While General Motors looks over a stack of offers for its HUMMER brand, the fate of AM General hangs in the balance. The military contractor developed and built the original Humvee until the rights to the HUMMER name were bought by GM, who then contracted AM General to continue building the H1 (until it was discontinued) and then the Chevy Tahoe-based H2. (The Chevy Colorado-based H3, meanwhile, is built entirely by GM at its Shreveport, Louisiana plant.) With the future of its General Motors contracts uncertain, AM General has announced a new deal of another kind.
Starting in 2010, the Indiana-based company will begin producing a new series of wheelchair-accessible transit vehicles for the Vehicle Production Group, LLC. Although, as VPG points out, the usual development gestation period for such vehicles is two to three years, VPG and AM General intend to get the ramp-equipped para-transit vehicle to market in less than 24 months. Over 3,500 units have already been ordered, leading VPG to project that annual production will well exceed that number, while AM General intends to use the same workforce it currently employs for the new project. As for what the para-transit vehicle will look like, no one knows, but there was word of AM General developing a new version of the Standard Taxi (see above) with a low ride height and large doors that appears as if it could easily accommodate wheel chairs.
[Source: Detroit News]