Accessible Vehicles : Hand controls, steering knobs, wheelchair conversions, and test drives at the Donington Mobility Roadshow
Over the years, the Donington Mobility Roadshow has earned a reputation as the Motor Show for disabled people, giving anyone with different mobility requirements the chance to try out the latest adapted cars.
This year, the Ford-backed Fun-Zone offered the more adventurous visitor the chance to really let rip. Whether it's flinging a hand-controlled Ford Mondeo around a skidpan or taking on all-comers in a hand-operated Go-Kart, the zone certainly lives up to its name.
Those preferring a more sedate form of motoring booked a circuit around the race track in a range of adapted Ford vehicles, including Focus, Focus C-MAX, Mondeo and Galaxy. The automatic Fiesta - a new addition to the Motability scheme - made its Mobility Roadshow debut.
Meanwhile, over on the Ford stand, visitors were able to take a detailed look at the Ford range, with specialist staff on hand to answer any questions.
Among this year's visitors to the Roadshow, over 2,000 people registered for test drives. More than 30 per cent of these tried one of Ford's 11 available vehicles that were constantly circuiting the track. By far the most popular vehicle to test drive was the Focus C-MAX, which carried out 206 appraisals in total. The Focus C-MAX, which made its static UK debut at last year's Mobility Roadshow, has been on the Motability scheme since December 2003.
Two automatic Focus C-Max vehicles were available to test drive, but with vehicles ranging from Fiesta to Galaxy, the public had the opportunity to experience a comprehensive Ford line-up. Featuring steering knobs, hand controls and infra-red switches courtesy of companies such as Cowal Mobility and Techmobility, visitors were able to try out the most common adaptations as they circuited the track. In total nearly 700 people tested Ford cars over the three-day event.
Just as popular as the circuit test vehicles, the hand-controlled Ford Mondeo skid car was always fully booked and was often sighted being flung about on a separate section of track. The hand-controlled Go-Karts were doing a roaring trade as well, giving people the chance to experience real racing as they took on all comers around a special track.
Meanwhile, on the Ford stand, a variety of models were kitted out with more advanced adaptations from the companies Ford had invited to exhibit on the stand:
Staff from Mobility and General Information Center, Ford's free telephone information service for disabled and mature drivers, were available to help with any mobility enquiries about Ford and the Motability scheme and took care of 350 requests for information about Ford vehicles and service.
The event was especially useful for Ford's employee action group "Mobility 4 All" which attended the event and could be seen dashing about with clipboards asking members of the public for feedback on the basic design features of Ford vehicles when encountered by people of varying mobility. Approximately 25 per cent of people who test drove a Ford were surveyed; these responses were then fed back into the design team at Ford who will use the data when designing future cars that are more inclusive of all abilities.
Andy Dougherty, Manager of Mobility at Ford said: "we certainly relish the opportunity to get out there and talk to our potential customers, explain how Ford vehicles can help them to become more mobile and find out how Ford can better equip itself to try and help everyone."
|July 9, 2004||© Yenra ®|