75 pink slips will soon be handed out at AM General. However, unlike many of the company's recent cuts, these layoffs will only be temporary.
The move comes as the vehicle manufacturer retrofits its production line for the MV-1 LX, a luxury version of the wheelchair-accessible car. The MV-1, which starts at $39,950, has been credited for changing the way handicap folks get from Point A to Point B.
According to AM General, all temporarily impacted employees may apply for state unemployment benefits, should they qualify. As for the line’s 25 unaffected workers, they'll assist in the changeover and introduction of the MV-1 LX.
"We’ll have a new automated door system, that's activated by a key fob as well as a new navigation system. It's got all new trim, it is state of the art, it's a beautiful car,” Chief Marketing Officer Michael Carney said.
Vehicle Production Group, which designs the MV-1, says it's made 1600 domestic and international sales since the car's launch in late Sept. 2011. On average that's about 188 sales per month, with plans for that figure to grow to 600 by the Sept. 2012.
"As we bring in all these new dealers, they're seeing the demand of the car and they're very excited because of the cost advantages over say a small bus. We are in a class all by ourselves and that is very appealing to consumers,” Carney added.
Industry insiders say the MV-1’s growth outlook hinges on the public transportation sector. Take for example New York City, where only two-percent of taxi cabs are handicap-accessible. That statistic has prompted a federal lawsuit, which depending on the outcome, could mandate all cabs become ADA compliant.
As for AM General, come July 18, all 100 employees will report back to the plant as production of all three models of the cutting-edge automobile reconvene.