Chevrolet Volt prices match the Vauxhall Ampera
Chevrolet Volt prices are out and with a single trim level priced at £29,995, it creates an interesting problem for the US brand.
Chevrolet is owned by General Motors, which also owns Vauxhall. When Chevrolet returned to the UK in 2005 it was designed as a budget alternative to Vauxhall.
For example, Vauxhall Astra prices are higher than Chevrolet Cruze prices and the Vauxhall model is widely accepted as the better equipped car in terms of equipment and materials.
Vauxhall Astra prices are a handy guide as to where Vauxhall sits in the market and the lower Chevrolet Cruze prices ensure the brand is not directly competing with its sister brand.
However, the Chevrolet Volt is different. It is essentially the same car as the Vauxhall Ampera with a different badge on.
The Vauxhall Ampera boasts different styling touches and more trim levels, but both cars use almost identical electric powertrains and boast an on-board petrol engine designed to recharge the battery while the car is on the move.
This means the car is not strictly a hybrid because the petrol never actually drives the wheels. It also means both cars offer ultra-low CO2 emissions and fuel economy well above 100mpg.
So far, so good, but Chevrolet Volt prices of £29,995 put it in direct competition with the Vauxhall Ampera.
In fact, when the £29,995 Vauxhall Ampera trim level is introduced in September, the Vauxhall model will cost exactly the same as the Volt.
This is confusing to buyers and not helping GM, which is keen to separate the brands. There is a lavishly-equipped Vauxhall Ampera priced at £32,000 and another at £34,000, but the lower-spec model has confused matters slightly.
The Chevrolet Volt includes air con, cruise control, a seven-inch screen and a rear camera, but sat-nav and a BOSE sound system.
It also includes leather seats, Bluetooth with voice recognition and DAB radio. The former is not available with the Ampera.
Meanwhile, the entry-level Ampera comes with the usual cruise control, alloy wheels and and seven-inch touch screen, but does not include the leather seats.
Which one is the best? It is a difficult question. Some buyers are sure to choose higher-specification Ampera models, something which is not available with the Chevrolet.
But, if buyers are looking for an extended-range electric car under £30,000, the Ampera and Volt throw up a confusing choice and one which GM should have avoided.