PRNewswire/ — AM General today announced it has reached an agreement with the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to purchase the DOE’s secured loan to The Vehicle Production Group (VPG). VPG is the Michigan-based company that originally developed and manufactured the acclaimed MV-1, the only American-built vehicle specifically designed from the ground up to meet or exceed the needs of wheelchair passengers and the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Previously, AM General acted solely as the vehicle assembler for VPG. Following this transaction, AM General will own and operate the MV-1 business.
The agreement creates a path to revitalize VPG and form a new company called “Mobility Ventures LLC”, which will acquire the assets of VPG. Production, sales and product development of the MV-1 is expected to resume in approximately 45 days, with AM General bringing more than 50 years of experience and knowledge in the automotive industry to the benefit of passengers who rely on specialty vehicles such as the MV-1.
Assembly of the vehicles will continue to occur at AM General’s world-class, 675,000 square-foot Commercial Assembly Plant in Mishawaka, Ind., which is fully tooled for the MV-1 and ready to resume vehicle assembly. AM General has also begun planning with the more than 100 suppliers of the MV-1 to support the accelerated restart of production and sales. It is anticipated that resumption of MV-1 production and sales will stimulate the creation of hundreds of new jobs.
The MV-1 fills a significant void in consumer, government and paratransit fleet markets while providing unsurpassed accessibility and comfort. The MV-1 is also built to deliver unprecedented durability, reliability and safety as validated time and again by its existing user community. While this transaction is being finalized, AM General will continue to provide service parts and technical support to the network of more than 80 MV-1 dealers and distributors throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The MV-1 is the only vehicle in its class available with a factory-installed clean-burning compressed natural gas fuel option. With its 290-mile range, the MV-1 CNG version contributes to the efforts to reduce American dependence on foreign oil and substantially reduces light-duty fleet emissions and costs, while at the same time dramatically increasing the quality of life for millions of Americans with physical disabilities.
AM General designs, engineers, manufactures, supplies and supports specialized vehicles for military and commercial customers worldwide. AM General has more than five decades of experience meeting the changing needs of the defense and automotive industries, supported by its employees at major facilities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, and a strong supplier base that stretches across 43 states.