UK to dominate in Opel/Vauxhall Ampera European sales
Bill Parfitt, chairman and CEO of Vauxhall and Chevrolet in the UK and Opel Ireland, has said that the UK will take the lion's share of sales because of the strength of the company car market – boosted by the Benefit in Kind taxation system – and the green lobby.
As a result, he says that if a decision is taken to build the car outside the US, Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant in the UK stands 'head and shoulders' above any other GM plant in Europe to build it.
'A second-generation Ampera almost certainly will be made in Europe from 2013, but where it is made has to be a business decision and I will have to make the case for Ellesmere Port,' said Mr Parfitt. 'Ellesmere Port is ready, willing and more than capable and remember that the Ampera is built off the same Astra platform already at the factory.'
Mr Parfitt is upbeat about the prospects for Ampera, which he believes will leapfrog everyone else's technology.
'There is room for hybrids, and they work really well in commercial vehicles, but why have a vehicle with two systems, one of which is redundant at any one time? Ampera is quiet, powerful and economical with a range of 400 miles, no redundant system and less than 80g/km CO2.'
However, GM will also continue to focus on more efficient conventional engines. 'The Earth will run out of oil 85 years from now so that gives a long life for internal combustion engines, which will become more efficient and cheaper to make than alternatives so you will see a lot of small, sub-1.0-litre three-cylinder engines.'
He added: 'We're already planning a new, sub-Corsa city car and we will launch the Junior, a premium supermini to rival Fiat 500 and BMW Mini in 2013.' This will be built at the Eisenach plant in Germany.