If you can tell how successful a car company is going to be by the amount of brickbats its rivals throw at it, then I reckon Vauxhall and Opel are lining up for some very great days indeed over the coming years.
The key to this envy is the upcoming Ampera, which will go on sale in Europe next year and which already has more than 6000 pre-orders, with projected sales of 10,000 cars in the first year, the maximum the company can import.
Compare those sales figures to any existing electric vehicle’s and you’ll start to get an idea why rivals might be casting envious looks Vauxhall’s way.
Six weeks or so ago there were rumours that GM was about to sell Opel/Vauxhall again. They spread from the German workers’ union throughout the company and caused disquiet on the stock market. Pretty shortly afterwards thinly veiled accusations were thrown the way of the VW Group for spreading the rumours. The reason? To unsettle a rival, of course.
Now, here in Frankfurt, there’s more negative briefing going on. Can a range-extended vehicle ever be as reliable as a hybrid, which is mechanically much simpler? Is the Ampera even viable, given it’s not a money-maker compared to its hybrid rivals?
Ultimately, the customer will decide. To my mind the Ampera, just like its electric rivals, is only desirable to a niche of buyers. However that niche is much larger than the potential one for electric car buyers, and that only increases its appeal. Rather than throw stones, perhaps Vauxhall’s rivals should concentrate on catching up?