November 20th, 2010
09:06 AM ET
LISBON, Portugal (CNN) –While President Obama was at the NATO Summit, he took some time away from meetings to check out and tout the next generation of GM cars headed to European markets.
While his own presidential limo, "the Beast" is a GM-produced vehicle, Obama had a look at the Opel Ampera, a plug-in hybrid from GM that is due to be released at the end of 2011. The car is manufactured in Detroit, Michigan and is very similar to GM's other electric car, the Volt.
It runs on a battery but is also powered by a fuel based combustion engine that kicks in at higher speeds, and when a driver does not have access to a charge station.
"This is a nice looking car," the president said as he had a look at the car he hopes will help boost American exports. He spoke with Guillermo Samiento, managing director of GM Portugal, as he sat behind the wheel and learned about the specifics of the Ampera.
No decision has been made at this point whether to add a manufacturing plant for the Ampera in Europe according to Samiento, and Volker Hoff, vice president of Opel, who also met with Obama as he looked at the car.
Obama called the Ampera "another example of GM technology that is going to have great appeal here in Europe, and added, "this is the future right here."
GM re-emerged as a publically owned company this week when its stock made an initial offering on Thursday after emerging from bankruptcy and a federal bailout. Obama said the stock offering was a result of the difficult decisions made during the financial crisis that were "starting to pay off." While he acknowledged there was still a "long road ahead," he said the auto industry is "once again on the rise.".
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