By Jon LeSage
Opel has confirmed that it will continue with plans to produce the Chevy Bolt-based Ampera-e along with follow-up models under its new ownership.
Company CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann told German automobile magazine auto motor und sport that more electric vehicles will follow the Ampera-e. He declined to comment on an earlier report that he’d been planning to turn Opel into an electric car-only brand before General Motors had decided to sell the company to French Automaker PSA.
On March 6, GM had announced it will sell Opel to PSA, along with Vauxhall and some financing operations in Europe. Questions came up about the future of Opel Ampera-e, which is built on the Chevrolet Bolt platform.
The deal between GM and PSA included intellectual property licenses from GM until vehicles transition over to PSA platforms. It looked like the Ampera-e rollout in Europe would be able to continue, which is now confirmed.
Along with more EVs, Opel will continue with its plan to launch a flagship SUV model.
Neumann said the company will be launching seven new models as part of its biggest-ever product launch campaign. He didn’t specify how many of these seven will be electric.
The chief executive also confirmed that he’ll stay in his job as Opel’s CEO under the new ownership, and that other top Opel management will stay in place.
For now, Opel will design and develop its own new vehicles. Future products will be based on PSA platforms instead of GM’s, but it will take several years for that transition to be completed, he said.
While there had been talk about the Opel brand being introduced in China, Neumann is skeptical about it happening.
Opel’s first priority will be to make the division profitable in Europe through tapping into its relationship there with PSA instead of expending resources in Asia.
“The Chinese market is no longer the cure-all to help solve the problems on all the other markets,” he said.
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