model until October.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2012 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: 33


  1. 1
    Kup

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (7:39 am)

    Hey Jeff,

    Nice article but to put it in a little bit of context do you have the sales figures for the EV competitors as well? It’s nice to dominate the market but the EV volume is so low it’s not exactly saying tons but I would rather see the Volt/Ampera dominate than not.

    OT: If you are taking suggestions for future articles I would love to see an article about the battery testing facility and battery development in general. Lyle had access to the lady that was the head of the battery department (she has since left GM) and it would be interesting to hear the perspective from her replacement, to see what batteries they are testing, to see what kind of advancements have been made in battery technology since 2010 when the first Volts came out, and what this portends for future Volts, ELRs, and the eventual CUV/SUV model.


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    Jun 28th, 2012 (8:02 am)

    This is great news. As Europeans accept the Volt, I think more Americans will realize it is a desirable car. After all many Americans think only BMW and Lexus can build great cars, so if the Volt does well in BMW-land then that says a lot.

    I can’t repeat this often enough… GM you NEED to bring out Voltec technology in many more models. More choice will generate many more sales, and that in turn will reduce costs.


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    Loboc

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (8:22 am)

    So Prius does not sell in Europe? Or Honda? Or Buick?


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    Jean-Charles Jacquemin

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (8:22 am)

    Hi Jeff, Hi Roy,

    Just a remark, a lot of BMW drivers (and Audi’s too) came by me when I was at the wheel of my Ampera to ask my impressions. A lot of them said : “this will be my next car” …starting with my daughter’s boss who drives BMW 5s who said after having driven my Ampera and speaking about his last purchase : “this the last fuel only car that I bought” .

    best regards,

    JC NPNS


  5. 5
    ziv

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (8:55 am)

    Real sale/registrations numbers! Thanks, Jeff!
    And they aren’t bad, I figure January through April are filled with teething issues, so the 803 for May seems interesting. That is also around 20% of late winter/early spring production levels at Hamtramck. Apparently 60% of Ampera sales are fleet while less than 20% of Volt sales are, not entirely sure why, but i wouldn’t be surprised that there won’t be more differences between North American and European developments regarding EREVs/BEVs.
    But if they have 7,000 paid deposits they are going to start building more Amperas!


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    kdawg

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (9:09 am)

    “With the exception of the anomaly in the Netherlands, Opel/Vauxhall did not compare to hybrid or commercial electric vehicles.”
    —————-

    What’s a “commercial electric vehicle”?


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    kdawg

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (9:11 am)

    Kup: Lyle had access to the lady that was the head of the battery department (she has since left GM) and it would be interesting to hear the perspective from her replacement, to see what batteries they are testing, to see what kind of advancements have been made in battery technology since 2010 when the first Volts came out, and what this portends for future Volts, ELRs, and the eventual CUV/SUV model.

    That was Denise Gray. I’d also like to hear from her on her new battery endeavors. I forget the company she went to.


  8. 8
    kdawg

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (9:13 am)

    I’m glad sales are taking off in Europe. Even w/the Volt siblings costing more overseas than here in the US, they are still popular. I guess that goes to show what taxing gas can do. Unfortunately, gas prices in the US keep going lower. I hope this doesn’t stall EV sales.


  9. 9
    George S. Bower

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (9:26 am)

    I see the percentages but where is the total??????????????

    Did I miss it??


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    George S. Bower

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (9:31 am)

    Ooops I see it now.


  11. 11
    Raymondjram

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (10:38 am)

    kdawg:
    I’m glad sales are taking off in Europe.Even w/the Volt siblings costing more overseas than here in the US, they are still popular.I guess that goes to show what taxing gas can do.Unfortunately, gas prices in the US keep going lower.I hope this doesn’t stall EV sales.

    I agree that taxing gas is needed to reduce oil consumption, and motivate EV sales. The tax collected can be used for more EV development and research, especially for battery and electric drivetrain improvements, but it may be more useful as rebates for EV purchases.

    This will help EVs do more good for reducing transportation costs than reducing gas prices. If the rebates brings EV costs down to equivalent ICE costs, then the last question is when this will happen.

    Raymond


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    joe

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (10:57 am)

    Great job,GM! Someday the Volt will be the most sought car on the road!


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    Noel Park

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (12:06 pm)

    Amazing what happens when gas is $8/gallon.


