Wednesday 9 September 2009

GM - The Volt isn't a car for idiots

General Motors has responded to Audi of America’s boss Johan de Nysschen’s claims that the Chevrolet Volt was “a car for idiots”.

Speaking to veteran American journalist Lawrence Ulrich, de Nysschen said that few customers will be prepared to pay the estimated £24,500 asking price for the Volt, which will go on sale in Europe as the Vauxhall/Opel Ampera.

"No one is going to pay a $15,000 (£9,000) premium for a car that competes with a Toyota Corolla,” said de Nysschen. "So there are not enough idiots who will buy it."

In response, GM spokesman Rob Peterson claimed the firm was surprised he had chosen to insult fellow car enthusiasts.

“Very surprised Mr de Nysschen was so quick to insult the intelligence of electric vehicle and Volt enthusiasts,” he said. “Not so surprised that Audi is taking a bold stance given their entrenched diesel position. EVs will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and tailpipe emissions – if that's being "hoodwinked by our government" then count me in.”

De Nysschen has apologised if he had been "unclear" about the fact that he isn’t opposed to electric vehicles, and said he didn't remember specifically saying the Volt is a car "idiots". Audi will unveil its own electric car concept at the Frankfurt motor show next week.

In related news, the forthcoming Vauxhall/Opel Ampera is likely to cost around £24,500 when it goes on sale in the UK in the first quarter of 2012.

Opel’s managing director Hans Demant made the claims in an interview with a Swiss news outlet, Tages-Anzeiger. Demant claimed that for the Ampera to be a commercial success, it must not cost more than a fully-specced Vauxhall Zafira with automatic transmission. The range-topping Zafira SRi 1.9 CDTi costs just shy of £25,500 when equipped with an auto’ box in the UK. This gives a hint as to how much the Ampera will cost when it goes on sale.

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