Vehicle Production Group

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MV-1
2012 MV-1 in civilian dress.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer AM General
Production 2011-Presesnt
Assembly Mishawaka, Indiana
Body and chassis
Class Compact Minivan
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive
Powertrain
Engine 4.6 L Ford Modular V8
Transmission 4-speed automatic transmission
Dimensions
Wheelbase 122.0 in (3,099 mm)
Length 205.0 in (5,207 mm)
Width 79.4 in (2,017 mm)
Height 75.0 in (1,905 mm)
Curb weight 5,055–5,250 lb (2,293–2,381 kg)
Chronology
Predecessor Standard Taxi

The Vehicle Production Group LLC was an American automobile manufacturer. Based in Miami, Florida, it made the wheelchair-accessible taxi cabs, the MV-1 (Mobility Vehicle-1), which was built in Mishawaka, Indiana at an AM General plant.

History[edit]

Production began in 2011, but by February 2013, Vehicle Production Group ceased production of new vehicles. The company laid off all employees and closed its doors in May 2013 after their finances dropped below the minimum condition of a $50 million clean-energy loan awarded by the US Department of Energy in March 2011.[1] AM General reached an agreement with the Department of Energy to acquire the assets of VPG in September 2013, after it had purchased the $50 million DOE loan for $3 million.[2] AM General created Mobility Ventures,[2] a wholly owned subsidiary to again produce and distribute the MV-1 through its dealer network. Production restarted on March 11, 2014.[3]

Standard Taxi[edit]

Standard Taxi
Overview
Manufacturer The Vehicle Production Group LLC
Dimensions
Wheelbase 118.0 in (2,997 mm)[4]
Length 196.5 in (4,991 mm)[4]
Width 79.4 in (2,017 mm)[4]
Height 75.0 in (1,905 mm)[5]
Chronology
Successor MV-1

The Standard Taxi was a purpose-built taxicab prototype designed by Vehicle Production Group.[6] It was unveiled at the 2005 International Association of Transportation Regulators (IATR) conference and later that year at the Taxicab, Limousine, and Paratransit Association (TLPA) annual convention in Las Vegas.[6]

In mid-2008, it was announced that a contract had been signed with South Bend, Indiana-based AM General to build the Standard Taxi taxicabs, beginning in 2009.[7]

Through market feedback, VPG developed a more advanced and user-friendly vehicle known as the MV-1 to replace the Standard Taxi, which never entered series production.

Specs

  • Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG)
  • Production – 2010 (planned, but cancelled)
  • Engine – GM SEFI 4.3 L Vortec V6 engine
  • Wheelbase – 122 inches (3,099 mm)
  • Length – 196.5 inches (4,991 mm)
  • Width – 79.4 inches (2,017 mm)
  • Height – 75 inches (1,905 mm)
  • Fuel capacity – gasoline – 24 US gallons (91 L)

MV-1[edit]

2012 MV-1 yellow cab

The MV-1 was a purpose-built taxicab designed by Vehicle Production Group and built in Mishawaka, Indiana at an AM General plant[8][9] The name is an acronym for "Mobility Vehicle 1". It was intended to replace the planned Standard Taxi, and like that car it was developed in collaboration with AM General.[8] The first MV-1 rolled off the line in October 2011 and was delivered to disabled former American football player Marc Buoniconti, who was a company spokesperson.[10]

Developed from the Standard Taxi, it was a more advanced and user-friendly vehicle than its predecessor. The MV-1 was the first production-made purpose-built vehicle in North American constructed from the ground up for people with disabilities.[11] It seats up to six adults, with two in full-size wheelchairs. Chairs are allowed entry via an ADA-approved ramp, able to carry 1,200 lb (544 kg) and which stows under the vehicle's floor.[12] The rear doors are 36 inches wide and 56 inches tall, to accommodate bulky wheelchairs.[9]

On 21 October 2011 it was announced that New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission had approved the MV-1 for use as a yellow cab.[13] Because it is handicap accessible, the MV-1 will continue to be approved for taxi use even after the new Nissan NV200 has replaced all other yellow cabs.[citation needed] The MV-1 is the first purpose-built taxicab to be allowed to enter service as a yellow cab since the iconic Checker Marathon.[13]

Specifications[edit]

Side view of the MV-1, in use by "Access-A-Ride", NYC's paratransit system

Originally the MV-1 was to be based on a General Motors pickup truck with a standard GM drivetrain. Instead, the production version has a Roush designed chassis[14] and a powertrain from a Ford van.[9][12] In either case, it has a simple but sturdy body-on-frame construction with fully boxed rails. The engine is the well-known Ford Modular 4.6 liter V8 which produces 248 hp (185 kW).[10] VPG had partnered with Clean Energy Inc, the largest provider of compressed natural gas (CNG) for fleets in North America, to offer the MV-1 with a CNG fuel option. The MV-1 with CNG has an estimated 290-mile range with three Type-3 tanks integrated into the vehicle's design.[9]

Production was temporarily halted in the summer of 2012 as VPG changed their tooling in order to introduce the MV-1 LX, a more luxurious version. The LX will allow the access ramp to be controlled from the keyfob, and also has some wood trim and other luxury features.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Woodyard, Chris (8 May 2013). "Van maker VPG, backed by DOE loans, shuts down". USA Today. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Thurlow, Andrew (5 September 2013). "AM General to acquire Vehicle Production Group". Automotive News. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Mobility Ventures Announces 2014 Production" (Press release). Mishawaka, Indiana: AM General. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Vehicle specifications". Standard Taxi official website. Archived from the original on 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  5. ^ Gall, Jared (April 2007). "2009 Standard Taxi - Auto Shows". Car and Driver. Retrieved 2008-07-15. 
  6. ^ a b "Taxi Reinvented". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2008-07-15. [dead link]
  7. ^ Issue 11[dead link] at StandardTaxi.com
  8. ^ a b Korzeniewski, Jeremy (2009-10-21). "AM General to build VPG MV-1 people-mover at Hummer H2 factory". AutoBlog. AOL. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. 
  9. ^ a b c d Coxworth, Ben (September 22, 2011). "MV-1 van is designed specifically for wheelchair users". gizmag.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-03. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Ewing, Steven J. (2011-10-06). "2011 VPG Autos MV-1: A Long-Overdue Entry In An Otherwise Overlooked Segment". AutoBlog. AOL. 
  11. ^ Gastelu, Gary (December 9, 2010). "Quick Spin: MV-1 Mobility VehicleCar Report". FoxNews.com. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Detroit auto show wrap-up: Vehicle Production Group MV-1". ShopAutoWeek.com. AutoWeek. 2012-01-11. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-03. 
  13. ^ a b "New York City's Taxi & Limousine Commission Approves the MV-1®". PR Newswire. 2011-10-21. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. 
  14. ^ Consumer Guide Automotive
  15. ^ Meenan, Jim (2012-06-13). "AM General prepares to add new line". South Bend Tribune. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 

External links[edit]