VPG

Vehicle Production Group (VPG) CEO Fred Drasner spoke with FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Stuart Varney about the “Buy America” waiver and why the government is buying wheelchair accessible vans from overseas instead of from American-based Vehicle Production Group. Drasner said, “When Chrysler pulled the manufacturing out of the U.S., there was no American manufacturer making these vehicles, so they asked the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) for an exemption, which was appropriate because there was no American manufacturer.” Drasner went on to explain that since his company, Vehicle Production Group, now manufactures these vehicles in the U.S., they’ve asked the FTA to withdraw the waiver and that, “Actually, the waiver said until there was an American product available, it stayed in force. So by its own terms, it should be over.”

Excerpts from the interview are below.

On the “Buy America” waiver and why the government is buying wheelchair accessible vans from overseas instead of from American-based Vehicle Production Group:

“Well, when Chrysler pulled the manufacturing out of the U.S., there was no American manufacturer making these vehicles, so they asked the Federal Transportation Administration for an exemption, which was appropriate because there was no American manufacturer. We manufacture our vehicles in Mishawaka, Indiana, union-made, 70, 75 percent American content. And we’ve asked the FTA to withdraw that waiver. Actually, the waiver said until there was an American product available, it stayed in force. So by its own terms, it should be over.”

On why the government is dragging their feet on rescinding this waiver: “Well, they are not dragging their feet. They appropriately put out a comment period, asked for comments. A number of people commented, including Chrysler. Ford joined in on our behest. We use a Ford (F)-power train made in America. In about 30 or 45 days we anticipate they will make a decision and hopefully they’ll make the right one. The law is clear.”

On the timeline for receiving the money:

“Well, the comment period is reasonably short, in government terms 30 days is not a foot drag and the money is available to municipalities who purchase the vehicles.”

On President Obama’s “You didn’t build that” remark:

“Actually I sort of disagree. We did build it. We brought together the typical resources you need to start a business, capital, people and an idea. Actually the employees, some 900 that work for us and our supply chain, do build it, but without the capital deployed, they wouldn’t be building it. I think it was an off-ended comment. But I think the business of America, to get America going is people starting businesses. That’s what we’ve done here.”