AM General might build taxi

It's not a done deal, but it could be a big deal.

AM General could end up making taxi cabs at its Mishawaka Hummer plant.

However, this isn’t the first time plans have been announced for the production of the so-called “Standard Taxi.”

In May of last year, several published reports detailed plans to build the taxi in Turkey.

Video from YouTube shows a proto-type of the Standard Taxi as it appeared at the 2007 New York International Auto Show. While the vehicle is apparently being redesigned, the concept was to create a taxi with a passenger compartment so large—it could accommodate wheel chairs.

A company known as The Vehicle Production Group or V.P.G. now has an agreement to build the vehicle at the Mishawaka H-2 plant.

.”It certainly helps re-enforce folks that have been building
H-2’s right now and would be concerned that the downturn in production activity related to those sized vehicles here and elsewhere across the United States may affect their jobs,” said the Executive Director of Project Future, Patrick McMahon.

While the taxi would be built at the same plant where the Hummer H-2 is now produced, “if” and “when” is anybody’s guess.

AM General spokesman Craig MacNab says the agreement was actually reached in December of 2007, and in his words, it basically means: “If and when they got the rest of their business together, we’d make their vehicle. That was true in December of 2007, and it’s still true now, but it hasn’t come together yet.”

In May of 2007, numerous published reports indicated that the Standard Taxi would be built in Turkey. That announcement was actually made by a Turkish company called Karsan.

V.P.G. today declined any comment.

It’s unknown if building the taxi in Mishawaka would create any new jobs, because officials at AM General have no idea how many vehicles it would be asked to build.

However, statements from Karsan indicated that it planned to build about 20,000 units a year of the Standard Taxi.

Statements on the website of V.P.G. indicate it plans to start production in Mishawaka in 2009.

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