European GM brands to get Volt models
11 September 2008

Opel is pressuring parent company General Motors for a European version of the forthcoming Chevrolet Volt electric car. The original plan was for the Volt to be sold in Europe as a Chevrolet, with Opel and Vauxhall getting a different car based on the Flextreme concept. Vauxhall/Opel’s model is slated for production in Europe from around 2013.But high expectations for the Volt, partly created by GM’s clever use of web-based marketing, are forcing a rethink.“We’re still not sure what the exact launch plan for Europe is and it does look like it might change, but it should become clearer this week,” said an insider.US sales of the Chevrolet Volt start in 2010 and European sales in 2011. The UK version is expected to cost around £20,000 at current prices, equivalent to the $35,000-$40,000 figure quoted in the US.This price is now understood to include the lithium-ion battery pack, thought to be worth around $10,000 alone. Chevy looked at leasing the batteries to owners, to reduce the list price, but has ruled that process out on grounds of complexity.

Dan Stevens

 

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7

12 September 2008

Autocar's January scoop said 2010 for a UK launch, the leaked details earlier this week said 2012, and now this article claims it's actually 2011. I'm just waiting for another update to say it's already been launched back in 2007 and I'll go pick one up second hand at the weekend.

Seriously though, an electric car launching in Europe after its launch in the States? Which lunatic thinks the U.S. is the biggest market for green cars?

12 September 2008

What happened to GM's world branding of the Chevrolet product?

Surely if its a Chevy in the US then it should be a Chevy in Europe?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

12 September 2008

[quote ThwartedEfforts]

...Seriously though, an electric car launching in Europe after its launch in the States? Which lunatic thinks the U.S. is the biggest market for green cars?

[/quote]

The lunatics who might have noted that US is the biggest single market for Toyota Prius, Lexus RX400h, Lexus GS450h, Lexus LS600h and Honda insight, perhaps?

12 September 2008

[quote TegTypeR]Surely if its a Chevy in the US then it should be a Chevy in Europe?[/quote]

I agree. They should do the usual 'badge engineering' thing with this car and release several versions of it like they do most other platforms. The Chevvy Captiva and Vauxhall Antara are virtually identical and sold in US as Saturns and elsewhere as Daewoo's and Holdens so why not release the Chevvy Volt first then modify the bodyshell a little to make it an Opel/Vauxhall? Does it have to be one thing or the other?

12 September 2008

[quote Overdrive]

The lunatics who might have noted that US is the biggest single market for Toyota Prius, Lexus RX400h, Lexus GS450h, Lexus LS600h and Honda insight, perhaps?[/quote]

I see the point you're making, but the models you listed are remarkable only for the fact they are ordinary cars wearing green undergarments. The 0.0001% of Americans who drive them - you say 'biggest market' like the US is an oasis of environmental-friendliness - are still able to carry five adults in comfort on journeys lasting many hours and hundreds of miles.

The Volt is small and has a range of just 40 miles - something of a deal-breaker for American drivers - and if the Vectrix is anything to go by, it'll putter out much sooner if you actually try and keep up with petrol-powered traffic. It's an uncompromising compromise car that asks drivers to re-evaluate what they want from an automobile - a rethinking process the Europeans and Japanese went through some time ago courtesy of high fuel prices and tax.

So while Americans might be reeling from the numbers they see on fuel pumps, and while there's a surge of interest in electric alternatives, they're still paying one third the amount we are and the huge majority of them won't be changing their driving habits any time soon. Particularly as the Volt will be no less than $35K.

And the Insight bombed in the US, which further proves my point. It's the car that required the most Volt-like compromise - surprise, nobody interested.

12 September 2008

[quote ThwartedEfforts]The Volt is small and has a range of just 40 miles - something of a deal-breaker for American drivers [/quote]

The Volt has a range of 40 miles on pure battery power, then the small petrol, diesel, CNG engine would kick in to power the electric motor and still provide very good mileage and range beyond the batteries capabilities.

It’s not all about the price at the pump here in the US; a lot of people here want to be free of the geopolitical high jinks associated with our addiction to foreign oil. A lot of people here are very interested in the Volt and I think GM will sell everyone they make.

I think it would be very difficult to sell a “Chevy” anywhere in Western Europe. Why attach a stigma and further hurdle for the platform to overcome when GM could just provide an Opel guise that would be much more digestible to the European palate.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

14 September 2008

[quote jackjflash]I think it would be very difficult to sell a “Chevy” anywhere in Western Europe. Why attach a stigma and further hurdle for the platform to overcome when GM could just provide an Opel guise that would be much more digestible to the European palate.[/quote]

We do buy Chevvy's in western Europe- have done for a while. Granted, several of them are old Daewoos but the new stuff is feeding through. I have a Chevvy Captiva (for all of a week now!) and so far it's a damn fine car- markedly better than the Landie Freelander I had a couple of years ago.

The Volt would make an excellent, and appropriate addition to the Chevvy range in Europe. It would also make an excellent Opel/Vauxhall with a slightly modified bodyshell- it might even make sense to graft a Saab nose on the front of it and give them a presence in the 'green' sector. Let's not be precious about this- badge engineering has kept the auto industry alive for the last 50 years.

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