Mobility Ventures produces the MV-1 — the only American-built vehicle specifically designed from the ground up to meet or exceed the needs of wheelchair passengers and the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In fact, Mobility Ventures has even completed some MV-1s that were partially built at its commercial assembly plant in Mishawaka before the shutdown of the operation in June of 2012.
Rick Smith, AM General executive vice president and president of Mobility Ventures, confirmed to The Tribune on Monday that work has already started.
“We recently finished producing many MV-1s which were already in the plant process and we have delivered those MV-1s,” Smith said in an email. “We will continue to call employees back and add resources as we finalize arrangements with more than 100 suppliers producing parts for the MV-1 and as we set up a new nationwide network of MV-1 dealers.”
Delivery of newly built MV-1s will begin taking place in early 2014, said John Walsh, vice president of sales and marketing for Mobility Ventures.
Mobility Ventures was formed in September when AM General purchased the Vehicle Production Group, the parent company of the MV-1. Walsh is the former chief executive officer of the Vehicle Production Group.
Production rates will affect the call-back of additional employees, Smith said.
“We have not yet finalized our production rates,” he said. “We continue to see strong interest and demand for the MV-1, and based on that and the timing of our suppliers, we are working to establish the right level of vehicle production, which will ultimately impact the number of employees who are called back.”
The South Bend-based company recently announced that Mobility Ventures is an official member of the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA), a nonprofit trade association of mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers, driver rehabilitation specialists and related professionals.
“Being a member in NMEDA is great for our company because among other things, it places us in a network of more than 600 mobility equipment dealers, manufacturers and driver rehabilitation specialists in the United States and Canada who are dedicated to expanding opportunities for people with disabilities,” Walsh said.
Walsh said he also was pleased to have AM General’s Mobility Ventures become a member in NMEDA, because it reflects Mobility Ventures’ commitment to improving the quality, safety and reliability of accessible transportation and because NMEDA is growing.
“Our goal is for each MV-1 consumer dealer to be an NMEDA member and to become accredited in its industry-leading Quality Assurance Program,” he said.