GM: We Prefer Not To Make A Right-Hand-Drive Chevy Bolt −

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Published on September 27th, 2016 | by James Ayre


GM: We Prefer Not To Make A Right-Hand-Drive Chevy Bolt

Those in the UK that were still holding out hope that GM/Vauxhall would sell a right-hand-drive version of the Chevy Bolt will probably be disappointed to hear that the company prefers to not “make a right-hand drive yet,” according to recent reports.

Opel Ampera-e

The exact comment made by the GM rep to Automotive News Europe was that the company is taking “a more cautious approach. If you don’t want to lose too much money, we prefer not to make right-hand-drive yet. The decision was partly financial.”

The “more cautious” bit is in reference to the approach taken a while back with the European version of the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid (PHEV), known as the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, which didn’t sell as well in the UK as the company had hoped.

It’s worth remembering that, weirdly, GM has decided to sell the Bolt in the European market as the “Ampera-e” — nearly the exact same name as the name the Volt PHEV was sold under. I don’t know who thought that was a good idea — it’s bound to lead to confusion amongst consumers, and they are very different models. The Ampera (Volt) was a plug-in hybrid whereas the Ampera-e (Bolt) is a fully electric car, for example.

Autoblog provides more: “There’s good reason for GM to be a bit shy about selling the Ampera-e in the UK. The European version of the Chevy Volt (which had the now-confusing name Ampera) was cancelled after weak sales. Across the continent, it only sold a max of about 5,200 units a year, despite early claims that it would do double that. ANE says that electric vehicle sales are up over nine percent in the UK so far this year, but that isn’t enough for Vauxhall to get in on the otherwise cheery Bolt/Ampera-e scene. Maybe down the road.”

Presumably, if sales elsewhere are strong enough, then a right-hand-drive version of the Bolt is likely to pop up at some point, but we’ll have to wait to see.


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About the Author

‘s background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Chris

    Comparing this awesome car to the first gen Volt is comparing apples and oranges. The market has moved on and this car would easily be worth the time and money by GM to bring it here.

    • 178rod

      sounds to me they are not confident it will even do well on mainland europe.(I think it will) so they are holding back any additional spending.
      This is where Tesla wins. They have been very clever in choosing the right market for their first to cars to allow them to evolve.
      I don’t know about GM, but Tesla are far more ethical than most European car makers, I cant wait until they are more mainstream. The Germans, Italians and French have all cheated in noise tests as well as emission tests.

  • William

    So, how much could it possibly cost for them to engineer a flipped version of the car? No, seriously, I’m asking.

    • Michal

      Thats depends, for a company like Tesla, not much at all, but for GM which wastes funds on way more seniors, managers… and other completely counterproductive people, this can actually be a big deal. But the truth of it is not in the cost of using mirror effect in windows paint, but to sell it as the costs of forcing market to buy something ugly and embarrassing cost a fortune and GM does it all the time, so they know what they are talking about. And I’m not kidding, seeing their internal practice, there is no surprise that this mess went bust so many times. So thanks to the useless management of GM they are producing only ugly terrible and unreliable cars which need a big push even before they leave showrooms and will have chance to break in terms of push for sales. In the UK anyone with a bit of a brain earns good $$ and therefore can afford much sexier German alternatives. Either Volt or BMX X6… which one would you chose? Or there are the well… other kind of people who either cannot, or don’t want to be productive and for those anything better than cheap car under £8k which will get them from A to B is simply not affordable. Anything in between is insufficient and usually ends up driving second hand luxury as its cheaper than those unreliable brand new budget cars.

      THis is the reason why Volt and ampera died. Its great car, much better than the mitsubushi PHEV or Prius, but nobody knew about it, it was too early and it is still not pretty, nor interesting… its just a wauxhall at triple the usual price. And who cared for the environment bought BEV Leaf.

      BTW Prius was success in the UK only thanks to the Congestion charge exception which was based on lies from Toyota about the emissions and which was now addressed… and replaced by exception to plugins with 2 mile EV only range… speechless

      Bolt (the name is so stupid, that it perfectly reflects GM and will ultimately work against the car). Will do okay-ish in the UK, but to be honest who can pay £30k for that will be looking at something what is actually a nice car – Tesla… 2 year old model S with under 15k miles and 80kWh pack is now available at sub £50k… Another year down the line and it will be £40k…

      Still Bolt (omg, I hope that they put the portraits of that idilot who designed that car and the other one who named it onto wall of shame) will do well in UK thanks to the ever rapidly growing demand for long range EVs.

      But again GM went as ever the worst direction and instead of sticking with at least Chevrolet, they would call it Wauxhall here… Whats wrong with those people and how come there is nobody who can get it done better?

    • Nick

      Difficult to put an exact price on it, but probably along the lines of $30-50 million because it’s not as simple as just doing a symmetrical version on CAD. Imagine that you have to retool all the injection moldings which are designed for high volumes. Then you want to keep stampings from the left hand drive versions because metal tooling costs far more than plastic injection. For projected low volumes of a few thousand cars per year, that simply makes no economic sense unless you could somehow charge £10-20k more for the right hand drive version

  • partyzant

    It’s time for you Brits, to switch to proper side driving ;p

    • 178rod

      this would have been possible when Britain first joined the EU, the roads were quiet. Future investmen and fore-thought have never been a British governments strong point though.
      Sweden decided to swap sides. Britain’s car ownership has risen at least 10-fold since then

  • Greg Hudson

    Considering the Bolt concept(s) were built in Melbourne Australia (also right hand drive like the UK, Japan, Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand and numerous others), not making the Bolt in RHD is a slap in the face for the engineers who created it. One less reason to ever buy a GM product…

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