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The Opel Ampera, shown here in leaked images, is a forthcoming Volt-lookalike to be released in 2011 by GM's German subsidiary Opel.  (Source: Motor Authority)
New information and images have been released on one of Europe's hottest upcoming electrical entries

With the Chevy Volt set to debut next year to great excitement, European customers are eager to get their hands on electric vehicles of their own.  While GM may not initially offer the Volt in Europe, its German subsidiary Opel will be offering an electric vehicle with a virtually identical design to the Volt in 2011.

The Opel Ampera will arrive in 2011 and feature the ‘Voltec’ plug-in hybrid system, which pairs a small, efficient combustion engine with batteries and an electric motor.  The system is the same system found in the upcoming Volt and in the Cadillac Converj concept.

Images of the upcoming Ampera leaked from a trademark database maintained by Europe's Office for Harmonization of the Internal Market (OHIM).  That database is a regular source of leaks, as it frequently contains design renderings and sketches.  In the Ampera's case, its trademark entry features a wealth of renderings of the upcoming production design.

The final production model may change slightly in appearance before its official unveiling, which is likely soon forthcoming.  While the Ampera's renderings show that it will be a virtual Volt-lookalike, they also show that it will be getting unique wheel rim designs, as well as a revamped front bumper.

The car will charge on a standard 230-volt European outlet.  It shares a 40 mile range on its battery with the Volt, enough for most Europeans according to GM.  With a full tank of gas, this range is extended to an ample 500 miles.

GM recently asked the U.S. government for $16.6B USD more in loans.  It hopes to use this money to avoid bankruptcy and help it forge ahead in international markets like Europe and the UK, where demand for its new electric vehicles is expected to be high.

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GM still not learning
By rudy on 2/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: GM still not learning
By Spivonious on 2/18/2009 12:30:31 PM , Rating: 5
While I agree with you on principle (that GM has too many different models of the same car), European tastes are very different than the US. I think GM was smart to have a different design for Opel than they do with Chevrolet.

What they really need to do is strip down to two or three brands like every other car manufacturer (Dodge-Chrysler, Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, Toyota-Lexus, Nissan-Infiniti, Honda-Acura, etc.). I nominate Chevy and Cadillac.

RE: GM still not learning
By Anonymous Freak on 2/18/2009 2:10:21 PM , Rating: 5
I agree that the American and European car markets ask for different designs. Sadly, I always prefer the European designs.

As for 'two or three brands like every other car manufacturer'? Nonsense.

Ford-Lincoln-Mercury-Volvo-Mazda-Aston Martin (and they just sold off Jaguar and Land Rover.)
Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep (formerly a division of Mercedez, which has many marks of its own, and formerly also owner of Plymouth and Eagle.)

However, it does appear that three is the magic number for 'main marks' nowadays.

I would argue that GM can get away with Chevy, Cadillac, and GMC. With clearly delineated lines. Chevy for 'consumer', Cadillac for 'luxury', and GMC for 'utility'. (That was part of Chrysler's problem with Plymouth, it overlapped both Chrysler's "high end", and Dodge's "low end".)

Buick and Pontiac are both 'storied' historic brands, but they should be retired. Hummer and Saab should be spun off and/or sold. Their non-US brands should either be purely mark differences (i.e. sell the same exact vehicles, but sell them as pure crossovers. Sell Chevys as Opels, etc,) or be spun off, if too different. (Like Saab.)

And I'm a *BIG* fan of Saturn, yet I can see that Saturn has not become what it was supposed to, and should be shuttered. I'm also a big fan of old historic marks. (My great-great-uncle was the founder of the Maxwell Motor Company; which, after my relative retired, got renamed after his replacement, one Mr. Walter P Chrysler.)

RE: GM still not learning
By jjmcubed on 2/18/2009 11:14:48 PM , Rating: 4
Ford sold its majority share to Mazda a couple of months ago.

Aston Martin was sold last year.

Volvo is on the auction block as we speak.


RE: GM still not learning
By Totally on 2/19/2009 4:45:17 AM , Rating: 2
GM should stick with the brands with the brands Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet. Buick/Chevy being the core brands of the company, like Toyota/Lexus. GMC should sell fleet versions of their trucks mainly to businesses. And make Cadillac a performance focused brand to better compete mercedes,bmw and more upscale brands.

RE: GM still not learning
By afkrotch on 2/19/09, Rating: 0
RE: GM still not learning
By Spuke on 2/19/09, Rating: 0
RE: GM still not learning
By afkrotch on 2/20/2009 4:26:04 AM , Rating: 3
Guess you don't read enough. I already posted that the Japanese do it to get around their import limitations. They are only allowed X amount of cars per company. Thus, they created these other companies to bring more cars over.

American companies don't need to do this.

RE: GM still not learning
By rudolphna on 2/19/2009 2:34:40 PM , Rating: 3
This is how it should look and Why...
Ford Motor-
Ford- Consumer, Utility, and Affordability
Mercury- Slightly more expensive, luxury and sports cars
Lincoln- Expensive Luxury cars

Chrysler Group-
Chrysler- Mid to high price range, Average consumer, and Luxury cars.
Dodge- Low Cost Cars, High End sports cars, and Trucks
Jeep- Off-road cars, testing ground for new technology. (CRD example) (GO BACK TO TJ STYLING CHRYSLER!)
Fiat- European presense, mixing of both Fiat and chrysler badged cars.

