AM General advances expansion plans for military vehicle production amid bid protest

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 6:34 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A formal bid protest has been filed regarding the military vehicle production contract the U.S. Army awarded AM General last month.

The move sets the stage for a possible independent review of the bids on the part of the Government Accountability Office.

The challenge was filed by the company that was hired in 2015 to make the J.L.T.V., the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, only to lose the production work to AM General during a recent recompete.

If the deal stands, it would bring up to 10 years of new vehicle production to the AM General plant and 329 additional jobs.

In a written statement, Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense said: “As the incumbent manufacturer and original designer of the JLTV platform, only Oshkosh’s proposal leveraged substantial JLTV experience and proven JLTV production infrastructure while providing best-in-class upgrades to the JLTV platform.”

AM General would not comment on the formal bid protest but appeared ready to move forward on its plans for a plant expansion needed to uphold its end of the bargain—should the bargain itself be upheld.

“The project has some pretty serious timelines. If it’s going to meet the timelines, they’ve got to have the vehicle produced in so many months after the contract was awarded,” said St. Joseph County Economic Development Director Bill Schalliol. “So, they’ve got building construction requirements, and they’ve got to get new equipment installed, and all those things have to be in place so they can start producing the vehicle if ultimately they’re successful with whatever challenge exists.”

The company’s request for tax abatement went before a St. Joseph County Council committee on Tuesday.

AM General plans to spend $8.8 million on a plant expansion and $59.5 million on new equipment.

The contract calls for AM General to deliver the first eight vehicles in March of 2024.