GM Europe extends its range image

General Motors will put the range extender system used in the Opel-Vauxhall Ampera into other vehicles in the future as part of its green assault on the car market.

Also under development is ‘Project Junior’ a new all-electric city car which will be made at the Opel plant in Eisenach, Germany.

General Motors Europe president Nick Reilly, who is also chief executive of Opel-Vauxhall, said:

“The range extender can be used in a number of models ranging from compacts to SUVs and I would expect more in our portfolio over the next few years.

The priority for Reilly, however, is getting the European organisation back into profit.

He said at the Geneva Motor Show: “We are doing quite well. People started asking questions when Opel-Vauxhall announced a loss in the last quarter of 2010 but they have short memories.

“Just over a year ago we embarked on one of the most difficult restructuring operations ever seen in the European industry. We predicted a loss of $3bn and we actually made a loss of $1.8bn which was better than we hoped.

“I still think we will be profitable this year and that is the target I have set. We have already seen a great improvement in product and we get the new Zafira later this year and the Ampera plug-in hybrid will also be on sale in Europe before the end of the year.

“We have done a huge amount of work in bringing our costs down which, unfortunately has meant we have lost some jobs in the UK, Germany and Spain. The product line up is good and we are selling our cars at good prices with good margins.”

He said that Vauxhall is doing particularly well in the UK where it was number one in passenger cars in February, overtaking Ford, for the second time in three months.