General motors-
Chevrolet- Low Cost Cars and Vans, Camaro
Buick- Middle of the Road luxury cars, average price
Cadillac- High End Luxury Cars, and some sports cars
GMC- Trucks.
Pontiac- youth-oriented sports cars

RE: GM still not learning
By gerf on 2/18/2009 8:11:20 PM , Rating: 3
Rumor is that the Opel line, which is sold as Buick in China, will also be the newer Buick line in the US. It's well known that Buicks in China are very well known as a high quality lower end luxury brand, so I expect them to do well in the US as well.

I just wonder why the keep blasting the Saturn brand, which has the brunt of their fleet of lower cost high economy cars, which is something people want to promote, right? Anyway, Saturn used to be a good division before GM's heavyweight management took over and screwed it all up.

Third point: It's my opinion that GM management has become institutionalized (ala Shawshank Redemption), and will have a very difficult time figuring out how to work without unions.

RE: GM still not learning
By afkrotch on 2/19/2009 6:03:04 AM , Rating: 2
What they need to do is strip down to a single brand. It's stupid that these American companies do it for absolutely no reason.

The reason for your foreign companies to do it, is so they can import more cars into the US. They are only allowed X amount of cars per company, so they get past that buy making a new company. Hence the Toyota-Lexus, Nissan-Infiniti, and Honda-Acura. They don't do it by choice, they do it cause of necessity. Go to Japan. There's no Lexus, Infiniti, or Acura.

Japanese companies also aren't stupid and make these crossover models (minus Nissan). Dodge Neon, Plymouth Neon, Chrysler Neon. Seriously, WTF. It's essentially Chrysler making 3 of the same car to compete with each other. Why? They should make one damn model of it and compete against Ford, Toyota, etc.

Different styling in a different market, I understand. Europeans have different tastes than Americans. The car is going to be produced in Europe. Fine, whatever.

Now I would think it really stupid if both cars were made and sold in the US. It'd be 2 cars made by the same company aimed at a single market. Instead, just make 1 car aimed at that 1 market. Now you can have less time/money/space/etc wasted making the same car, with minor styling changes.

Someone needs to just let the Big 3 die out.

RE: GM still not learning
By rudolphna on 2/19/2009 2:38:53 PM , Rating: 2
Are you really that stupid? They dont have a set amount of cars per company. They do it because certain brands are synonomous with luxury, performance, average etc. Lexus is a LUXURY car brand. Buick and Cadillac are LUXURY car brands. Dodge is SUPPOSED to be a TRUCK brand. It is how it has gotten over the years. If it was stripped down to Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Toytota. Hmm Wow woudlnt that be boring as heck? Americans like Variety. They dont like having a small selection to choose from.

RE: GM still not learning
By afkrotch on 2/20/2009 4:47:36 AM , Rating: 3
Ya, cause when I hear Lexus, Buick, Cadillac, I think luxury. Only thing on my mind is overpriced Toyota and Chevy.

They were limited to a specific amount of cars, or they'd wipe out the American car companies. As of right now, I doubt we even have 1/2 of the lineup for these Japanese companies.

RE: GM still not learning
By lagomorpha on 2/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: GM still not learning
By abscoder on 2/18/2009 1:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
In Europe they can't get away with that.
When my dollar is concerned, they can't get away with that here either.

RE: GM still not learning
By lagomorpha on 2/18/2009 2:56:03 PM , Rating: 1
Ah but you're not one of the millions of Americans who will buy from Chevrolet/Ford/Dodge no matter how bad the quality is out of patriotism. Even if the car in question is made in Korea or Mexico.

RE: GM still not learning
By Keeir on 2/18/2009 3:07:47 PM , Rating: 4

Thats mostly the problem is that American consumers will not buy premium Chev/Ford/Dodge cars because American consumers no longer associate these "American" brands with quality. I think a big reason anyone buys an "American" car over a foriegn car company with established business in the US (IE, KIA and Hyundai are not yet there...soon but not yet) is that the "American" car tends to be dramatically cheaper at the same size point.

For the most part, I think the American car market is less motivated by "patriotism" than the majority of other car markets in the world.

RE: GM still not learning
By TheFace on 2/18/2009 5:33:53 PM , Rating: 3
I think your comment hits the nail on the head. American cars do not exude quality on any level. There is only 1 American car that I believe beats ANY foreign car in the same class, and that is the Corvette. You could even argue that the Nissan GTR bests that in many areas. Only American trucks have really survived this onslaught of diminishing quality, but Toyota has only begun to get into that game.

"American" cars, and I understand your loose association with that terminology, have been outclassed in every category. From subcompact to ultralux. They don't move or shake the market like they did back in 'the good ole days', they react and are cautious with decisions about where the market is going when it's already gone out away from them.

Think about it financially, they had no diversified portfolio of their income strategy. As soon as the high margin vehicles (SUVs and lux-trucks) didn't sell well enough to make up for how badly their car divisions were already doing, they were screwed. All it took was one foul swoop of oil speculation screwing up prices. Meanwhile the foreign automakers who had top to bottom quality vehicles saw top to bottom sales slump, but are not in any serious danger like the Detroit 3.

RE: GM still not learning
By afkrotch on 2/19/2009 6:44:09 AM , Rating: 2
The NSX is coming back. If it were the same price as a Corvette, they'd have something to fear. Course last time the NSX was around, it was $100k or higher.

The Big 3 got to comfortable with their trucks and SUVs. Which are cheap to design and sell for a hefty price. They didn't put enough into regular car R&D. Oh well, they paid the price for being retarded. Would have preferred them to completely disappear off the market, but oh well.

