Mystery Vehicle from the Bayou

For all they’re saying, it could be the Swamp Thing. Venture capitalists from Silicon Valley and a reformed billionaire oil man have joined forces, hired a world-renowned car designer, acquired an old automotive lamp plant in Louisiana, and gathered generous government incentives—all the while vowing to “change the automotive business in the United States.”

Details about that change have not been revealed, nor has the car that V Vehicle Company (VVC) intends to produce been unveiled—or even described beyond the most generic terms: “high quality, environmentally friendly and fuel-efficient car.” Tom Matano, designer of the Mazda Miata and VVC Director of Design, said the car could be “another icon of American industry”—a reference to the Miata. It will be powered by gasoline, not natural gas—in spite of the investment by T. Boone Pickens, ex-oilman and big-time promoter of the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. The News-Star, a local newspaper, reported that the car’s projected retail price is $10,000, which would make it one of the least expensive cars on the market.

Respected Backers

Lead investors Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, represented by VVC Board Chairman Ray Lane, said the company was about “holistic change.” He said, “We’re thinking about, from beginning to end, how to reconstruct a car company.” When established, the plant is expected to employ about 1,400 people.

Kleiner Perkins has previously invested in next-generation auto companies, such as Fisker Automotive and Think North America. But VVC will look beyond private capital to raise necessary funds for initial production. More than $80 million in state and local incentives will come from the State of Louisiana. The company also plans to apply for $340 million in federal government loans from the $25 billion Department of Energy Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

With Secrecy Comes Scrutiny

Though the company claims to be keeping details of its “revolutionary” vehicle and business model under wraps for proprietary reasons, auto industry observers question the ability of the company—with no track record—to deliver on such big promises. The names behind VVC bring some level of credibility—as does the approval of consulting firm A.T. Kearney, which conducted a review of the business model and vehicle design for the State of Louisiana. But it would be an unprecedented accomplishment for a company—without so much as a website—to bring a “game-changing” new car to the market in less than a year and a half.

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  • witchking407

    this 10k car will be small and i hope it gets at least 40mgp

  • Jeddy

    Looks hideous so far …

  • sturtle

    If I’m not mistaken, that plant is going to be located up near Monroe, which–despite what’s implied on that ridiculous TRUE BLOOD series–is most definitely NOT the bayou. In fact, it’s kind of the opposite.

  • Anonymous

    Dear V Vehicle Company, ignore the non-sense written here by others that somehow a web site means anything… Deliver a fuel efficient vehicle that is not more of the same and on the day you start taking orders, then launch a web site.

  • Cynical

    Lots of incentive money coming in + shady details = SCAM.

    Perhaps these folks are following in GM’s footsteps, getting millions in the development of a loser then just go bankrupt and walk away with those millions. I’m sure most of the money will be for salaries and not R&D.

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Samie

    Where is Edwin Edwards in this deal????

    If this turns out to actually employ 1,400 people I don’t care if the car looks like the Weinermobile, Louisiana needs the jobs!!! Shady, could be but hope for the folks down there that this works out…..

  • engineman09

    How do I contact V.V.C?
    I have a highly fuel efficient, low CO2 “Tri-Brid” engine that I think they will be very interested in!
    Twitter me “Engineman09”

  • Caleb

    Dear V.V.C.
    i agree with “anonymous” just ignore these nonsense message. If you have faith in yourself then you do it. I hope you all will have a great time sell it and i wish you all have best of your luck

  • Boudin Boy

    Hey, it could happen. Just look at all the Gumbo and Po Boy sandwiches you could buy with money you would save.

  • Gina

    One year later…. it could happen…. I’m a believer! I’ll talk up V-Vehicles… make it happen!