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Mercedes-Benz Taps AM General to Build R-Class SUV

Alabama plant runs out of production capacity.

by on Jan.28, 2015

Mercedes-Benz is shifting R-Class production to AM General's plant in northern Indiana.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International’s problem is AM General LLC’s gain. The German automaker is out of manufacturing space at its Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant so it’s tapping AM General to build the R-Class Grand Tourer at its plant in northern Indiana not far from Chicago.

Mercedes-Benz said booming sales have forced it to reorganize production of its sport utility vehicles and it plans to expand production capacity in the U.S. by utilizing the AM General plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, just outside of South Bend.

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The Mishawaka plant will join the production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars, freeing up capacities at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which will then be used for the M-Class, the GL-Class and the new GLE Coupe due this summer. (more…)

MV-1 Van for Disabled is Back in Production

Rolling off same line as old Hummers H1 and H2.

by on Mar.18, 2014

MV-1 was specifically designed for wheelchair access.

A multi-purpose van that was intended to be used for a variety of duties, including transporting the disabled, is back in production.

The big MV-1 is now being produced by AM General, the company most widely known for producing the original HUMVEE for the military, as well as the Hummer H2 for General Motors.  The MV-1 was developed by a start-up company, the Vehicle Production Group, or VPG, which halted production after running out of money two years ago.

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“We are proud to create new jobs and deliver this truly revolutionary vehicle into the hands of a deserving market,” said AM General President and CEO Charlie Hall, during the start-up of production at the company’s plant in Mishawka, Indiana.


Ford Betting On Partners As It Tests Battery Car Market

Maker ready to go it alone if market demand grows.

by on Dec.07, 2010

Ford will sell the Transit Connect Electric for $57,400, and expects demand for at least 700 during the coming year.

If it weren’t for the banner blowing in the wind over the front door one might not realize there was a revolution brewing inside the small, non-descript warehouse, along an industrial strip in the Detroit suburbs.

Operated by AM General, the company better known for producing the military’s trademark HUMMVEE, the facility has been quietly converting Ford’s little Transit Connect van to run on electric propulsion.  The first several dozen Transit Connect Electric vans will be reaching customers before year’s end.  And if they prove successful, 700 or 700 could follow in 2011.

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In automotive terms, that’s not much, but as the market for electric vehicles slowly begins to ramp up, that’s nonetheless a significant development suggests Sherif Marakby, who oversees Ford’s electrification program.

The maker had made a hefty investment in battery power back in the 1990s – reluctantly, under pressure from California regulators who had hoped they could mandate a battery car market.  The project failed and Ford, like its competitors, slashed its investment in the technology.  Now, however, battery power seems to be coming back, in part due to new regulations, but also because of new technologies, as well as public concerns about issues as far flung as global warming and the import of Mideast oil.


Spy Shot: First VPG “Standard Taxi” Prototype

New cab design brings back memories of the classic Checker.

by on Mar.06, 2009

What Checker began, AM General's Standard Taxi aims to build on.

What Checker began, VPG and AM General's Standard Taxi aims to build on.

Granted – the headline is a mouthful, but how else could I get across the specifics and uniqueness of these exclusive photos?

After showing early concepts and prototypes as early as 2007, Vehicle Production Group has refined the design of  its upcoming Taxi – giving the vehicle a softer and friendlier look. And we caught the first running prototypes with the new design characteristics.

Working with the General Motors Powertrain folks, as well as Clean Energy Fuels Corporation (for the CNG version) – and with assembly scheduled to start by 2010 at AM General’s Mishawaka, Indiana facility, it appears that the “Standard Taxi” is planning to finish what Checker started.