RE: GM still not learning
By mindless1 on 2/18/2009 8:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
You've just argued that American car companies are building what Americans want to buy because they're cheaper, as the PROBLEM? LOL, too much contradiction in your argument to be true.

The fact is, there are more of these american cars on the US roads than the foreign luxury cars.

RE: GM still not learning
By Ardan on 2/18/2009 11:19:08 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you there completely, mindless1. I, and many others, really do not care at all about having a 7-series BMW or a something. Furthermore, most of us just simply can't afford to buy some of the cars people on here are discussing. Even if I could afford to buy a 5 or 7-series BMW or similar Lexus, I wouldn't buy it. The reason is because I just simply don't need that luxury and don't care about it at all. Many of you on here are forgetting that a lot of people just don't care for some of these cars.

I'm sure there are more people than you guys give credit for that realize the quality of a Lexus or BMW over something like Chevrolet or Ford because people aren't stupid. I also think it is crazy to compare Chevrolet to BMW, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz because they are deliberately in different classes. I would buy a Cadillac over those brands, though, and YES I have driven/rode in competing models and I prefer the Cadillac, so don't give me crap about it (you aren't changing my mind anyways).

RE: GM still not learning
By Keeir on 2/19/2009 2:13:49 PM , Rating: 3
Ummm...You totally misunderstood

I didn't mean premium as in Luxury. I meant the added additions that turn a 20,000 base price (low margin) car into a 30,000 sale price (high margin) car.

Why does the Toyota Corolla outsell the Ford Focus and Chevy Cobalt 2:1?
Why is the average sale price of the Corolla -higher- than the Focus or Cobalt?

The simple truth is that when someone needs a car the size of Focus/Cobalt and they have 15,000 to spend, they buy "American". When they have 20,000 to spend, they buy "Foriegn". The "Foriegn" cars are in many categories considered superior goods to the "American" cars. But they don't cost that much more to make... its not like a Corolla is really better than a Focus, but it commands an extra 1,000+ price tag, most of which is extra margin for Toyota

Until "American" car companies can convince NA buyers to shell out an additional 1-2k in margin on thier cars, they just can't succeed in the car markets. (Ford seems to be getting things right with the Fusion...)

RE: GM still not learning
By rudolphna on 2/19/2009 2:43:06 PM , Rating: 2
No, alot of people, like my mother and father, REFUSE outright to buy a foreign branded car. They grew up in lorain ohio, 2 ford plants in that county. It is embedded in them that if you buy a foreign car, you are essentially a traitor. I buy american cars because I like them. They arent "cheap" anymore. American cars, with the possible exception of chrysler, are comparable to foreign brands in almost every category. Especially ford, whose reliability is on par with Toyota and honda. I drive american, Im happy with my cars, and proud of it.

RE: GM still not learning
By Keeir on 2/20/2009 12:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
Thats nice

in 2006, the Toyota Corolla sold 120,000 cars in the US. The Honda Civic sold 100,000.

Ford Focus? 56,000
Chevy Cobalt? 55,000

Obviously the market has spoken. Yes there will always be people who buy only "American" cars (after all your Lorain is like what less than 2 Hours from major car company assembley points? Lordstown, Toledo, etc?). However, thats not the majority of car buying public.

The Worst part? Toyota probably makes 2 or 3 times as much in profit on each Corolla than Ford does on each Focus.

RE: GM still not learning
By djc208 on 2/18/2009 2:12:55 PM , Rating: 4
No, part of the difference is what we expect from different sized vehicles. A Colbalt sized car here is a low end vehicle where people shop for price usually above all else. In most other countries a Cobalt sized vehicle is the norm. There's much more competition and you can market an "upscale" compact. You ask $25k for a Cobalt here and people will laugh at you, no matter if it has a nice interior and good handling.

Meanwhile you won't find as many midsize cars on the road in Europe while here they are one of the biggest segments, and one where GM competes well with the Malibu.

RE: GM still not learning
By toolguy on 2/18/2009 4:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think this whole comment is b.s. What makes you say the US uses cheaper plastics and interiors? I've owned nothing but American cars and have never seen any prove of this. And you can't say Americans are willing to buy American cars even with cheaper trim, because thats just not true. If a car has cheap parts, then people don't buy it, I don't care what country your talking about.

Also, what cost cutting measures has GM been doing that affect the quality of their products? I don't know of any.

RE: GM still not learning
By jiteo on 2/18/2009 5:01:40 PM , Rating: 4
"I've owned nothing but American cars and have never seen any prove of this."

Exactly, you have nothing to compare them with >;)

Sorry, it was just too tempting :P

RE: GM still not learning
By rudolphna on 2/19/2009 2:45:52 PM , Rating: 2
I drive american. I have an 03 Ford Expedition, and a 99 Jeep Wrangler. I love those cars. On vacation, and when somebody rear-ended my truck, the rental car was honda or subaru. They were nice cars, but not any nicer than the expedition. The Jeep was base model, bought used for $7k, so Im not too concerned about interior quality, because most of it has been painted or replaced.

RE: GM still not learning
By GlassHouse69 on 2/18/2009 7:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
This is absolutely true. A great all time example is the ford probe and mazda mx-6. probe was the shittier car x3 but no one knew that.... (supposed to be almost the same car, but the mazda lasted much longer and had better trim, just a sort of example of US makers cheaping.)

RE: GM still not learning
By Hare on 2/18/2009 1:49:24 PM , Rating: 2
Because the Chevrolet brand doesn't really speak of quality like Opel does. Many American cars have a bad reputation because of mediocre quality (that's why e.g. Chryslers and Dodge are considered cheap and crap here). They are pretty much the cheapest in their size class and the performance/efficiency isn't as high as their competition (Opel, VW, Fiat, Toyota etc). Ford is the only exception but they pretty much have different Euro models (e.g Focus, Mondeo).

