AM General, the manufacturer best known as the maker of the US military's Humvee, has restarted production of the MV-1, the versatile van targeted specifically at the underserved market for the disabled.

Originally built by the Vehicle Production Group, production of the MV-1 didn't last long, as VPG went out of business just over a year ago. In September, though, AM General worked out a deal with the Department of Energy to acquire the assets to the handicap-accessible van. The MV-1 is unique, as it's the only vehicle to exceed the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act, offering an integrated ramp and room for two wheelchairs.

AM General is aiming to build 5,600 MV-1s this year, with sales slated to begin on April 1. At $50,000 to $60,000, it's not cheap, but we should expect to see more MV-1's as livery vehicles in the near future. Scroll down for coverage of the relaunch from local CBS affiliate, WSBT.
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  • 27 Comments
      GR
      • 10 Months Ago
      I see these or the older version (that look very similar) all over Washington, DC. The local government uses them for Metro Access, an agency that helps the disabled and elderly get around the city. They are definitely built from the ground up as wheelchair-friendly vehicles. It always struck me as odd that major US auto makers did not make these. Handicap-friendly vehicles in the US always appear to be aftermarket conversions by some aftermarket company. In Japan, almost every major maker makes cars specifically designed for wheel-chair access. Maybe it's because of their aging population, but the Japanese have been at it for a while. I even remember reading an interview with Mr. Mizuno aka Mr. GT-R who was the chief engineer behind the last few Nissan GT-Rs including the R35. He started off as a parts engineer who was lazy and was reassigned to sell cars to "learn about and understand customers" as Nissan told him. He then sold cars like these handicap vehicles and learned that cars are to be designed with customers and their needs in mind. He claims this is the main inspiration around his motto with the GT-R: "Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone".
      rmt_1
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'm glad that AM General saved MV-1 and put it back into production. The MV-1 certainly fulfills most of the needs of the disabled and their families for transportation. I hope it does well enough for AM General that they may give it a needed facelift and to perhaps tailor it to better suit the unique needs of injured veterans, who tend to be much younger than the current demographic for the vehicle. However, I do wonder just how well the MV-1's platform will age; the vehicle already uses several major components from GM vehicles that I don't believe are still in production and those parts may be difficult to source in the near future, given the smaller inventories automakers tend to keep now. Checker Cabs could keep going decade after decade because it was relatively easy to swap and even change brands of most of its vital parts because it was designed that way. It wasn't until rule changes for taxis and bankruptcy hit the Checker Corporation that took the Checker Cab off the road. I don't believe the MV-1's platform was designed to be as flexible and as future-proof as the Checker was, but I can hope AM General's history with Humvee will allow them to adjust the design enough to keep them on roads for decades to come.
      pickles
      • 10 Months Ago
      This vehicle would be even cooler if it could employ some of the new technologies that are becoming common on average cars.. Self Parking, Rear Object Detection, Laser Cruise Control. A small company must really have it hard but good for them for rising back up.
      Willy
      • 10 Months Ago
      Seen these on the road! Never knew who made it, almost remind me of some weird Honda Pilot/Element thing until now. It's good they're making cars designed for handicapped accessibility in mind. Also better useful civilian products than just building military humvees.
      Vergenbuurg
      • 10 Months Ago
      Sales beginning April 1st? Really?
      PE
      • 10 Months Ago
      A good purposeful vehicle. There are plenty here in Texas. I don't remember them being priced that high before though.
      apersonofinterest
      • 10 Months Ago
      I hope the guy with Cerebal Palsy isn't driving the car. I think this van is awesome for handicapped but it seems like driving a car is challenging enough for healthy drivers, let alone handicapped drivers.
      solosteve
      • 10 Months Ago
      Speaking as a handicapped person, I fail to see why these 'specialty' items have to look like ass. Access challenged people DO HAVE a sense of style... If I had $50,000 for a vehicle, I'd get a nice pickup truck with running boards and my own damn ramp... NOT one of these (beyond ugly) wart looking things.
        foxtrot685
        • 10 Months Ago
        @solosteve
        These are designed to be fleet vehicles, not retail units. They are designed to be taxis and shuttles, not parked in your driveway. For that purpose they designed it to be functional, not beautiful.
        Mike Pulsifer
        • 10 Months Ago
        @solosteve
        At first glance, I thought it was a Chinese or Russian vehicle. If I had my way, I'd design it to blend in with the rest of the vehicles on the road.
        Yeah yeah
        • 10 Months Ago
        @solosteve
        You want style and then say you'd buy a pickup truck? A pickup is another vehicle that puts function ahead of style, just like this thing. Both are made to do a job well, which is why neither one is attractive but both are very functional for their designed purpose.
          solosteve
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Yeah yeah
          The comment about the fleet vehicles I (kind of) get. But the sheer form (proportions, shape... ) of this vehicle (IMHO) is just off. The comment about the pickup truck help prove my point... ANY pickup truck, or minivan on the market today (IMHO) looks better then this thing, even the ugliest ones you can name. It's really a subjective thing but this vehicle, despite it's function, puts a hurtin' on my vision. Period.
      imoore
      • 10 Months Ago
      Glad to see it back in production. It's a sorely needed vehicle. If looks are your hangup, then you don't need it. I'm wondering if they plan to reintroduce the cargo version. It would make a great alternative to the Transit Connect, Nissan NV and the Chevy City Express.
        rbnhd1144
        • 10 Months Ago
        @imoore
        Would you really buy one over a Connect or Nissan NV, Not likely, you could buy a Connect and a City van for that price, or one Sprinter and still have money in your pocket .
          imoore
          • 10 Months Ago
          @rbnhd1144
          Would I buy one? Probably. The built-in ramp was also available in the cargo version, making loading and unloading easy. You can't get that in a Connect or NV.
      skoobey
      • 10 Months Ago
      I really have a problem with all cars not being as practical. There are many businesses that require ramps, and not to mention family needs like baby carts etc. Why do I need to unload quite heavy baby bottles, diapers, some shopping and fasten my child to another seat instead of just sliding the cart into the car and fastening it? Shame on manufacturers who are producing minivans for not caring for any of their users.
      finzenchrome
      • 10 Months Ago
      Stodgy as in Eastern-bloc during the cold war butt ugly! Has AM General been taken over by Communists? That upkick to the D-pillar actually makes it more uncomfortable to look at and totally unnecessary. There are more visually appealing ways to implement form-follows-function in a specific purpose vehicle. Case in point: the discontinued Hummers.
        zepeda1
        • 10 Months Ago
        @finzenchrome
        AM General didn't design it. They took over the assests of the defunct VPG and restarted production, as the short article clearly states.
      Britt Benston
      • 10 Months Ago
      I personally kind of like it in the way I like an LM002. But I don't see how they could be a "considerate" company when the product is, in my opinion, far too masculine to appeal to female drivers.
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