The new Spirit of Kokomo SUVs sprinting around town — and we’re talking about the new vehicles purchased after the city’s Central Garage fire — are MV-1s.
Built from the ground up for handicapped accessibility, the MV-1 manufactured by AM General in Mishiwaka is basically a Hummer H2 with different sheet metal, according to Brian Adams, president of Adams Auto Sales in Kokomo.
The interior is spare, but there’s a driver’s seat and an open space where the front passenger seat should go. Someone in a wheelchair can scoot right up into that space and ride, looking out the front window.
There’s a power retractable wheelchair ramp, which slides into the floor, leaving a broad open space free of obstruction between a rear bench seat and the driver’s seat.
“It’s the only purpose-built vehicle for the disabled in the world,” Adams said.
Adams is banking on the MV-1’s utility for families with a disabled loved one in the same way that the city is seeing the value of the vehicle.
As opposed to retrofitting a minivan to accommodate someone in a wheelchair or scooter, the MV-1 is a cost-effective solution, Adams said.
Now located at the corner of Boulevard and Plate Street, Adams Auto Group has been expanding and “mobility solutions” are a growing part of their business.
After taking delivery of new MV-1s last month, Adams has already sold three and is expecting to sell somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 60 of the $50,000 SUVs in the next year. So far, Adams thinks he’s the only dealer in the area, and perhaps the state, to be offering the MV-1.
With a Ford power plant, the vehicle is around 84 percent American-made content, probably the highest of any vehicle available on the market today.