Re-branded Daewoo tinboxes are sold here as "Chevrolet" and I would assume that has diluted the Chevrolet brand.

Here's what I'm talking about:

Ps. These cars are Buicks in China :)

RE: GM still not learning
By Spivonious on 2/18/2009 2:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
I wish we could get the Focus RS over here in the States :(

RE: GM still not learning
By AntiV6 on 2/18/2009 3:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
Meh, Mad TV ruined Daewoo for me. "Tha names TANK!"

Are Chevy's and Caddies thought of crappy cars after all the revamping GM has done?

RE: GM still not learning
By TheFace on 2/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: GM still not learning
By afkrotch on 2/19/2009 7:05:25 AM , Rating: 2

Escalade - Landcruiser, Sequoia

The Escalade isn't really all that big. The Landcruiser is only a couple inches shorter and not as wide by a couple inches. Same height.

Sequoia is a couple inches longer and an inch wider than the Escalade. Same height.

I don't think any company has a vehicle to beat the Suburban, cept Ford. Even then, they had to make a special version of the Expedition just to match it's sheer size. I think it'd make more sense to buy a Winnebago Era than those two vehicle.

RE: GM still not learning
By Sandok on 2/18/2009 1:53:25 PM , Rating: 3
Ever been to Europe? You'll notice they don't drive the same cars as in the US because they're a different market.

If you don't appeal to a market, you'll never ever sell a car there (just look at Cadillac which has failed repeatedly in Europe. I hope this works out for GM, they need all the sales they can get.

RE: GM still not learning
By clovell on 2/18/2009 2:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
What are the odds that supply chains in Europe are different than those in the US? Or that the brand image in Europe is different for Opel than it is for Chevy?

We're not talking about seeling the Volt and the Ampera in the same market here - so I fail to see how this relates to your point.

RE: GM still not learning
By Jeffk464 on 2/18/2009 3:16:57 PM , Rating: 3
By different you mean better? It is very frustrating that the euro version of cars always looks better. GM has gone to Australia to design the new camaro and came out with a fantastic car. What gives?

RE: GM still not learning
By tayhimself on 2/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: GM still not learning
By p3ngwin on 2/18/2009 3:42:33 PM , Rating: 4
an example of European and American differences?

Diesel, in Europe is ~50% of all vehicles, compared to ~3% in North Amrica.

Ford said their Ford Focus Diesel is not possible for Americans as it wouldn't sell.

We know it’s an awesome vehicle, ” says Ford America President Mark Fields. “ But there are business reasons why we can’t sell it in the U.S. ” The main one: The Fiesta ECOnetic runs on diesel.

only 3% of cars in the U.S. use diesel. “ Americans see hybrids as the darling, ” says Global Insight auto analyst Philip Gott, “ and diesel as old-tech.

A $1,300 tax deduction available to buyers of new diesel cars could bring the price of the Fiesta to around $24,400. But Ford doesn’t believe it could charge enough to make money on an imported ECOnetic.

Americans need better education, then the health will follow by virtue of living the benefits of smarter decisions.

RE: GM still not learning
By jjmcubed on 2/18/2009 11:24:29 PM , Rating: 3
Could the price difference have anything to do with the decision to buy diesel? While the price is cheaper for diesel because of the taxes in Europe, diesel is 20-40% more expensive in the states. The gas mileage gains don't out way the price difference.

I would buy a diesel tomorrow if the price was the same as gasoline.

RE: GM still not learning
By djc208 on 2/19/2009 7:15:25 AM , Rating: 3
There are also issues with emissions between Europe and here. Europe pushes diesel technology and so diesel fuel is cheaper and emissions regulations are different than gas cars.

In the US diesel cars have the same emissions requirements as gasoline cars. This makes it hard to just bring a diesel car from europe, because while a diesel exhaust will usually be cleaner in some areas it's dirtier in others (like NOx and particulates).

Add in the extra cost for a diesel engine and fuel, and the US penchant to avoid diesel cars due to a bad history and it doesn't make a good business case.

RE: GM still not learning
By afkrotch on 2/19/2009 7:18:14 AM , Rating: 2
Education on what exactly? What makes diesel better than gasoline? Higher cost? More pollution? Where's this smarter decision?

RE: GM still not learning
By rudolphna on 2/19/2009 2:51:53 PM , Rating: 3
Much higher fuel economy, more torque, less pollution in some areas and more in others.

RE: GM still not learning
By Madellga on 2/18/2009 7:00:11 PM , Rating: 3
Normally the main reason for a customer buying a car is exterior appearance. The other stuff is important but comes second (perhaps not for you, but it is a rule for most customers). Most car purchases are based on emotion and not logic.

Almost every automaker has to design different vehicles for each region, as what is a hit in US might be a miss in Europe or Asia and vice versa. With that said, it doesn't mean they are spending 2x the money.

Those vehicles share the same platform (underbody structure, chassis, powertrain, etc), being the design portion (outer skin, interior) new. It costs like 1.5 vehicles to develop 2 like that.

If GM would go with 1 design for both, they would sell much less in one of the markets. The extra 0.5 investment is worth the additional volume.

This is not a GM exclusive, the whole industry does that. Look a VW, Audi and Skoda - one platform, 3 vehicles (Passat, A4, Octavia).

