After weeks of mystery and speculation, today V-Vehicle Company (VVC), a San Diego firm backed by oil man turned environmentalist T. Boone Pickens finally revealed that it's the manufacturer setting up shop in Monroe, Louisiana to build a range of high-efficiency combustion-engine cars.
Earlier reports and rumors had a range of electric or hybrid cars being built at the former plant of industry supplier Guide. Instead, 1,400 jobs will be created to build regular gasoline-powered cars that focus on high mileage, reports local Monroe newspaper The News Star.
It's a bizarre announcement in the midst of the current economic and automotive crisis. But it's evidence that even as the old guard fades, a crop of new companies is rising to meet the changing face of today's market.
Whether VVC will have any better luck than its predecessors, however, has yet to be seen. There's no doubt that these are tough and often tricky times for carmakers as they fight to balance countervailing concerns for safety, efficiency, power and performance.
What balance will VVC strike? And will it be a winning one? We'll know for sure when the cars start rolling off the production line, but Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal says the team behind VVC is 'first class', and that VVC's presence is a 'game changer' for Louisiana and important for the country as a whole.
VVC was founded in 2006 by CEO Frank Varasano, previously executive VP of Oracle Corp., while former Mazda designer Tom Matano will head up the vehicle design department. Matano was responsible for the design of the MX-5, RX-7 and 929 Miata M-Coupe among other projects.
"I am delighted to see our vision for a new American car company coming to life here in Monroe, La.," said Varasano. "We've designed and engineered this car from start to finish to give the U.S. consumer a quality car with great value made right here in America."
[The News Star (via Twitter)]