GM's Opel mulls partner to share hybrid costs: report

FRANKFURT Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:00pm EDT

A sign indicates the way towards the headquarters of German car manufacturer Opel in Ruesselsheim, 20km from Frankfurt, June 10, 2011. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

A sign indicates the way towards the headquarters of German car manufacturer Opel in Ruesselsheim, 20km from Frankfurt, June 10, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - General Motors European unit Opel is considering taking on a partner in the field of fuel-saving hybrid powertrains in order to share development costs as the brand rolls out more gasoline-electric cars.

"Hybrid technology is becoming increasingly more important. We are not holding any concrete talks but a cooperation would be certainly a good way to cut costs," Opel chief Karl-Friedrich Stracke was quoted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's Wednesday edition as saying.

According to the head of Opel, the driver is European legislation that mandates by 2020 carmakers to sell on average vehicles that emit 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.

"We need hybrid technology starting with compact cars and upwards," he explained.

Stracke's Opel is betting the Ampera, an extended-range electric vehicle based on the Chevrolet Volt, will help.

The car, which will hit markets at the end of this year at a price tag of some 40,000 euros, has already received some 6,000 orders, the paper reported.

In 2012, Opel hopes to sell at least 10,000 Amperas across Europe.

"Maybe we even hit 12,000 or more," Stracke said.

(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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