Vauxhall city car and Ampera replacement confirmed
Speaking on Twitter, Opel chief executive Karl-Thomas Neumann said the company was still committed to affordable electric vehicles, adding that it also had no plans to enter the budget segment of the market.
Vauxhall and Opel’s smallest model is currently the Adam city car, but this is aimed more at design-focused rivals such as the MINI and Fiat 500 rather than the core of the A-segment. It seems likely that its newcomer will fill this gap, and could replace the current range entry point, the Agila, which launched in 2008.
‘@Opel will not move into the low-budget segment,’ he tweeted. ‘We leave this place to others! We're planning a new entry level model! No budget car, but a real @Opel (quality, innovation, German engineering)!’
Neumann also said that a more affordable replacement for the Ampera range-extended electric vehicle was planned for Vauxhall and Opel. The Chevrolet Volt, on which the current Ampera is based, is due to be replaced during 2016 and reports from Automotive News Europe earlier this week had indicated that it would not be replaced due to slow sales. A spokesperson for the manufacturer said this was speculative and too early to confirm.
Despite reducing the cost of the Volt and Ampera last year, attributed to a streamlined production process, sales are slow. Automotive News Europe said the car sold 332 units Europe wide during the first five months of 2014. New rivals, the BMW i3 range extender and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which are both at a similar price point, outsold that figure just in the UK.
However, Neumann has not indicated whether the Ampera replacement will retain its predecessor's nameplate.
‘We see #eMobility as important part of the mobility of tomorrow and we will continue to drive down costs & deliver affordability,’ he said on Twitter.
‘Our next electric vehicle will be part of our massive product offensive – with 27 new vehicles in the 2014-2018 time frame. After the eventual run-out of the current generation Ampera, we'll introduce a successor product in the electric vehicle segment.‘