Recently, The Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, celebrated 30 years of UK manufacturing and raising the profile of disabled motorists when he opened a new purpose built factory facility from the UK’s leading vehicle adaptation company, Autochair Limited.
Passionate about the independence and freedom of individuals with disabilities to be able to use the road and transport system, Patrick spent the day finding out about the best that the UK offers from Derbyshire based Autochair, to enable them to do just that. During his visit, Patrick spent some of his time trying out the best-selling vehicle adaptation products that Autochair offer to people with reduced mobility.
A key feature of the whole day’s event was a speech that Patrick made addressing the coalition plans for disabled motoring which included a discussion on a recent government initiative, the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) scheme, followed by a Q&A session.
Commenting upon the day’s events Patrick said, “I was thrilled to be asked to come along today and meet the staff, representatives from the Autochair network and also customers who have all contributed to 30 years of British manufacturing success. Autochair continues to push the boundaries in the field of vehicle adaptations to ensure that drivers maintain their independence and freedom, no matter what their disability which is something I am very keen to support. I wish them all the best for another 30 years of growth and expansion.”
The celebrations for the factory opening are the culmination of over 30 years success for Autochair as they also celebrate their 30th birthday this year. Managing Director, Matthew Walker was also on hand to discuss the company’s continued success together with an announcement of a major international distribution agreement to export British products in excess of £2M per annum.
Matthew is proud of everything that Autochair has achieved, “We have spent the last 30 years striving for excellence, growing the company through product innovation, great service and listening to our customers. Growing sales, here in the UK, through export and the announcement of our exclusive distribution arrangement with Pride Mobility of Pennsylvania, have given us the confidence to invest in a bigger manufacturing facility, at a time when some other UK companies are consolidating. We had a great day toasting the company’s success with customers, dealerships, and local dignitaries and our colleagues and we feel very, very proud of what we have achieved.”
A number of prestigious guests were also on-hand to meet Patrick and join Autochair for the BBQ lunch celebrations including; one of Autochair’s original “Autochair Lite” owners, Mr Michael-John Wilkinson and one of Autochair’s oldest customers, Mr William H. Peatman, aged 84.
Representatives David Horne, Specialist Mobility Operations Manager and Graham Farrant, WAV and Adaptations Account Manager from Motability Operations, the service provider to Motability, a UK national charity which assists the mobility and transport needs of over 600,000 people every year were also present, alongside over 100 National & International Trade Dealers.
Regional and local community representatives; Peter Lyne, Vice President of the Disabled Motorists Federation, the Mayor of Alfreton, Councillor John Walker and Nigel Mills, Conservative MP for Amber Valley met with Autochair customers and staff, from the local and wider community. Together they were able to celebrate a potted history of the past 30 years of Autochair with a display of 30 adapted customer vehicles – representing each year of Autochair’s manufacturing history.
The company has also recently launched its most innovative adaptation product to-date, the Autochair Liberty – an automated rooftop wheelchair carrier designed specifically to provide independence for drivers with reduced mobility. This approach to product development and innovation, combined with excellent customer service, resulted in the company receiving the current Motability’s Adaptation Supplier of the Year Award.