Decision on UK assembly for Ampera still some way off image

A decision has still to be made on whether the Opel-Vauxhall Ampera, with its revolutionary range extender, will be made in the UK.

But if it gets the go ahead it will not go onto the Ellesmere Port production lines for some years yet.

The Ampera goes on sale in the UK in early 2012 but if General Motors decide to build it in Britain it will not be the current model, said GM Europe’s British president and former Vauxhall boss Nick Reilly.

“If and when we take a decision to assemble the Ampera in Europe it will be the second generation which is some years away.

“By then we will have a better idea of acceptance and demand for the vehicle – and we will have a better idea on how much it costs to build. We know that in future it will be less costly to build and hopefully we will be able then to price the car more keenly.”

When it goes on sale in the UK, the Ampera will be priced at £28,995, including a £5,000 grant from the British government.

Reilly added: “Generation one Ampera is not so price sensitive because people want one to be different and they want to be seen as early adopters.”

He said that Opel and Vauxhall hope to sell between 8,000 and 10,000 of the range-extended model – a small 1.4-litre petrol engine acts as a generator for the Ampera’s electric motor once the battery has run out.

“We could probably sell more, but we are constrained by availability, that’s all the cars we can get built for Europe.”