MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) — Officials at northern Indiana's AM General factory are hopeful about its chances for being picked to build potentially thousands of new military tactical vehicles.
The company said it delivered 22 vehicles eight days early for testing in the latest round of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program for the Army and Marine Corps.
The vehicles were built at AM General's assembly plant in Mishawaka, where for several years it has made Humvees for the military.
Company vice president Chris VanSlager told the South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/14Nv4sH ) that the company's early delivery of the vehicles on Wednesday helps its chances of winning the contract for possibly building 18,000 vehicles over a five-year period.
"Under previous contracts we've never delivered late," he said. "We are just continuing with our reputation."
Oshkosh Defense and Lockheed Martin Corp. also remain in the competition for the contract, which military officials expect to award late next year.
VanSlager said AM General will continue to work on the vehicle design it submitted — known as the Blast Resistant Vehicle-Off-road.
The Defense Department selected AM General last year for a $64.5 million contract to build the 22 vehicles for military testing.
AM General has also built the civilian Hummer at its complex just east of South Bend, but has been looking for additional business as Hummer production ended and few military Humvees are being ordered.
VanSlager said he is optimistic about AM General's chances to win the new contract that could be worth several billion dollars.
"We're very confident in our product, in our company to go ahead and be able to deliver the best capability and at an affordable price," he said.