  14. 14
    Noel Park

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (12:07 pm)

    Jean-Charles Jacquemin: A lot of them said : “this will be my next car”

    #4

    You gotta love it! +1


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    pjkPA

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (12:25 pm)

    These sales are also with a huge VAT tax added to the price for no good reason…which doubles the price compared to the US … this tells you more about the demand… take off the UNFAIR VAT tax .. then see what the sales no.s are.


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    gieso

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (12:45 pm)

    kdawg,

    I suspect that this would be vehicles like the Ford/AZD Transit Connect/EV. I am sure that there might be more small EV delivery trucks like it in Europe too. It is fair not to compare a Volt with these type vehicles.


  17. 17
    DonC

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (12:56 pm)

    Jean-Charles Jacquemin: A lot of them said : “this will be my next car”

    I’m not surprised. Electrics are fun to drive. They’re completely quiet but incredibly responsive. I’m hoping the Cadillac ELR moves the bar up a notch. BMW will have the i8 but that is going to be over $100,000. The ELR should only be a little more than half that.


  18. 18
    ziv

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (1:39 pm)

    I have been looking at buying a used Volt and there are a couple 2011′s with about 25,000 miles on them near me. (But there are just 9 total used Volts within 200 miles!) Leather, no nav, $31k. Leather with nav, $33k. So in a year and a half, the Volt sans nav depreciated just under $3k, the one with nav depreciated a little over $3k, from their net prices. Obviously, these are asking prices, not sold prices, but with so few nearby, I don’t doubt they will get close to what they are asking.
    Forget buying a used Volt is the message, if you get them below MSRP they are a steal!
    Now I have to get serious about pushing my condo to install a charger.


  19. 19
    Paul

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (1:49 pm)

    Loboc:
    So Prius does not sell in Europe? Or Honda? Or Buick?

    I see a lot of Toyota (prius) and Honda Hybrids driving around in the Netherlands, but no Buick, I even do not know that there is a Buick Hybride? The Toyota and Honda are selling a lot, or should I say were selling a lot.


  20. 20
    Jackson

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (2:28 pm)

    Raymondjram: I agree that taxing gas is needed to reduce oil consumption, and motivate EV sales. The tax collected can be used for more EV development and research, especially for battery and electric drivetrain improvements, but it may be more useful as rebates for EV purchases.

    Rebates to buyers is where government intervention should be limited; a carrot to reward behavior, not a stick to punish all. The latter will not fly with the public at large during this economic downturn, and could result in a counter-EV backlash. It would be preferable, even, to pay for continued rebates from the General Fund.

    In the spirit of a “carrot,” here’s a suggestion I’ve not heard made: Many municipalities and States are concerned about the loss of gasoline tax revenue for road maintenance, even from the vanishingly small proportion of EVs on the roads now. Enact a Federal-level moratorium on the collection of road maintenance tax from EVs which sunsets in 10 (preferably 20) years; pending implementation of a fair and practical way of collecting tax by vehicle based on miles driven and vehicle weight; not on fuel. This is not too different from the exclusion of sales taxes from Internet purchases, intended to protect that developing technology (and still in effect today in most places, BTW). This might well result in a much greater incentive for the money than what a punishing gas tax would cost the economy: Never underestimate the American propensity for Tax avoidance.

    Another possibility is the taxation of electricity delivered from public chargers, but not from home units. It’s hard to see how a commodity already taxed to consumers can have an additional tax levied and collected without treating some party with gross unfairness (another stick to punish all).


  21. 21
    George S. Bower

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (2:49 pm)

    ziv:
    I have been looking at buying a used Volt and there are a couple 2011′s with about 25,000 miles on them near me. (But there are just 9 total used Volts within 200 miles!) Leather, no nav, $31k. Leather with nav, $33k. So in a year and a half, the Volt sans nav depreciated just under $3k, the one with nav depreciated a little over $3k, from their net prices. Obviously, these are asking prices, not sold prices, but with so few nearby, I don’t doubt they will get close to what they are asking.
    Forget buying a used Volt is the message, if you get them below MSRP they are a steal!
    Now I have to get serious about pushing my condo to install a charger.

    If they come out with a Volt S mine will be available but it’s a leased vehicle so we would have to negotiate a monthly pmt which is at 495$/mo. now…obviously something less for the next buyer.


  22. 22
    kdawg

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (4:20 pm)

    Jackson: a fair and practical way of collecting tax by vehicle based on miles driven and vehicle weight; not on fuel.

    Report your odometer mileage when getting your state registration. Collect money at that time. (yes this would require some way to keep ppl honest, insert security measure here).


