In the span of about a month, four start-up car-building companies in the US have encountered serious problems. Fisker laid off 75 percent of its employees, Coda filed for bankruptcy, Carbon Motors pulled out of its Indiana assembly plant and now VPG Autos has ceased its operations. VPG has not officially filed for bankruptcy, but it is no longer building its wheelchair-accessible MV-1 (pictured) at the AM General plant near South Bend, IN.

The MV-1 was a purpose-built vehicle designed to accommodate disabled drivers or passengers, but according to Business Insider, the company ran out of cash following the US Department of Energy freezing its assets. VPG took a $50 million loan from the DOE in 2011 but failed to keep its reserve funds at an amount required by the loan. Sadly, there was no shortage of orders for the MV-1, but VPG just didn't have the capital to get the vehicles built.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      I've seen a few of these around, but all but one were owned by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) as paratransit vehicles. Only one seemed to be driven by a private owner. Sure, they're homely looking, but they were an option for those looking for a mobility vehicle that wasn't a conversion, with all its compromises.
        PE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dukeisduke
        I\'ve seen a few down here in S.A., most in private hands with a few in the Taxi business. I was able to see a new one on the lot and they aren\'t terribly expensive considering the functionability. Not the best looking vehicle, but served a good purpose. Sad to see it go.
      Jim Pease
      • 1 Year Ago
      It\'s really a shame that this vehicle didn\'t work out. I\'m sure there a lot of people who could have used a vehicle like this.
      Dean
      • 1 Year Ago
      Definitely not the prettiest vehicle on the road, but it did provide a very useful, much needed, and practical vehicle, for an under-served market. I hope this company is saved, and production resumes.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      \"there was no shortage of orders for the MV-1, but VPG just didn\'t have the capital to get the vehicles built. \" Now that is something the DOE should take into account.
      jasondonogh
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is really too bad. I was looking forward to some healthy American competition to drive the smaller markets. Looks like we're gonna lose them as well as a few others this year. Really too bad.
      WLM86
      • 1 Year Ago
      I saw one yesterday and had no idea what it was! What a coincidence..
        dci gene shunt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @WLM86
        Saw one several weeks ago and was totally stumped as to what it was. I had to post on reddit to find out what it was.
      dukeisduke
      • 1 Year Ago
      If I'm not mistaken, these used frames and running gear from the Crown Vic, and offered a CNG version. I wish another company would take on production, but I'm not optimistic.
      Fonin
      • 1 Year Ago
      aha! saw one of these in Denver near a hospital, mystery solved!
      RocketRed
      • 1 Year Ago
      If there was no shortage of buyers, why was there a shortage of investors and commercial lenders? It seems that there is a finite number of reasons, including, 1. company was badly managed, 2. owners refused to give up management control and equity for private funding 2. price was too low and raising prices destroyed business model. A lot of people could have benefited from this product. Right now the only competitors are a hodgepodge of retrofitters and the products are expensive. This had a lot of very good optimization for use by disabled people that you could not get in the retrofits. This product would have given disabled people a lot of benefit for a good price. I\'m sure there are a lot of really upset/sad people who were looking to have their lives significantly improved by this. It\'s a shame it did not make it to market.
        PE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RocketRed
        They did make it to market and are some are still on dealer lots and on the street in private and business hands..
      Cruising
      • 1 Year Ago
      I see some Honda Element in this design. Really bad though the company is folding looks very roomy inside compared to converted minivans.
      ammca66564
      • 1 Year Ago
      I fondly hope that the ones the did build fall apart quickly so we don't suffer the further visual pollution of having them on our streets. Chicago is too fine and beautiful a city to be trashed up with these fugly monsters.
        Camaroman101
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ammca66564
        yea i agree, wheelchairs should also be kept off of public sidewalks, so ugly to look at. if the handicapped can't walk they should just stay indoors. you sir are an idiot
        merlot066
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ammca66564
        I do hope Chicago doesn't declare the Nissan NV2000 the mandated taxi of the future like New York. Those will ruin the automotive landscape of Chicago with no outwardly commendable function.
      RGT881
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like every single government motors program with exception of Tesla, has failed. Nice to see the mone down the drain all because a thin lipped politician wanted to feel better about him/herself.
        jcommodore
        • 1 Year Ago
        @RGT881
        But VPG was selling vehicles and was meeting reasonable commercial targets, what they lacked and caused their current freeze is a lack of third party capital. There was no mismanagement, no misrepresentation or overzealous dreams, no rush to market with over-price products, just a dryer VC pool today than there was two years ago. Regardless of politics, VPG had a respectable goal of developing a better vehicle for disabled persons and/or their families. Their ceasing operations is a sad development for people with disabilities. I agree with Dean and hope VPG is able to find the needed investor(s) and resume operations.
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