GM seems to be getting it
By wordsworm on 2/18/2009 12:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
All this time they've largely ignored the fact that a lot of Americans want reliable vehicles that are cheap to maintain. Their plan of creating vehicles which would only last 5-10 years has backfired and given them the nasty reputation that they deserve. Let's see if these coming out will not only address the concerns of economy, but also endurance and reliability.

I believe that, given a choice, most Americans would pick an American product over a Japanese product if all things were basically equal for the simple fact that many Americans are patriotic - but not to the extent that they're willing to pay their hard earned credit for Ford/GM/Chrysler junk. I think that, deep down inside, your northern neighbors would rather go American as well.

What the big three have got to do is simple: offer a product that people want to buy which competes with Toyota at every level. They already have a strong, loyal customer base which will only buy American, with the rest wishing they could buy American.

Their biggest problem is that they've broken the trust of their customers, and that will take time to recover. If they could come out with that Ford Model-T type vehicle which just lasts decade after decade, then in five to ten years, I can't help but think that Toyota and Honda would be scarcities on the road.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By Spivonious on 2/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: GM seems to be getting it
By randomposter on 2/18/2009 12:35:43 PM , Rating: 3
my Ford just turned 5 years-old and shows no signs of slowing down.

Dude! Then it's time for a brake job!

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By Spivonious on 2/18/2009 2:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
lol, set myself up for that one.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By CommodoreVic20 on 2/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: GM seems to be getting it
By Spivonious on 2/18/2009 2:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the F-350 diesel "dually" (have no idea what that means) is unreliable then. Don't take two experiences from the same model to mean quality across the board. I fully expected my Focus to break down sometime as it's made in Mexico, but no problems yet after almost 80k miles (except for me breaking off the window lever, but that fix cost $40 for the part and an hour of my time to install it).

Now, if we're talking about late 90s Fords, then yes they are piles of junk, along with every other US car from that period.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By Dreifort on 2/18/2009 2:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
a "dually" truck means there are dbl set of wheels each side of the rear axle.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By Spivonious on 2/18/2009 4:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, okay, that makes sense.

The OP must have been towing a motor home or something to take that on a year-long road trip.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By Spuke on 2/19/2009 1:20:51 PM , Rating: 1
Of course he failed to mention that he was most likely towing too much weight with the truck he had. A F350 dually can tow a lot but even that vehicle has its limits and those should be abided by. There are sooooooooo many people towing trailers with trucks that are not up to the task OR are seriously overloading their trailers.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By Jeffk464 on 2/18/2009 3:24:20 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry, but GM/Ford being junk is not completely true. Yes there are a lot of junk models but not everything they build is junk. The power trains in GM's Cadillac CTS and the new Camero are excellent. Plus, the Corvette is a real bargain for the level of performance you get and compared to exotic sports cars extremely reliable and cheap to maintain. American manufacturers also do a very good job making full sized trucks, not always truck of the year but always good.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By mindless1 on 2/18/2009 8:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure where you get this fiction from, only the smallest cheapest economy cars last a mere 10 years or so, the rest are retired for one of two reasons, accidents that total them, or not maintaining them properly which causes rust-through or breakdown.

What seems more likely is when you see american cars you aren't interested in the deals so you don't realize the ones you're seeing are more than 5-10 years old, on the road all around you. Would you recognize a 15 year old Ford Contour was 15 if it were clean? I'm guessing no.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By wordsworm on 2/19/2009 12:34:05 AM , Rating: 2

According to these statistics, when talking about cars at least, Mercedes is at the top of the list. For 'regular' cars, that would be Toyota with a 66% survival rate, compared to Chrysler 56% (boy was I surprised!), Chevrolet 49% - no surprise, Ford 43% - again, no surprise. But the biggest surprise is the Hyundai. I will never buy one based on that statistic! 17.3%!

The trucks, on the other hand, are far more favorable to the American brands than the Japanese. What surprised me on that graph was that VWs seem to be very good. Their cars are crap, but their trucks top the list. Go figure.

I wanted to find statistics on maintenance costs to compare the vehicles, but was unable to. Maybe you'll have better luck.

In any case, Toyotas, at least with cars, keep their value much better than the American brands.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By mindless1 on 2/19/2009 2:20:55 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps, but in a recession what keeps it's value isn't so important, people aren't looking to sell then buy a new car regardless of the hype around electric cars.

What I tend to infer from the data about trucks (which generally, are more crudely engineered for hauling capacity), is people who own trucks tend to know more about vehicle maintenance and repair, are less likely to screw up a repair or avoid necessary maintenance.

IOW, stats are as much about the habits of the groups of people buying any particular vehicle as they are about that vehicle itself. We just can't easily dismiss the human owner variable in the equation, which is briefly mentioned in the sidebar accompanying those stats.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By mindless1 on 2/19/2009 2:25:30 AM , Rating: 2
Or to put it another way, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If everyone thought a yugo lasted the longest, so those mindful of longevity bought yugos, and those mindful of longevity would also tend to be the ones who take the best care of their cars so they treated them better, then yugos would last far longer than they did if people only thought of them as cheap junk.

Any machine lasts longer if treated properly. Some may have glaring design flaws but even the Chevys that don't seen to do so well, can last 20 years if one accepts the repair bills that wouldn't have caused higher TCO over their lifespan. Ride quality and appearance are entirely a different matter, but a subjective one and paying up front for quality has to also be weighed against the interest that money would earn over 10+ years' time.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By wordsworm on 2/19/2009 11:18:57 AM , Rating: 2
Are you saying then that owners of Toyotas care more for their vehicles than owners of Ford, Chrysler, or GM? Are you saying that the owners of a Plymouth so disregard their vehicles so as to warrant the terrible performance in terms of endurance?

