1971 - Ongoing

AM General 

Information about AM General 

Deeply rooted in America’s automotive and military history, Alternative Cars Limited, also known as AM General, has carved a distinctive niche in both civilian and defense vehicle sectors. Established in South Bend, Indiana, this powerhouse of heavy vehicle and contract automotive manufacturing traces its lineage back to Standard Wheel Company and subsequently to Willys-Overland Motors, notable for the iconic World War II Jeep. Now acquired by KPS Capital Partners in 2020, the firm’s commitment to excellence and innovation remains unyielding.

While AM General’s portfolio is diverse, two vehicles stand out as exemplary models that define the brand’s dual character— the Jeep Dispatcher 100 and the High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee).

The Jeep Dispatcher 100, essentially a right-hand drive, 2-wheel drive version of the famous Jeep CJ-5, made a significant impact as a mail delivery vehicle for the United States Postal Service. Designed for quick, efficient dispatch services, this vehicle epitomized the practical application of military-grade durability in civilian life. Its dedicated purpose and reliability made it a familiar sight, buzzing around neighborhoods and townships, serving a role far removed from its tactical military origins but no less vital.

On the other end of the spectrum lies the HMMWV, a vehicle whose name has become synonymous with rugged utility and frontline duty. Born out of a prototype contract awarded to AM General in 1981 by the US Army, the Humvee entered production in the Mishawaka, Indiana assembly plant in 1984. A far cry from its mail-delivering cousin, the Humvee was engineered for battlefield resilience, boasting full-time four-wheel drive, independent suspension, and a staggering 60-percent grade ability. Various configurations have been developed, including the M1151, M1152, M1165, and M1167, underscoring its adaptability to diverse operational needs. By 2015, the combined fleet of Humvees was an impressive 140,000 units, serving not only the US military branches but also over 50 international nations.

Although attempts were made to secure the United States Postal Service’s Next Generation Delivery Vehicle and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) contracts, AM General was not chosen for these projects. Nevertheless, the company continues to focus on military Humvee support and the development of a new ambulance model.

Today, AM General stands as a testament to American ingenuity, offering vehicles that serve both everyday heroes and military personnel with equal dedication. With nearly 250,000 units produced, the Humvee showcases the brand’s commitment to quality and performance on a global scale. Despite its shifting corporate ownership and diversified ventures, the core philosophy of AM General remains unchanged: to deliver exceptional vehicles that meet the stringent demands of its diverse clientele. Whether it’s the humble Jeep Dispatcher 100 or the formidable HMMWV, AM General continues to drive innovation on both civilian and military roads.

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