Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid chilly European reception irks Girsky

General Motors Vice Chairman Steve Girsky isn’t happy with the lukewarm reception the Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid has received in Europe.

“All the governments in Europe said, ‘We want EVs, we want EVs,’ ” Girsky said last week at the Geneva auto show. “We show up with one, and where is everybody?”

Last year Opel sold fewer than 6,000 Amperas, European versions of the Chevrolet Volt. Girsky calls that result — and Europe’s tepid demand for electrified cars — “a disappointment.”

Still, Opel has more than a 20 percent market share of electric and plug-in vehicles in Europe, Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said.

Girsky noted that the Volt is selling better in the United States, where sales tripled in 2012 to 23,461.

Girsky said GM is working to drive down cost in the next-generation Volt and said Opel will continue to sell the Ampera. In the meantime, “We’re willing to absorb some losses on this because it’s new technology.”

Girsky wants European governments to help create demand for EVs and plug-ins: “We’re hoping for some support from other places, whether its subsidies or infrastructure help or something like that.”