Ford and Wheelchair Vans

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It’s hard to imagine a vehicle Ford doesn’t make. The automotive giant has been actively involved in the creation of vehicles ranging from its early Model Ts to military vehicles to sports cards to pickup trucks–and everything in between.

The ubiquitous brand is also popular among those looking for wheelchair accessible vans. Ford creates many vehicles that regularly serve as wheelchair vans.

What is a wheelchair accessible van?

The term is nearly self-descriptive. A wheelchair accessible van is a van that can be easily entered, exited and (often) operated by someone in a wheelchair.

The term wheelchair accessible van actually covers more than traditional full-sized vans. It’s often used to describe smaller vehicles, including minivans, that are used by wheelchair users.

Wheelchair vans feature special conversions designed to improve access. These may involve raising the roof or lowering the floor of the vehicle to accommodate wheelchair users, adjusting the seating arrangement for maximum space, modifications to steering and other control elements, the installation of lifts or ramps or any number of other special adjustments.

In most cases, those conversions are an after-market affair. Ford and other manufacturers produce a stock vehicle and conversion experts then do what’s necessary to make them into true wheelchair accessible vans.

What kind of wheelchair vans does Ford produce?

Ford creates several different vehicles that are frequently used as wheelchair vans. These include both minivan and full-sized van models.

The Ford Windstar is a minivan that purchasers often convert to allow for accessibility. Ford’s Econoline series (including the E150, E250 and E350) consists of full-sized vans that have a strong following in the world of wheelchair van conversions.

While Ford doesn’t necessarily produce these vehicles for the wheelchair market, the company is fully cognizant that they’re often converted to serve that purpose. As such, the design is usually quite compatible with the needs of the wheelchair van user base.

Why does Ford make wheelchair vans?

As noted, Ford has its fingers in virtually every automotive pie. Producing vans and minivans that work well as wheelchair vans is just another example of their comprehensive approach to their industry.

There is more to the decision to produce the Windstar and Econoline models than the desire for maximum product line breadth, however. The Windstar continues to sell well and has proven itself to be very popular with wheelchair users. While SUVs and crossovers have displaced minivans in popularity over the last few years, Ford seems committed to continuing its production of the Windstar and its popularity as a wheelchair van has undoubtedly influenced its decision making.

The full-sized vans are pressed into service for a number of commercial and industrial applications, as well as having popularity with standard drivers and the wheelchair community. Basically, Ford continues to produce these vehicles because they continue to generate a profit.

Based on increasing interest in van conversion and vehicle accessibility, Ford will have every reason to continue to create and improve its Windstar and Econoline models, insuring that Ford wheelchair vans continue to dot the highways for years to come.

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