Let's put it this way. Once upon a time, I went with a friend to get a part from a junkyard that he needed to fix his car. The guy who worked there lent me a bit and a tool and told me not to lose it - the bit itself was worth about $200. The length of the tool was long - which as you likely know means more torque (I know, ladies prefer a tool with more girth, but that's another story).

I hauled on that screw or bolt, can't recall what it was. Given a Mastercrap tool set, I'd have wrecked the bit and never had a chance at getting the part. That bit, on the other hand, did the job.

Good tools, good cars, good craftsmanship, all make a difference in the longevity of a vehicle, as does maintenance and care. Mercedes makes a class one product. People who buy them have money and like to take care of their investment. Clearly both sides are a factor.

However, my rhetorical question simply means that a Toyota holds its value because people know that it's a better vehicle when it comes to cars. They last longer. The owners, I cannot help to think, aren't likely to take greater care of them than their American 3 counterparts.

I don't know about you, but the longevity of a vehicle's life is everything to me. I don't care what it looks like. I care that it's efficient, cheap to maintain, and does the job. For me, it's a means to an end, not the end in itself.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By afkrotch on 2/19/2009 7:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
Even if American cars were reliable, I'd still buy Japanese. American cars have ugly styling, poor handling, and simply just crap. Also metric ftw.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By Spuke on 2/19/2009 2:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
I have to say that the primary reason I don't buy American (until I bought my Solstice) is because of the lack of manual transmission options. I like manuals and always buy one given the choice. American cars, generally, are too focused on the common US consumer (which prefers an auto). If I were in the market for a NEW sedan under $30k, I would buy a Honda Accord V6 with a manual or a Nissan Altima V6 with manual. I like the styling of the new Malibu better (especially the interior) but there's no manual option so its a no go for me.

RE: GM seems to be getting it
By rudolphna on 2/19/2009 2:54:04 PM , Rating: 2
What exactly is wrong with a well-made, smooth shifting automatic? They are much easier when in stop and go traffic, and driving around town. Manual is ok, but for the most part, given the choice, I would pick an automatic.

Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By Amiga500 on 2/18/2009 12:44:04 PM , Rating: 1
European customers are eager to get their hands on electric vehicles of their own

We are?

Is it actually all that more efficient than a small diesel? A small VW Polo diesel will do around 700 miles on a 45 litre tank (approx 78 mpg). How big is the tank in this?

A quick price comparison:

The price per unit right here, right now is 16.80 pence - the volt has a 16 KWh battery, capable of carrying it 40 miles. That is £2.70 in 40 miles....

The price of diesel right now is around £1/litre - so you'd need a car doing 74 mpg to equal the volt... which is impressive... but fractionally shy of the VW's 78 mpg.

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By IGoodwin on 2/18/2009 1:06:25 PM , Rating: 1
Please can you factor in that the 40 mile range does not include a full battery charge, as the petrol engine will kick in way before it is completely depleted.

By IGoodwin on 2/18/2009 1:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
Just checked, and based on

The Volt can drive for 40 miles on a single full electric charge of it’s battery pack. It is a known fact that the battery pack will be allowed to drain down from 80% to 30% before the gas-generator kicks in. Since the battery pack holds 16 KWH of energy, that means 8 KWH will get you 40 miles.

You need to double your estimated mpg figure for the Volt

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By VTOLfreak on 2/18/2009 2:24:33 PM , Rating: 2
Most people in Europe figured that one out already. I have yet to see a single Prius or other hybrid on the road. Allot of new cars (even budget ones) do come with stop-start systems that turn the engine off and back on at traffic lights though.

A plug-in serial diesel hybrid would be a perfect marriage of both worlds. Take a 78mpg diesel car, then add a hybrid system. I wonder how much mpg a Prius would get after a engine swap with a 1.1L diesel engine...

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By Spivonious on 2/18/2009 2:27:45 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't turning on the car use more gas than idling for less than 5 minutes though? That's what I've always heard.

By rgsaunders on 2/18/2009 6:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, a test by a popular consumer magazine ended up proving that turning the vehicle off for stops exceeding 18 seconds duration yielded a fuel savings, your comment properly falls under the "urban myth" category.

By jjmcubed on 2/18/2009 11:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
Back in the days of carbs, yes...

By afkrotch on 2/19/2009 7:26:06 AM , Rating: 2
No, but you'll probably kill your battery in under a year. Starting a car is the most demanding function a car battery has to endure.

Not sure if a hybrid has a regular car battery on top of the rechargeable battery pack or if it just uses the pack.

By rudolphna on 2/19/2009 2:59:21 PM , Rating: 2
something like a minute more like. But turning it on/off that much is bad for the battery, and especially the starter.

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By Keeir on 2/18/2009 5:05:18 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how much mpg a Prius would get after a engine swap with a 1.1L diesel engine...

This myth really bugs me...

A smaller displacement engine is not inheriently more efficient than a larger displacement engine.

A smaller wieght engine can be considered more efficient than a larger wight engine, but the differences in wieght tend to be small in comparison to an entire auto's wieght.

In reality, it takes matching the engine that produces the energy requirements of the car at the highest efficienys with an engine that can produce the required maximum power for the expected performance maximums of the car.

A Prius may get slightly better milage on a tiny 3 cyclinder Diesal (because Diesel has more energy content and Diesel engines are more efficient than Gasoline), but at the same time, you would be reducing top speed, maximum acceleration, climb rate, maximum cargo, etc etc. Furthermore, the 1.1L Diesel may do no better efficieny wise than a large 1.4L Diesel engine since the class of car the Prius is in in terms of Size and Wieght, typically use the larger engines, even in Europe.

