General Motors’ European management initially believed that the Opel Ampera would sell around 8,000 units when it went on sale for 2012 but with the early enthusiasm for the sibling car to the Chevy Volt in those European markets where the Opel brand is sold, GM has raised that expected sales volume up to 10,000 units. With the sales of the Chevy Volt in the United States fluctuating over the past year, some felt that these European sales goals were a bit too lofty but with 7,000 preorders already accepted for the Ampera in just mid-March, it looks as though GM could hit their numbers for the electric Opel in 2012.
One obstacle that may prevent General Motors from hitting the 10,000 unit mark for the 2012 Opel Ampera is the scheduled downtime for the GM Hamtramck plant where the Volt and Ampera are built. The assembly lines at the Hamtramck facility stopped this past Monday (March 19th) and will remain dormant until April 23rd, bringing about five weeks where no Chevy Volt or Opel Ampera models will be built in an effort to help GM burn through the current inventory of Volts around the country but that period of ‘inventory adjustment’ could hit the Ampera where it hurts – possibly preventing GM of Europe from hitting their goal of 10,000 Amperas sold in 2012.
You would like to think that a company the size of General Motors would take something like that into effect before shuttering the Volt plant for five weeks so this downtime might not be a problem. After all, GM management made the sales goal of 10,000 Opel Ampera electric vehicles sold in 2012 and some of those same management members were likely involved in the call to stop production in Hamtramck. It would make sense that when considering stopping production at Hamtramck; they would look at the impact on the Ampera in addition to the volt. This leads me to think that the company is confident that they will be able to produce enough Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera models when they get back to work in late April.
Unfortunately, we will not know whether or not GM will meet the sales goals for the Opel Ampera or the Chevrolet Volt until much later this year but provided that the factory can build enough Ampera sedans fast enough – over 7,000 preorders should get Opel well on the way to reaching their goal of 10,000 units sold in 2012.