AM General relaunches MV-1 production
It's not the first time we've seen this car, but a rebirth for the MV-1, AM General announced Tuesday.
The handicap-accessible van was originally produced by a company called Vehicle Production Group. After it shut down last year, AM General took over production.
The MV-1 is the first vehicle of its kind. It's designed and produced on the assembly line specifically for wheelchair users and their families.
Barton and Megan Cutter from North Carolina were at the product launch ceremony on Tuesday.
The Cutters have only had their MV-1 for two months, but they've already traveled 3,000 miles in it.
Barton has cerebral palsy and has used a wheelchair his whole life.Their first stop was the coast.
"From Raleigh, North Carolina, we drove to Wilmington, which is on the coast about two, two-and-a-half miles away," Megan said.
"Two-and-a-half hours away," corrected Barton.
The MV-1 isn't the flashiest car on the market, but it's unique. According to AM General, it's the only vehicle that meets and exceeds the Americans with Disabilities Act. It's also 70 percent American-made, the manufacturer said.
"None of the other 'Big 3' have even attempted to build a car like this," said John Walsh, vice president of sales for Mobility Ventures, referring to General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.
The main feature of the vehicle is its power ramp, which comes out from underneath the van and allows passengers to get in and out on their own.
Inside, there's room for two wheelchairs.
The plant is producing 5,600 MV-1 vehicles this year. They'll start shipping later this week and will be at dealerships, ready for people to purchase, by April 1.
The MV-1 will also be used as taxis across the country. New York City, for example, ruled that 50 percent of all the city's yellow taxis must be handicap-accessible by 2020.
The sticker price runs between about $50,000 and $60,000, depending on the model.So when the Cutters heard about the van, they started raising money through GoFundMe. For every $50 donated, the Cutters performed an hour of community service together.
But they said it's a small price to pay.
In the MV-1, the wheelchair user can sit next to the driver. That means, for the first time, Barton can look over at Megan during car rides.
"She looks wonderful," he said.