MISHAWAKA, Ind. - AM General, better known as 'The Hummer Plant' in Mishawaka rolled out an all new vehicle today and it’s slated to be in full production in a few years. Its called the MV-1, a van specifically designed for wheelchairs.
There’s been a lot of hype about the MV-1 and it might be warranted. After all, AM General is employing 150 people just to make it and one of the models runs on natural gas.
According to Matt DeMars, President of Vehicle Production Group the company that makes the MV-1, among the disabled community this van could be king. “The way the car is set up is different than the way people would provide accessible transportation from before,” says DeMars.
The MV-1 is superior to the current standard accessible vehicle option, after market modifications to vans or trucks.
South Bend resident Scott Carson has been using modified vehicles for his son Gavin for the past 35 years. Gavin is in a wheelchair and Carlson always worries about safety when you cut up a car for the equipment needed to get a wheelchair inside. “You get concerned about how that’ll affect integrity, especially in this climate, rust and that kind of thing,” says Carlson
Not to mention, there’s not much room and it’s expensive. “Just to get someone in the vehicle is a 20 to 25 thousand dollar ticket,” says Carson.
AM General’s new meal ticket has got the biggest door created for an accessible vehicle, room for multiple wheelchairs and it goes for $40 thousand. According to Vehicle Production Group it’s considerably less than a new van with aftermarket parts.
Carson says he'll take a look. “When that becomes available, we’re going to stop by and see how that looks,” He says.
AM General, for one, hopes the new MV-1's popularity takes off. “That gives us comfort in knowing that we’re going to be able to share in (Vehicle Production Group's) success going forward and those jobs will be right here in Mishawaka,” says Rick Smith, President of AM General's Commercial Business Branch.
The payoff could be jobs right here.
According to Vehicle Production Group, the MV-1 is sold out for its first year of production. AM General plans to produce 10 to 12-thousand in 2012 and up to 30-thousand in 2013.