New Products Offer Alternative Driving Solutions for People in Wheelchairs

Mobility Van Dealers Launch “I Hate Minivans” Ad Campaign — Showcase Accessible Alternatives at Los Angeles Abilities Expo

It’s the last thing you would think to see when opening a recent issue of Disabled Dealer, now being distributed throughout the West Coast prior to this week’s Abilities Expo being held in Los Angeles. Two of the largest accessible minivan dealers who operate in the Southern California market created an ad campaign and website titled They will also be sharing an expansive 20 x 50 foot exhibit booth that will showcase some very unusual vehicles.

MobilityWorks and Ability Center, both with several locations in California, have combined forces to offer physically challenged individuals new and exciting accessible vehicle options that they can drive. They will be together at the Abilities Expo being held in the Los Angeles Convention Center April 15-17. Included in the Expo display will be a GoShichi Pickup Truck, Conquest Wheelchair Motorcycle and a TMN Robot installed on a Buick LaCrosse sedan. The TMN Robot is a futuristic-like robotic arm that retrieves and stores a wheelchair in the trunk of a car or stowage area of an SUV. With the touch of a button, the hi-tech device brings the wheelchair to the driver’s door and then retreats back into storage on demand. It’s just one example of newer offerings being heralded in the mobility industry.

What is really unusual about this campaign is that both of these companies rely on minivans for most of their sales revenue. So why create an theme? They even had t-shirts made up for staff featuring a gruff biker image. Bill Koeblitz, President and CEO of MobilityWorks explained the reasoning for its creation.

“We have a lot of clients who were very passionate about driving a truck or riding a motorcycle prior to suffering a spinal cord injury. A minivan isn’t what they want for their mobility. We now provide an avenue for them to continue that passion.”

According to Mr. Koeblitz, people understand that the I Hate Minivans theme is all in fun. “Everyone who has seen it appreciates the humor.” They’ve also created an web site and display section for people who genuinely like having an accessible minivan. A brand new 2011 Honda Odyssey with a VMI Northstar Conversion will also be onsite.

Claudia Obertreis, president of Ability Center also commented on the upcoming Expo: “When people see these unique machines for the first time their eyes light up. To have them all in one place for the first time, along with the Honda minivan, is going to be something really special.”

The Conquest Motorcycle, now being built by MobilityWorks at its Akron Ohio manufacturing facility, uses a new 1170 cc BMW Motorcycle for the front half of the accessible trike. The back half is a patented design that combines a fiberglass body, rear differential, automated ramp and a wheelchair docking system. The result is a racecar-like engineering feat that turns heads wherever it goes. The three-wheeled trike is completely operated with the use of hand controls, including a push-button shifter mounted on the handlebars for gear selection. With exceptional maneuverability, the Conquest can do 0 to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds and reach speeds over 100 mph, more than enough power to satisfy any motorcycle enthusiast.

The GoShichi (pronounced Go Seat-chi) 4×4 Truck is built in Indiana by GoShichi, LLC. The company was founded by Steve Kitchin who was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1999. The Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra conversion includes the addition of a wheelchair lift that is mounted to a heavy-duty boom and the door frame. The 750 pound capacity lift slides out and lowers to the ground with the use of push-button controls. When the door is closed, the trucks look no different than its original model. Hand controls are added by qualified mobility dealers to allow for handicapped driving. Additional models and SUVs are planned for future production.

About MobilityWorks

MobilityWorks is the largest U.S. retailer of wheelchair vans and adaptive equipment serving the disabled community. Headquartered in Akron Ohio, they have 13 consumer showroom locations in seven states. The Inc 5000 company also converts handicap accessible full-size vans for businesses and healthcare providers that transport wheelchair passengers. For additional information, go to

About Ability Center

Ability Center is dedicated to providing those with physical disabilities the advice, information and help they require to get a mobility solution that works for their needs. They have six locations in the states of California, Arizona and Nevada. To find out more about how you can benefit from their mobility solutions, visit

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