• Jun 17, 2009


Wither natural gas? T. Boone Pickens was last heard strongly supporting using the abundant North American fossil fuel as a means of moving the U.S. away from foreign oil. Today, though, the Texas oil man (and almost wind man) was revealed as an investor in a new automotive company called V-Vehicle Co. Based in San Diego, VVC has announced that it will move into an ex-GM plant in Monroe, Louisiana that has been idle since 2007 to build "environmentally friendly" vehicles.

About all we know of the vehicles is the teaser image above and that the company says it will be a "fuel-efficient car for the U.S. market," but we can guess at the style because former Mazda design chief Tom Matano, the man behind the MX-5 Miata, has been hired as VVC's design director. Matano said that more details on the car would be released later.

As we mentioned earlier, the state hopes that the plant will create about 1,400 new jobs with an average salary of $40,000. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was at the announcement ceremony today and says that the state offered VVC an incentive package worth $67 million, and local governments will put up a further $15 million. Thanks again to Mart for the tip!

[Sources: CNBC, Automotive News - sub. req'd]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Matano is also the dean of the Industrial Design school at Academy Art.... I guess I should keep my ear to the ground during the summer. News to me.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't help but wonder how many other companies like this would have swooped in to replace lost GM jobs if GM was just allowed to go away a year ago.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is SOCIALISM. omg I CAN'T BELIEVE THEY ARE GOING TO RIP ***US*** OFF AND TAKE ***OUR*** MONEY AND LEAVE ***OUR CHILDREN*** WITH A BILL.

        Jindal is a MARXIST SOCIALIST AMERICAN HATING THUG. HE'S TAKING ***OUR*** MONEY AND HANDING IT OUT LIKE TOILET PAPER. V-VEHICLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO GO BANKRUPT RATHER THAN MORE MONEY TO BE PRINTED ON ***OUR** DIME. THIS IS PURE SOCIALISM, I WANT TO VOMIT RIGHT NOW.

        oh wait. we only say those things if its a Dem doing it. hypocrite rethuglicans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nice of the Obama administration to have GM slice of pieces of itself for pennies to the benefit of these enviro-ventures.

        Imagine that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM was never going to "go away." It was going into Chapter 11, not Chapter 7, or it was going to reorganize outside of bankruptcy. So now it's in Chapter 11. It is closing plants and brands and there will be more room for start-ups like this. A year one way or the other isn't going to make a difference when the business is as capital intensive as this industry is.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What's stopping them from replacing GM lost jobs even though GM still exists?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Future sounds competitive with all these smaller start-ups..
        • 5 Years Ago
        It also sounds SOCIALIST.

        Jindal is a MARXIST SOCIALIST AMERICAN HATING THUG. HE'S TAKING ***OUR*** MONEY AND HANDING IT OUT LIKE TOILET PAPER. V-VEHICLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO GO BANKRUPT RATHER THAN MORE MONEY TO BE PRINTED ON ***OUR** DIME. THIS IS PURE SOCIALISM, I WANT TO VOMIT RIGHT NOW.

        oh wait. we only say those things if its a Dem doing it. hypocrite rethuglicans.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is awesome, the resurgence of smaller automakers. Instead of badge engineering, we actually get uniquely different engineering.

      Isn't this what the free markets are about? the pursuit of a better mouse trap?
      What better way to showcase American ingenuity. This is kinda like when the all the baby bells were created with the breakup of AT&T.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Polo-you need to do your homework in regards to wages and the free market system of The United States. Republicans have nothing to do with wages. Look into the role of unions when it comes to outsourcing jobs. Take off your "hate republican" glasses and try to be objective about what you speak of.
      • 5 Years Ago
      awesome, while tesla wasn't a rip-roaring success, it's nice to see more people putting their money where their mouth is and doing something about the inequities they see in domestic car makers. best of luck to 'em. they'll need it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good for Tom Matano, he is a wonderful man and a great car designer.

      It will be interesting to see what his design will be...

      • 5 Years Ago
      Good to see someone reusing existing plants rather than building new ones. Best of luck to these guys.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, the state is giving money to business. Sounds like socialism to me! I didn't think conservative states abided by that evil.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wow, for a progressive, open minded liberal like yourself that's a very narrow minded, prejudiced statement right there. Maybe you should reconsider your party affiliation. Lovin' Louisiana.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yea, sounds more like not taking money from businesses per se. It is afterall the company's money, right? Or does it all just belong to the Federal,State, and Local governments and they decide how much a business is allowed to keep for themselves?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe you read a different article than I did, Kevin. It said that there was an "incentive package," which could mean a wide variety of things. Most likely its a bunch of tax breaks... not exactly "giving money to businesses" per se.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is all fine and well, however did you know that the MSRP of this wonderful car will be about 87K. Not too many workers making 40K will be able to buy this beauty. Alas, the rich will get richer, after all they have the money to make these investments and that does create jobs. But someone has to make a product that is affordable for the masses. Somewhat akin to what Henry Ford did a long time ago.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Big manufacturer or small, expensive small vehicles are simply boutique brands in the U.S., whether they are traditionally powered or otherwise. Only if T. Boone Pickens thinks he can singlehandedly force the price of gas to $5 a gallon will small-car volume increase enough, especially for alternative-fueled vehicles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How do you know the car is going to be "small and expensive"?? For all you know they could be building "green" hummers. I could also assume you are mildly retarded.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really hope T. Pickens re-negotiates the wages of the employees and doesn't join the UAW so we can actually see competitively priced cars come out of this plant!
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's up to the employees if they join the UAW or not. If Pickens or V-Vehicle doesn't want a union shop, they better offer competitive wages/benefits to keep the union away.
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