What's Wrong With This Picture: Meet The New Hummer Edition
If you think about it, AM General really is a pioneer in the 21st Century automotive industry. How so, you ask? By cutting out the consumer and building its business around government vehicle buyers. From GM to Better Place, almost everyone in the business either owes a government money or is pitching a future based on government assistance or involvement. By this logic, the GM-Hummer experiment was a predictable disaster, eschewing AM General’s core strength and attempting to build a consumer brand. But with Hummer as good as sold off, AM General is going back to its bread and butter, showing off this MV-1 developed in conjunction with the Vehicle Production Group.”The vehicle is the first purpose-built vehicle for people in wheelchairs,” VPG’s chief marketing officer tells The Freep. “Every municipality has to offer on-demand service for the disabled as a result of the Americans With Disabilities Act.” See how that works? That’s how you build a vehicle with built-in demand.
When I saw the picture, I thought this was going to be some sort of new Element. Same lights, same new corp grill....But its an AM General? People on the Element owners' forums did refer to their cars as an H.5, maybe there was more truth than we realized...
Wheelchair accessable motorcycle? Start checking the biker custom motorcycle mags. I'm used to seeing combination consisting of a Big Twin with a sidecar - on the sidecar is just a platform with locks. Wheel your chair onto the sidecar, lock it down, then hoist yourself over to the rider's seat. Hand controls, of course (that's easy to do, the shop where I work has done a couple of VTX1300's like that). Never underestimate a biker who's had a doctor tell him, "You'll never ride again."
I don't get the complaints. A manufacturer has found a niche market where they believe they can sell enough vehicles to be successful. The market exists and they're trying to fill it. What's wrong with that? I've often wondered whether the taxi market is big enough to support a niche manufacturer these days. In Japan, Toyota has specifically designed vehicle for the Taxi market. I don't know the number of taxi's in the U.S. and I don't know how many companies would be willing to invest in a specialty vehicle, but it would be worth examining.
@ Lokkii - There was a time when the big cities required taxi fleets to operate purpose built taxi cabs. During this time Checker flurished. When the big cities changed regulations allowing taxi companies to use mass market sedans, Checker could not compete with Ford, GM and Chrysler. This is a challenge facing Carbon Motors. If Ford drops the CVPI as planned, if Chrysler goes under and the Dodge Charger is no loner available, if GM does not follow through with the proposed Holden Statesman based Chevy Caprice, and if police departments do not warm up to smaller fwd and awd Ford and GM cars - then Carbon Motors might have a chance with its low-volume, purpose-built, police car. If Ford or GM remain the dominant players in the police car market Carbon will be in trouble.