* Opel cuts price for first time by 8,000 euros in Germany
* Effective immediately in Germany, other markets to follow
* "No coincidence" it comes with arrival of new competitors
FRANKFURT, Sept 9 General Motors'
European brand Opel has announced a 17 percent cut in the price
of its Ampera electric car in Germany at this week's Frankfurt
car show, where rivals will be showing off their electric models
for the first time.
"Effective immediately, we are lowering the price of an
Ampera to 38,300 euros ($50,400), which is a cut of almost 8,000
euros in Germany," Opel Chief Executive Karl-Thomas Neumann told
an industry conference on Monday.
Speaking to reporters, Neumann said it was no coincidence
that the price cut coincided with the premiere of key competitor
models like the electric version of the Volkswagen
Golf hatchback and Up minicar.
"We see a tremendous chance given all the talk about
electro-mobility and we want to remind people that we have been
in the market already for one and a half years," he said.
Price cuts will also be made in other markets, but due to
differing tax laws, the price-tag and the size of the reduction
will be different from country to country, a company spokesman
Opel's finance chief Michael Lohscheller said the price cut
would not have any impact on its target of a slightly narrower
loss for Opel this year given the relatively low sales figures.
He also said that a better-than-expected first half would
not mean it would upgrade its outlook either. "The second half
is traditionally weaker than the first half in the auto industry
due to seasonal effects. We're sticking to our full-year
guidance," Opel CFO told Reuters on the sidelines of the
Only 828 new Ampera cars were registered in Germany last
year out of a market of 3.08 million vehicles, according to
official figures from the KBA motor vehicle agency.
The Ampera can travel between 40-80 kilometres electrically.
Once the battery is depleted, the car can drive another 500
kilometres with its combustion engine range extender.
Carmakers will be hoping that increasing critical mass of
electric vehicles on the market will help boost the thus far
less than impressive sales across the European region and
beyond, IHS Automotive analyst Tim Urquhart wrote in a research
report on Friday.
In France, Europe's largest electric vehicle market, sales
of Renault's Zoe only amounted to 3,592 cars despite
enjoying a 75 percent share of the market, he said. "If one
takes the Zoe as an example, the omens do not appear hugely
encouraging," he said.