Vehicle Production Group, a firm that manufactures a wheelchair-accessible van called the MV-1, is moving its headquarters from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Allen Park, Michigan, adding 50 additional employees to its Great Lakes State workforce.
"All of our suppliers are here. All of our technical people are here. Michigan is just the right place for us to be," said John Walsh, VPG CEO. Referring to the firm as America's fourth automaker, Walsh said; "We are proud to establish ourselves as an All-American car company with the MV-1. We designed and engineered the MV-1 in Metro Detroit and we plan to stay here and support the local economy, and commit to the state of Michigan as well."
While the firm's engineering and purchasing operations are already located in Allen Park, at 333 Republic drive, executive staff will now bring the VPG's headquarters to Michigan. The company will maintain a marketing office in Ft. Lauderdale.
Production of the MV-1 began last fall under a contract with AM General in Mishawaka, Ind. It is the first van vehicle compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines. As an incentive, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the firm a $50 million loan to help fund development of the CNG version of the MV-1.
MV-1 prices range from about $39,000 to a little more than $50,000 for the model that runs on compressed natural gas. Since production on the MV-1 began about a year ago, VPG has built about 2,500 and sold about 1,700, Walsh said.