I wrote an article for The Huffington Post in January 2013 entitled "Wheelchair Friendly Car". I received, and still continue to get many e-mails from people around the world, asking what car I purchased enabling me to fit my standard size wheelchair in the boot. I thought my article might provoke some response from car manufacturer's, but sadly no. I even wrote personally to the company who made our car telling them about my article and that I had since been answering e-mails informing those in similar situations what make and model car I had purchased. Did I receive a response from this car manufacturing company? Unfortunately not!
Having a discussion with a friend about the amount of e-mails I've received from strangers, seeking helpful information as a result of writing about this topic, it suddenly became clear to me, why the strange lack of interest, from car manufacturers. How naïve I had been, for even though I know little about the advertising world, it doesn't take a genius to work out - any mention of wheelchairs or disability related to a product, just isn't sexy!
Advertisements of cars, whether on television or in glossy magazines, usually portray the romantic fantasy lifestyle many dream of. Barely clad voluptuous young ladies draped over shiny new cars, making any man's heart and throttle beat a little faster, is good advertising seen in the eyes of car manufacturers. A happy family, safely strapping their beautiful smiling well behaved children, into the back seats, implying those we love most will be safe on any journey, in this particular car, is what captures the audience. Showing off the many virtues of a car, a handsome sporty couple dressed immaculately are off to play golf, exhibiting how spacious the car is by easily placing their golf bag inside the boot. These are generally the pictures that represent manufacturers; a well known successful tactic that sells cars.
How mistaken was I, to think for one moment that any car manufacturer would want to add useful information in an advert, or even add a single line in a brochure, informing the public that their particular make and model car can hold a standard size wheelchair in the boot. This would possibly label that particular car as "disabled friendly", and perish the thought of any able bodied person buying one. As harsh as this sounds, it's reality in the eyes of advertisers whose job after all, is to simply ensure the manufacturer sells as many cars as possible to the general public. Sadly, the last thing any company wants, is their car to become associated or known for it's capacity in storing a wheelchair, which would immediately tarnish its "sex appeal".
I understand the point of view from PR and advertising campaigns, and that of the manufacturer's, however there is another side too; those with certain requirements, like myself. There must be a solution to this problem. How does one get important information regarding wheelchair access, to those who need it? My husband spent much precious time and effort, going from car show room to another in search of a suitable car. Is this what everyone in our situation is expected to do? If you have a suggestion, please make a comment hereunder. I would be glad to hear from you.