New MV-1 LX latest push for AM General [South Bend Tribune, Ind. :: ]
(South Bend Tribune (IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 20--So far, so good with AM General's MV-1.
The South Bend-based company started production of the MV-1 LX model, or luxury edition, in May at its Commercial Assembly Plant in Mishawaka, and many already have been delivered to dealers.
"We are definitely on target, and we are progressing very, very well," John Walsh, vice president of sales and marketing for Mobility Ventures, said, referring to the lineup of MV-1 vehicles. "The LX was part of our original plan."
Besides the LX, the company also produces the SE or standard model and the DX or deluxe. The production of the new model will not result in additional employees being called back, Jeff Adams, AM General spokesman, said.
The company called back about 200 workers in February because of the resumption of production of the MV-1 and planned orders of the Humvee by foreign military.
AM General purchased the MV-1 from its previous owner, the Vehicle Production Group, in September after VPG ran into financial troubles. Those problems caused production to cease until AM General took over and resumed operations in February.
The company would not release sales numbers because of competitive concerns, but Walsh did say the company is hitting its goals.
Mobility Ventures added MV-1 Canada in May for distribution.
"We are moving right along with regard to sales of the vehicle," Adams said. "The entire distribution network is set up in the U.S. and in Canada and we are also looking at other international distribution networks."
What follows is an interview with Walsh and Adams regarding the MV-1.
Q.What separates the LX from other MV-1 models?
A. Walsh: "It's our luxury model and just like any other automobile it's a trim level. So it has leather seats, larger wheels and a wood grain interior."
Q.What is the target market with this model?
A. Walsh: "It is the consumer in the wheel chair, and also the limousine, a very large market -- what is called the black car market."
Q.How have things gone with the MV-1 so far?
A. Adams: "You look at this as a start-up-like company. You got a company where the assets were purchased (in 2013). We completely revamped the management team. ... But it's more of the marketing and how we are going to go about assessing and attacking the market.
"We were able to get the vehicles online and running in three months. March was the rollout. Here we are with the third version of the vehicle in July.
"I would say right now, we've done a phenomenal job of getting this company up and running. Then you look at the distribution network that's out there.
"But there's still a lot of work to do. We never rest on our laurels. We have a lot of things to work on. They are looking internationally at different prospects that are there.
"I would say that we are very positive about the direction that we are headed."
Q.What's the reception been from the dealers so far?
A. Walsh: "It's going absolutely great.
"A lot of the dealers we've signed are dealers with the previous company. The comment that I get from them a lot is that things are so much better this time because everything is under one company. And AM General is in control of the overall company. They like the stability of AM General.
"The previous company never came to the LX model. It never became a reality. And it's a reality with us."
Q. AM General has a lot of projects under way, including the MV-1, pending foreign military sales, Humvee production for the National Guard and the continued progress in the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle competition. What's that say about the company?
A. Adams: "It's a reflection of the company. These are the things we talked about months ago: that we were going to take a very methodical
approach in looking at these things and how we were going to progress forward to get these things accomplished. And I think you are starting to see these things happen.
"Not only from an AM General point of view on the military side but also on the commercial side. We took a company and purchased assets and got them up and running. You see a direction of momentum.
"Once again, we are not resting on laurels. We are always leaning forward here."
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