  23. 23
    nasaman

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (5:29 pm)

    DonC:
    Jean-Charles Jacquemin (Ampera owner): A lot of them said : “this will be my next car”
    ——————————————————————————————————————————–
    I’m not surprised. Electrics are fun to drive. They’re completely quiet but incredibly responsive. I’m hoping the Cadillac ELR moves the bar up a notch. BMW will have the i8 but that is going to be over $100,000. The ELR should only be a little more than half that.

    Jean-Charles and Don: I think the European acceptance of the Ampera’s Voltec drive train has already elevated its public appeal —the Caddy ELR should be the “icing on the Voltec cake”! ;)

    *A little more on the ELR: http://www.cadillac.com/elr-electric-car.html


  24. 24
    Neromanceres

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (6:31 pm)

    Paul: I see a lot of Toyota (prius) and Honda Hybrids driving around in the Netherlands, but no Buick, I even do not know that there is a Buick Hybride? The Toyota and Honda are selling a lot, or should I say were selling a lot.

    Currently GM’s only brands in Western Europe are Opel and Chevrolet. Cadillac was sold in Europe for a bit (until only a few years ago). They are going to bring Cadillac back to Europe very soon. With the new ATS and ELR Cadillac should do better in Europe this time.

    The Concept was that Opel was to become Europe’s “Buick” and Opel and Buick currently share a lot of design elements. Astra = Verano, Insigna = Regal, and Mokka = Encore (all are Opel designs). Rumor has it that Opel might get the next gen Lacrosse and Enclave brought over from Buick as large flagship vehicles.


  25. 25
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (7:14 pm)

    Europeans might be more in tune to the fact that an 88 hp car that can do 0 to 100 kph in 8 and something seconds, even while weighing 3900 lbs, is pretty amazing.


  26. 26
    Noel Park

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (7:34 pm)

    Eco_Turbo:
    Europeans might be more in tune to the fact that an 88 hp car that can do 0 to 100 kph in 8 and something seconds, even while weighing 3900 lbs, is pretty amazing.

    #25

    Could be, LOL. +1


  27. 27
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    Jun 28th, 2012 (8:56 pm)

    The 800+ Amperas sold in Europe also tops the 500+ LEAFs sold in the USA in May.

    I wonder if this number includes Chevy Volt sales in Europe. If it is separate, whatever it might be is simply icing on the cake.

    Another thought – not counting Japan sales, the Ampera would most likely be the second best selling EV class automobile nameplate in the world behind the Volt.


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    Eco_Turbo

     

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    Jun 28th, 2012 (9:03 pm)

    Eco_Turbo,

    Sorry, I meant 83 hp.


  29. 29
    Sean

     

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    Jun 29th, 2012 (1:30 am)

    I don’t know about us but I hope those foreign companies like BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Volks Wagon, Mini Cooper, Smart, Fiat, and other European car companies build as many Plug-in-Hybrids, EREV’S and EV’S as well to wake up the American public and as well the American car companies so they can still make more of these alternative vehicles no matter what!

    Also I do want a brighter future when it comes to these vehicles.

    Europe you can do it wake our people up from those horrible gas guzzlers that we have over here!

    At least we got some of these vehicles on the road but we need to push even further!


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    omegaman66

     

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    Jun 29th, 2012 (5:33 am)

    “Unfortunately, gas prices in the US keep going lower”

    Oh yeah that is such a horrible thing. geez


  31. 31
    Tall Pete

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    Jun 29th, 2012 (12:30 pm)

    omegaman66:
    “Unfortunately, gas prices in the US keep going lower”

    Oh yeah that is such a horrible thing. geez

    It is actually. The more we postpone action on the issue of getting rid of oil as much as we can, the worse it will be later. It’s gonna hurt much more the economy by then.


  32. 32
    Dave

     

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    Jul 16th, 2012 (12:53 pm)

    None of the cars you mention are extended range electric vehicles (E-REV).

    GM’s figures here have compared Ampera (and Euro-Volt) with one other E-REV (the much more expensive Fisker) and pure electric cars like the Leaf.

    The Ampera/Volt technically resembles pure electric cars, with the special exception that if you take a longer journey and your plug in-charged batteries run low, the generator clicks in to provide electricity to propel you for the next 300 miles.

    Those old fashioned parallel hybrids you mention are petrol driven cars with a bit of electrical assistance.

    Just not in the same class.
    They are far outclassed by the GM vehicle.


  33. 33
    Al

     

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    Jul 17th, 2012 (4:00 pm)

    A horrendously expensive answer to a question nobody asked. And I presume GM makes no money on these things in Europe either?