The 82nd Geneva International Motor Show kicked off the week with the announcement of the 2012 European Car of the Year. The Chevrolet Volt and the car’s European cousin, the Opel Ampera, earned top honors this year beating out six other finalists including the Citroën DS 5, Fiat Panda, Ford Focus, Range Rover Evoque, Toyota Yaris and Volkswagen Up!.


A panel of 59 judges from 23 European countries were tasked with selecting the 2012 European Car of the Year and the Volt/Ampera came out on top with 330 points. This put the vehicle well ahead of the Volkswagen Up! with 281 points and the Ford Focus with 256 points.


Susan Docherty, Chevrolet President and Managing Director for Europe, commented on the win. "Our car demonstrates that electric driving can be fun and reliable without ever compromising the owners’ lifestyle. It is a proud moment for us and an honor to receive this award from Europe’s leading jury of automotive journalists."  Source: General Motors


Although the Chevy Volt has received critical acclaim, including the World Green Car of the Year 2011 and North American Car of the Year 2011 designations, sales of the range-extended electrified vehicle are lagging here in the United States. General Motors has actually made the decision to halt production of the Volt for five weeks so that dealerships can sell the excess inventory.


Sales data from across the pond is better, though. Yesterday Opel reported that it had already received approximately 7,000 orders for the Opel Ampera, far exceeding initial expectations. The company’s sales target for the year is 10,000 units and Opel is already well on its way towards meeting this goal.