Hybrid Electric Cars

Published on July 24th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


2016 Opel Ampera Cancelled (Probably)

July 24th, 2014 by  


Originally posted on GAS2

When the Opel Ampera debuted in Europe in 2012, it commanded a huge chunk of the plug-in car market, selling over 5,200 units in its first year. By 2013 though, sales and interest had sunk some 40%, with just 3,184 Amperas finding owners, and 2014 has been even worse; through May, just 332 plug-in Opels were sold.

With such a massive sales drop off, it’s no wonder that Automotive News Europe is reporting that GM is ready to kill off the Opel Ampera next year, when the 2016 Chevy Volt debuts. So what happened to all the love for the 2012 European Car of the Year?

In short, the number of plug-in car options has exploded in the two years since the Ampera’s debut, with nearly every automaker offering either fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. When the Ampera debuted, it was one of just a handful of options; now though, the plug-in Opel faces competition from every angle. Pure electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S and BMW i3 offer either more range or a lower cost (despite a $10,000 price cut), and they also get more generous incentives in places like Norway, where the top-selling cars have been fully electric models.

There are other factors at work too though, chief among them a drastic downsizing of the new car market in Europe and questions relating to Opel’s future as an automaker. GM was rumored at one point to be ready to close the doors to the German automaker for good, and who would want to buy cars from a brand that won’t exist next year? These factors have helped drive Ampera sales into the ground; in its home market, just 46 Opel Amperas were sold, whereas there were 83 Ferrari F12 supercars sold in the same time frame. Meanwhile, the 2016 Chevy Volt has been caught testing in Europe, indicating that GM hasn’t totally given up on selling its plug-in hybrid to the Old World.

Things don’t look good for the plug-in Opel, though GM has yet to officially announce its retirement…though with this news we’ve already start digging its grave.

R.I.P. Opel Ampera, 2012 through 2015(?)

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • JamesWimberley

    A hybrid is a safety choice. If you want to make a statement, go for the Tesla or BMW. If you want to be sensible, get a Prius.

  • Bob_Wallace

    (Reuters) – General Motors (GM.N) unit Opel said it is working on a successor model to its Ampera, a battery-powered electric car which hit European showrooms in 2011.

    “We will definitely introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment and continue to defend our position as an innovation leader,” Opel, which trades under sister brand Vauxhall in Britain, said in a statement on Wednesday.

    A new version of its Ampera will be launched between 2014 and 2018, Opel said, declining to give further details.

    “We see electric mobility as an important part of mobility and we will continue to drive down costs and deliver affordability,” Opel further said.


  • Ronald Brakels

    This may mean the end of the Australian Holden Volt. Australian in that it is sold in Australia. It is of course made in the US with the subtle difference that the steering wheel is put on the right side which is the left.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The steering wheel should be left on the left, which is the right side.
      You folks need to learn to drive to the right rather than the wrong.

      • Ronald Brakels

        Sorry, in Australia the steering wheel is actually on the right side which is the right and we drive on the left which is the right side. Thinking that the right side is right just isn’t right at all. Driving on the left lets one steer with what for most people is the dominant hand, while leaving the left arm free to punch the kangaroo that just leapt through the windscreen.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Driving on the not-right side means that one’s (typically) dominate right hand is left out of action, requiring the (typically) weaker left hand to deal with the incoming marsupial to one’s left. Which is not right.

          Living with a bunch of giant jumping possums is also not right.

          • Ronald Brakels

            You see this is American optimisim shining through. It’s more a matter of which arm would you like to keep.

            PS: At least our possums smell better than yours.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Possums are a bit gamy.

            But toss in enough onions and garlic and you can override that problem.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Well, you can always use my grandfather’s possum recipe. You put the possum in a pot along with some chopped up onions, carrots, potatoes, a good amount of red wine, and some bay leaves. Then you put a couple of stones in the pot. When the stones are soft the possum is ready to eat.

          • Xiaowei1

            Ok, i started your recipe last week and the stones have yet to soften. Is there an ETA on the possum being done?

            As to the article, I own a Holden Volt and it is the best car i have ever had – granted it was pricy, but clearly an entry level luxury car that is extremely cheap to keep on the roads. In the past 9 months, I’ve saved $4,000 in petrol costs alone.

            I do wish the price would tumble, and GM actually advertise the car as this may indeed help sales…

          • Ronald Brakels

            Get a three minute egg timer, turn it over, and when the grains of sand have solidified into sedimentary rock the possum should be ready.

            And I’m glad you’ve had a lot of success with the Holden Volt. I think a car like the Volt really hits the sweet spot for a lot of Australians who in addition to driving locally also want to use their vehicle for a significant amount of long distance highway travel. I will cross my fingers that the Volt soon comes down in price. (But then I will uncross them. It makes it hard to type.)

  • Frederik

    If only the Ampera was not so darn expensive. It costs as much in euros here, as it costs in dollars in the US.

    • Ross

      That’s the real reason it failed to sell. Opel didn’t try to sell it either. In most parts of Europe it wasn’t even available to buy.

    • Ronald Brakels

      There is definitely a tendency, which is fortunately gradually going away, of charging what the market can bear rather than what would maximise sales. That means higher prices for all electric and plug in cars in countries with higher gasoline prices. Fortunately competition is working its magic. (An evil magic since basically everything human beings have ever achieved has been the result of cooperation, but a kind of magic none the less.)

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