UK-based Gibbs Technologies is forming three new companies to produce and market a broad range of amphibious vehicles in North America. Two production-ready vehicles planned for introduction in the U.S. in 2009 were displayed at a news conference today. Quadski, an all-terrain vehicle, will be manufactured and sold by Gibbs Sports Amphibians. Aquada, a vehicle that combines the handling of a sports car with an ability to travel at more than 30 miles per hour on water, will be built and marketed by Gibbs Amphibians. A third company, Gibbs Military Amphibians, will have responsibility for the development of high-speed amphibians (HSA) for military use under an agreement with Lockheed Martin. Gibbs and Lockheed Martin plan to unveil several military concept vehicles based on Gibbs’ patented technology later this summer. Gibbs Technologies currently is considering locations for technical centers, sales offices and manufacturing plants in several states including Georgia, Virginia, Michigan and Texas, according to Alan Gibbs, the firm’s founder and chairman. “We’ll finalize our bricks-and-mortar decisions within the next several months and expect to begin new-model production in North America late next year.” Developed at a cost of more than $100 million, both Aquada and Quadski are scheduled for introduction during the first half of 2009. Fully homologated for sale in Europe, a fleet of 10 Aquadas currently is undergoing tests in southeastern Michigan. “A commercially viable high-speed amphibious vehicle has eluded auto manufacturers, entrepreneurs and inventors for more than 100 years,” Gibbs noted. “Recent developments in light-weight materials, engine technology and vehicle architecture, however, have enabled us to accomplish what many believed to be impossible.” Initial design work on the Aquada began in Detroit in 1997 with a team of more than 20 engineers. Product development later transferred to Coventry in the UK, where the company tapped into a unique blend of motorsports, aerospace and OEM engineering talent. More than one million man hours have gone into the development of the company’s technology. During tests in Europe and North America, prototype amphibians have traveled at speeds of more than 110 mph on land and 45 mph on water. Both Quadski and Aquada also have the unique ability to transition from land-to-water or water-to-land in five seconds. Gibbs Technologies is headquartered in Nuneaton near Coventry in the UK, where it has research and development facilities, a prototype manufacturing plant, as well as styling, engineering and marine-test facilities.