Report: GM to build Bolt sibling in Mich.

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. reportedly will build the European sibling of the upcoming all-electric Chevrolet Bolt in Metro Detroit.

German magazine Automobil Produktion on Monday reported that the Opel Ampera-e will be built alongside the Bolt at the automaker’s Orion Assembly plant in Orion Township.

A GM spokesman would not confirm nor deny the report, which comes roughly a week after GM CEO and Chairman Mary Barra announced that its European Opel brand plans to start selling the Ampera-e in 2017.

Producing the Ampera-e at Orion Assembly would make sense, given the company plans to start producing the Bolt at the facility later this year. Besides brand badging, the cars are expected to essentially be the same.

A representative from United Auto Workers Local 5960, which represents workers at the Lake Orion Township plant, could not be reached for comment.

GM announced in November 2015 that it would invest $160 million at Orion Assembly for tooling and equipment and $40 million for new dies at Pontiac Metal Center. GM said no new jobs were part of the investments.

The Bolt/Ampera-e production would be similar to what GM did with the Chevrolet Volt and its European counterpart, the Opel Ampera. The plug-in hybrid electric vehicles were made at the automaker’s Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant with either Chevy or Opel badging, and then shipped to their respective locations.

In 2014, it was announced Opel planned to cease production of the Ampera after the redesign for the second-generation Volt, now arriving in dealerships nationwide for the 2017 model year. The 2016 Volt was available only in select states.

GM sold just under 1,000 Volts in the U.S. in January, an 83.8 percent increase from the beginning of 2015. Volt sales declined 18.1 percent to less than 15,400 in 2015, largely due to cheap gas.