MISHAWAKA, Ind., Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG) is proud to announce the MV-1, the "First Mobility Vehicle" and only factory-built and assembled vehicle which meets or exceeds the vehicle guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, rolled off AM General's assembly line in Indiana today and was presented to Marc Buoniconti, President of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.
Fred Drasner, Chairman of VPG, said "We are proud to be the first automobile manufacturer to provide a person with mobility issues a vehicle that meets all relevant Federal safety and crash test standards and is designed and built to meet their special requirements; ease of entry and exit, an exceptional ride, state of the art technology, unprecedented reliability, quality and durability and an OEM factory warranty.
"Marc has been involved with the MV-1 project and the design of the vehicle from its inception, and we are pleased that our first production vehicle is going to someone who has done so much to support the disabled community."
Marc Buoniconti, the son of Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti, was a full scholarship student at The Citadel in 1985 when he sustained a spinal cord injury on the football field that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Marc Buoniconti has since devoted his life to raising funds for research and raising awareness so that paralysis doesn't have to be forever.
"I know what an important difference this vehicle will make to my own life," Buoniconti said. "More importantly, the MV-1 will literally transform daily life for wheelchair users and those who care for them, by making it easier to live a freer, more independent life."
Assembled at the same plant where AM General produced the HUMMER H2, the MV-1 features a 56-inch high by 36-inch wide side door opening for easy wheelchair or motorized scooter entry and exit via a wide deployable ramp with a 1200 pound capacity that quickly and easily stores beneath the floor inside the vehicle. The vehicle's ramp is available in either a manual or powered version. The MV-1 can accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair and additional five occupants, when equipped with the optional rear facing jump seat. The vehicle is available in both consumer and fleet models to serve the needs of the community with taxi, paratransit and personal use solutions.
With its durable body-on-frame vehicle architecture, the MV-1 is built like a truck – strong and dependable – yet rides like a car. Its chassis is engineered by Roush and it is outfitted with Ford's impressive 4.6L 2V EFI V8 engine and four-speed automatic transmission.
The MV-1 is also the only U.S. built vehicle, as well as the only vehicle in its segment, with an available Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) engineered and assembled CNG fuel system option. Clean Energy Fuels, the largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America, has been a leading supporter of the MV-1 program. Since the system is factory installed, the MV-1 with the CNG option meets all relevant government safety and crash test requirements and maintains the same durability, reliability and quality as the gasoline-powered vehicle, while reducing operating expenses.
"Everyone at AM General is proud to be a part of the MV-1 story," said Rick Smith, president of commercial business at AM General. "We believe the MV-1 will very quickly become an iconic vehicle setting a new standard against which all other paratransit vehicles will be measured."
About The Vehicle Production Group LLC
Headquartered in Miami, Florida, The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes the first mobility vehicle engineered from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility.
Additional information on the company or the MV-1 can be found at www.vpgautos.com or by calling 1-877-MV1-FORU (1-877-681-3678).
About The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund
In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D. and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick's son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. Today, The Miami Project is the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, housed in the Lois Pope LIFE Center, a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The Miami Project's international team of more than 200 scientists, researchers and clinicians take innovative approaches to the challenge of spinal cord injury.
Committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury and to seeing millions worldwide walk again, the Buoniconti family established The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis in 1992, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting The Miami Project achieve its national and international goals. For more information, or to volunteer, visit www.themiamiproject.org.
About AM General LLC
AM General designs, engineers, manufactures, supplies and supports specialized vehicles for commercial and military customers. The AM General business units include two wholly owned subsidiaries, General Engine Products, a diesel engine manufacturer, and General Transmission Products, an automatic transmission manufacturer. AM General has more than six decades of experience meeting the changing needs of the defense and automotive industries, supported by approximately 2,500 employees at major facilities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, and a strong supplier base that stretches across 43 states. More information can be found at www.amgeneral.com.
About Clean Energy Fuels
Clean Energy (Nasdaq: CLNE) is the largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America and a global leader in the expanding natural gas vehicle market. Clean Energy fuels over 25,000 vehicles at more than 250 strategic locations across the United States with a broad customer base in the taxi, airport, shuttle, municipal fleet, refuse, transit and trucking markets. For more information, visit www.cleanenergyfuels.com.
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SOURCE The Vehicle Production Group LLC