By rudolphna on 2/19/2009 2:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well, for one thing, its a dang prius.. People dont buy priuses for "accelleration, top speed or towing capacity". They buy them for fuel efficiency, and as a general rule, downsizing the engine size improves fuel economy.

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By Keeir on 2/18/2009 2:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
As another posters has noted, a "full" charge will typically be in the 8KWh to 10KWh range...

I get that that VW Polo Diesel

Is a very efficient car at 5.8 pence for fuel per mile (Assuming your number of 78 mpg is accurate. I see the VW Polo Bluemotion is rated at 3.8L per 100 km, or roughly 74 mpg (imperial!),

However, the Chevy Volt, Assuming 8kWh to 10 kWh "full charge" requirements

Should be more efficient at 4 pence for electricity per mile for the first 40 miles

Also note, that VW Polo has a significantly smaller engine (less flexibility) at 47kW to the Volts 111kW. The Polo also seems to be smaller (3750 in2 for the front cross section of the Hatch to the Volt's 3986 in2). Overall length of the Polo sedan version is significantly smaller than the Volt, although the extra rear interior room of the Hatch may mean the interior volume of the Hatch is greater than the Volts...

Comparing "Apples to Apples" in terms of overall car variables means going to a "Jetta" sized model of which the 1.9 TDI engine is a good match power wise with the Volt's electric engine. This car (Jetta Bluemotion) gets a combined rating of 4.6L per 100 km or roughly 61 mpg (imperial for those americans),

That ends up with a "first forty" miles cost 7.3 pence per mile for a car the same level of flexibility and size as a Volt.

I will further state that GM promises (I will assume for the second this is a okay promise) that the 40 miles will be acchieved on EPA City Cycle, on which the closet equivalent car to the Jetta Bluemotion, the Jetta TDI 2.0L US spec car acchieves only 30 mpg (US gallons) which is roughly 36 mpg (Imperial).

Using your own values of approx 4.54 pounds per Imp. Gallon, the US spec Jetta TDI is approx 12.6 pence per mile.

So yeah, the Volt/Amphere based car really is significantly more marginial cost efficient... electricity costs will probably be 1/2 to 1/3 the diesel costs of a similar car...

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By Keeir on 2/18/2009 2:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
Oh forgot to include these

VW Polo- 2,600 lbs, 3750 in2 (47 kW engine)
VW Jetta- 3,200 lbs, 4023 in2 (77 kW engine)
GM Volt- 3,500 lbs, 3986 in2 (111 kW engine)

A good point is that a Diesel Jetta will probably run you 22-25,000 USD compared to Volts 35-40,000 USD so you most likely will never be economically better off with a unsubsidized Volt.

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By andrejs on 2/18/2009 4:53:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hi there...
First time commenting :) and reading news for a long time on this site...

I can say.. that i'm not impressed with volts specs... (i'm writing from europe - croatia)

and a lot people wont be also... why?

everyone just looks how much it will cost you for fuel... but... when you have lets say 10.000 usd price diference volt - and some diesel ... you can easly see how much miles you can drive on diesel just on price diference...

and.. also... i drive Hyundai i30 CRDi (diesel) 1.6 L engine with 115 HP (84,5kW) / 235 nm of torq... it hase 1480 kg in weight, 50 L tank for fuel
my in city driving gets as low as 7,5 L for 100 km and this is for me.. that drives with heavy foot on gas pedal...

out of the city.. i get 4,5 L for 100 km ... i paid my hyundai fully loaded (only leather missing) 122.000 kn => 20300 USD

so you do the math.... how many miles i could get just with price diference from the two cars...

volt/ampera has to go down with the price a lot... if it wants to compete

p.s. my father drives hyundai elantra 2.0 L 145 HP (105kW) / 300 nm of torq ... he also gets from 5-6 L od diesel for 100 km of driving... so we can both drive for 1.000 km between gas stops :) thats around 625 miles

Hyundai i30

Hyundai Elantra

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By Keeir on 2/18/2009 5:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
everyone just looks how much it will cost you for fuel... but... when you have lets say 10.000 usd price diference volt - and some diesel ... you can easly see how much miles you can drive on diesel just on price diference...

Thats true. But I think that the Volt/Ampere is not meant to compete directly price-wise...

The premise of the Chevy Volt is that for a large number of people, the Chevy Volt has the potential to remove 75%+ of thier gasoline or diesel usage and transistion this to the power grid.

In a country, say France, were 80%+ of the electrical power is Nuclear Power, a Volt system can reduce the CO2 emissions of Driving by 50-75% even compared with the most efficient Diesels cars in the same category.

By lightfoot on 2/18/2009 5:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
In a country, say France, were 80%+ of the electrical power is Nuclear Power, a Volt system can reduce the CO2 emissions of Driving by 50-75% even compared with the most efficient Diesels cars in the same category.

That will save a lot of baby polar bears. What European wouldn't want to pay an extra $10,000 - 20,000 USD to save a baby polar bear? That's a bargin at any price!

