The Practicality of a New Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Nov 01, 2010
By the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA)
In our September 2010 issue, we printed
a news story about the MV-1, touted as
the first automotive vehicle with built-in
wheelchair accessibility right from the factory.
The Vehicle Production Group (VPG),
maker of the MV-1, intends to sell the car
online rather than through NMEDA dealers,
thus potentially posing a future challenge
for adaptive automotive suppliers. This is
NMEDA’s response. — Ed.
In any industry, when a new product enters
the competitive market, it is wise to research
its purpose, its target audience and how the
product will meet the needs of consumers.
Dave Hubbard, CEO of the National Equipment
Mobility Dealers Association (NMEDA)
and select NMEDA dealers have offered the
following points regarding the MV-1 in comparison
to the models and services offered
by NMEDA manufacturers and dealers:
Vehicles: Building vs. Modifying
The MV-1 is being manufactured by Vehicle
Production Group (VPG) with the purpose of
providing easy access for wheelchair users,
allowing them to ride in the front passenger
space of the vehicle. The vehicle is produced
with standard modifications for people with
disabilities to ride in wheelchairs, and it
offers several upgradeable configurations.
NMEDA dealers provide multiple options
for buyers so that buyers may make changes
to their vehicles of choice based on their
own specific needs. As stated by Mr. Hubbard,
”There is no such thing as a standard
disability. Because disabilities vary, so must
vehicle modifications.” NMEDA dealers give
consumers the ability to drive vehicles customized
to their specific needs, that, on the
outside, look the same as everyone else’s.
Customization Standard Model vs. In-Person Evaluations
VPG customers order the MV-1 online.
Upgrade options are available to MV-1 customers
through on-online configurations.
Qualified NMEDA dealers provide an inperson
evaluation and a customizable solution
to meet buyers’ specific needs. NMEDA
dealers also provide instruction and product
refinements as needed to their wide variety of
customers, even after modifications are made.
Point A to Point B: Passenger vs. Driver
The MV-1 allows people in a wheelchair to
sit in the front passenger seat of a vehicle
that needs to be driven by someone else.
It also has a standard driver seat and does
not offer hand controls or other adaptive
services with the standard options.
NMEDA dealers offer those with disabilities
the ability to drive safely in reliable
modified vehicles, through hand controls or
other adaptive devices, as recommended
by the Association of Driver Rehabilitation
Parts and Service: Quality Assurance Program
VPG has stated that they have plans to open
a network of service centers, but that such a
network is not currently in place.
NMEDA offers a network of dealers
who are Quality Assurance Program (QAP)-
accredited technicians and offer 24-hour
emergency service to their customers.
NMEDA dealers are nationwide and have
years of experience servicing adapted
vehicles. As summed up by Hubbard,
“Being a mobility dealer calls for delivering
top-notch customer service at every step of
the way, throughout all phases of researching,
test-driving, modifying, purchasing
Regardless of the type of vehicle being
purchased, Hubbard urges consumers to
explore all their options before making a
This article originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Mobility Management.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.