Vauxhall’s new Ampera, the Europeanised plug-in hybrid closely related to the forthcoming Chevy Volt, will eventually be built at Ellesmere Port in the UK, if newly installed GM Europe chief Nick Reilly gets his way.
First versions of the Ampera, due to reach Britain during 2011, will be built in the US, about a year after the Chevy version hits the road in the US.
“Whether we make the Ampera depends on the volume it generates,” says Reilly. “At this stage, that’s hard to predict, especially since we haven’t yet priced the car. But I would definitely like to make the car in Europe, and I think Ellesmere Port has a good chance of being the place we choose.”
According to newly announced plans, GM Europe aims to cut about 20 per cent of its production capacity across Europe - and 10,000 of its 50,000 jobs - but believes it can be making “solid” profits by 2012, on a lower cost base and a total Opel/Vauxhall volume of just under a million cars a year.
GM Europe will make “at least” the range of models it does now, says Reilly.