In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), The Vehicle Production Group (VPG), a new American car company, presented a breakthrough mobility solution to attendees at The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) Annual Conference today. The first designed, engineered and factory-built, wheelchair accessible car - the MV-1 - marks a major milestone for the 14 million American adults who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices that present a significant obstacle for routine activities such as traveling in a car.
"VPG is proud to be the first manufacturer to provide people with mobility issues with a purpose-built vehicle that provides ease of entry and exit, as well as a more comfortable ride," said Dave Schembri, CEO of VPG.
Attendees of this year's NCIL Annual Conference were given a firsthand look at the MV-1, including interacting with the vehicle and experiencing the direct benefits of the car before it hits the market in the fourth quarter of this year. NCIL works on a variety of disability rights issues with the vision of creating a world in which people with disabilities are treated equally and have full access and participation.
"For the millions of Americans of all ages and disabilities who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices routine travel presents a significant obstacle, even 20 years after the Americans With Disabilities Act became law," said NCIL Executive Director Kelly Buckland, who spoke at the event. "With the introduction of the MV-1, all of that can change."
In addition to NCIL conference attendees, the unveil was attended by Marc Buoniconti, president of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a leading spinal cord injury research center that was co-founded by NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti after his son Marc sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. Marc and The Miami Project provided extensive input into the design of the MV-1.
"Our organization is pleased to have been so involved in the design input of this first-of-its-kind vehicle," said Marc Buoniconti. "For too long, wheelchair users have been shut out of the process, and any vehicle options to this point have been an afterthought - whereas this vehicle was designed from the ground up with this audience's needs at the forefront."
Starting later this year, the MV-1 will be built in the United States at the AM General assembly plant in Mishawaka, Indiana.
"At a time when the auto industry overall continues to struggle and the country is losing good manufacturing jobs, we are pleased to help create or save upwards of 1,000 jobs between direct and supplier positions nationwide," continued Schembri.
The vehicle features a deployable access ramp with a 1,200-pound weight capacity, a spacious 36-inch entryway, and a roomy interior that seats up to six people comfortably. The vehicle is also available with a manufacturer engineered and assembled compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling system option.
Consumers can go online to www.vpgautos.com and custom build their own MV-1.
About the MV-1
The ADA-compliant MV-1 is expected to go on sale in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2010 in two trim levels. Although final pricing has yet to be announced, the Base model is expected to be value priced under $40,000 and will include standard features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), an integrated deployable ramp, anti-slip floor and ramp surface, Q-Straint® Wheelchair Restraint Track System, and a 6-way adjustable commercial driver's seat. The well-equipped Deluxe model includes the standard features on the Base model, plus a telescoping power access ramp, rear window wiper, cruise control and cargo area floor trim package. Both models are equipped with a Ford 4.6L V8 engine and are available with either a traditional gasoline engine or the optional Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fuel system.
The MV-1 is available in five colors - arctic white, jet black, sterling silver, cherry red and midnight blue. Additional details regarding MV-1 specifications and available options can be found on www.vpgautos.com.
About The Vehicle Production Group LLC
Headquartered in South Fla., The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes the first mobility vehicle engineered from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility. The vehicle, aptly named the "MV-1" (the first Mobility Vehicle), is the only vehicle that meets or exceeds the stringent vehicle guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For more information, visit www.vpgautos.com