AUBURN HILLS — The GIBBS Quadski, the world’s first high-speed sports amphibian, went into production at a new Detroit-area assembly plant here today.
The Quadski, a product of millions of dollars in research and 15 years of development, is capable of reaching speeds of 45 mph on both land and water and can transition between the two in about five seconds.
Company and local government officials, including Auburn Hills Mayor Pro-Tem Maureen Hammond, took part in “job one” ceremonies at the plant which is expected to employ more than 200 people when operating at full capacity later next year.
Gibbs Sports Amphibians Chairman Neil Jenkins said the company plans to build approximately 1,000 Quadskis through October of next year. They initially will be sold at major powersports dealerships throughout the Midwest and eastern United States, in addition to locations in the Great Lakes region and along the Gulf Coast.
A core group of GIBBS manufacturing personnel, including members from the company’s engineering, manufacturing, purchasing and quality-control staffs, began work on the system more than four years ago.
“A primary objective was to create product designs and manufacturing processes that would allow a variety of vehicle types to flow off assembly lines at relatively low volumes,” explained Tina Shaheen, the company’s chief operating officer. “Today we have more than four new sports-amphibian products under development that can be assembled on two lines.”
The new GIBBS assembly facility at 50 Corporate Drive in Auburn Hills, features high ceilings, large open areas and docking facilities to handle supplier-built sub-assemblies – all requirements for the successful implementation of the company’s flexible manufacturing system.
“The complexity of our high-speed amphibian technology presented special challenges for the company’s manufacturing engineers,” Jenkins noted. “They’ve been able to successfully incorporate highly complex amphibian systems and components into relatively simple modular designs that flow smoothly through basic assembly processes.
“The GIBBS Quadski is a quality product that has been specially designed for families and individuals who enjoy the outdoors, watersports, off-road travel, hunting and fishing. It offers premium powersports buyers a combination of power, comfort, versatility and freedom that has never been available before.”
The Associated Press predicted “Amphibious vehicles could soon be zooming out of James Bond’s garage – or pond – and into yours.” Autoweek noted “The Quadski is to previous generations of amphibious all-terrain vehicles what the Aquada was to the slow, marginally buoyant Amphicar.”