New V-Vehicle Co. to Manufacture Fuel-Efficient Cars

With recent GM, Chrysler filings for bankruptcy and the rest of the American auto industry in dire straits, launching a new car company would be indeed a massive undertaking. But V-Vehicles [WC], a new car company based out of San Diego, Calif. with backing from Silicon Valley venture capital and billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens, intends to manufacture fuel-efficient cars in Louisiana, at the site of a closed General Motors auto supplier’s plant.

From AP: V-Vehicles today announced it has partnered with the owner of the vacant Guide Corp. plant in Monroe, La., and will begin building its cars there in about 15 months. The company has not given any indication about what size or class of cars it will build or how many models it will offer, only that fuel efficiency will be paramount.

V-Vehicles was founded in 2006 by former Oracle executive Frank Varasano with the goal of helping to right the American auto industry with more efficient vehicles. Along the way, he’s picked up several big financial backers, including billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens, former Vice President Al Gore, the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers — which has also invested in electric-car start-up Fisker — and James Davison, Louisiana trucking magnate and the Guide Corp. plant’s owner.

V-Vehicles has also picked up a healthy share of funding from the state of Louisiana, which kicked in $67 million in incentives to improve and expand the plant…At a press conference announcing the deal today, Governor Bobby Jindal said that the plant would pay an average salary of $40,000 per year, and a Louisiana State University study predicted that the plant will create $19.6 billion in economic activity between 2010 and 2024.

WC has been operating in stealth development mode for the past 24 months since receiving venture funding from investors. The project will create over 1,400 direct jobs, as well as a capital investment of at least $248 million.

Mazda’s former design chief, Tom Matano, will design the cars produced by the company.

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