RE: Europeans and leccy vehicles...
By TSS on 2/18/2009 11:00:43 PM , Rating: 2
hell you could sell this vehicle in holland only and the entire fleet of cars on the road will be replaced within months.

because of the goverment tax, our *current* gas price is $6,30 per gallon. at it's peak, it was $11,40 to the gallon. dutch gas is the most expensive in the world.

we pay about $0,27 per KWH. even if we'd have to fully charge the 16 KWH battery, we'd end up with a cost of $4,32 per 40 miles.

our most sold car in 2007 here(fastest i could find on a quick search) was the peugot 207. in the *best* situtaion, it does 24 kilometers to 1 litre, or about 57 MPG (so efficient as hell)

40 miles = 64 kilometers.

so, for driving 64 kilometers, the volt will cost us $4,32, while the best sold car of 2007, which is far more fuel efficient then most cars in the USA, will cost us $16,38

ya damned straight we want this car! GIMMEH!

500 miles
By Screwballl on 2/18/2009 11:50:33 AM , Rating: 2
With a full tank of gas, this range is extended to an ample 500 miles.

So why is the American based Volt only looking around 300 miles? Is it because there are lesser emissions standards in Europe (with the US standards causing a massive mpg drop)?

RE: 500 miles
By aftlizard on 2/18/2009 12:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
The last I heard the Volt can get as much as 640 miles on one tank. Did something change?

RE: 500 miles
By bobsmith1492 on 2/18/2009 12:11:45 PM , Rating: 2
At some point, they reduced the size of the gas tank - less weight in gas means more overall mileage. I don't recall how far it's supposed to be able to go, however.

RE: 500 miles
By abscoder on 2/18/2009 12:51:34 PM , Rating: 5
They dropped it from 600 to 400 miles (360 without the electric power). Either way it's further than my bladder can make it.

RE: 500 miles
By andrejs on 2/18/2009 5:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
i think that of the US states only california has better laws for emissions then in europe...

if you want to sell US car in europe it has to pass massive modifications to complye... even brakes are lover raintg in US then those that are required in Europe...

every car in europe has to pass tehnical exam every year.. and alos it has to pass eco test if you want to register and drive a car... if it does not pass eco test.. you cant register car... in europe... until it complies with it...

maybe it's just a typo... 300 miles -> 500 km .. so mybe they just forgot to change from miles to km

RE: 500 miles
By Keeir on 2/18/2009 5:41:40 PM , Rating: 2
mmmm... thats not the actual truth..

In fact, its a mixed bag between US and Europe. US emphasizes some things and Europe others in both emissions and safety

It may be a typo, but it may also reflect that the European Driving cycle is considerably easier on cars than the EPA.

RE: 500 miles
By s12033722 on 2/18/2009 6:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, that is exactly the opposite of the normal case, which is a major reason why we don't have as many diesel cars over here. European particulate emissions standards are much looser than US standards, as are some of their safety regulations. To make the ultra-light diesel-powered European cars legal here often requires the addition of expensive emission control equippment and a beefed-up chassis, which add both weight and expense.

RE: 500 miles
By Jeffk464 on 2/18/2009 10:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
Volkswagen, recently got their small clean diesels to pass California smog emissions and are now legal for sale. Diesel does not have to mean dirty anymore.

RE: 500 miles
By Spuke on 2/19/2009 3:03:33 PM , Rating: 2
Volkswagen, recently got their small clean diesels to pass
Which small clean diesel VW's are you talking about? The only diesel offered by VW in the US is in the Jetta and that's not a small car by any means.

By BillyBatson on 2/18/2009 6:44:47 PM , Rating: 2
All the front end pictures remind me of the new Acura TL etc

By therealnickdanger on 2/18/09, Rating: -1
RE: Hybrid.
By randomposter on 2/18/2009 12:13:23 PM , Rating: 1
You seem to be quite knowledgable about gayfuel. I am intrigued. What else can you tell us about it?

RE: Hybrid.
By therealnickdanger on 2/18/2009 12:25:14 PM , Rating: 1
I drink it by the gallon.

RE: Hybrid.
By Jeffk464 on 2/18/2009 10:37:14 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, everyone knows you are not a man unless you drive a gas guzzling Dodge Ram.

RE: Hybrid.
By therealnickdanger on 2/19/2009 7:57:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, so why are you restating the obvious?

By Barfo on 2/18/09, Rating: -1
RE: ewww
By eilersr on 2/18/2009 12:03:33 PM , Rating: 5
Ugly or not, the rear of these vehicles is dictated more by aerodynamics than aesthetics.

That general shape lowers the overall drag coefficient, improving MPG. That's why as more vehicles pursue higher fuel efficiency, they're all starting to get the same swept look to them.

I don't think GM necessarily set out to copy the looks of the Prius, but figured out, like Toyota, what it took to make a high MPG car.

RE: ewww
By Spuke on 2/19/2009 3:06:41 PM , Rating: 2
Partially wrong. The looks of hybrids are dictated by people's expectations. That market wants cars to have this look. There are other cars with similar CD's and look nothing like the Prius.

RE: ewww
By peter7921 on 2/18/2009 12:11:25 PM , Rating: 5
I have to disagree, this looks so much better than the volt. I'm pissed the Europeans get this and we get the volt.

I was so disappointed when i saw the production version of the volt.

RE: ewww
By austinag on 2/18/2009 12:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
The production Volt really did loose a lot of the style shown in the original show car. I'd guess the intended market for a hybrid probably doesn't care about the looks that much. They're buying the Prius like crazy and that thing makes my 5 year old daughter point and laugh (no joke).

RE: ewww
By the goat on 2/18/2009 1:29:26 PM , Rating: 2
[Prius] makes my 5 year old daughter point and laugh (no joke).

Teach your daughter some manors. It is rude to point.

All joking aside. These pictures look 100 times better then the production volt. But it still looks nothing like the badass concept car GM originally showed.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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