Executives with Toyota Motor Sales, USA and Vantage Mobility International (VMI), a leader in the manufacture and distribution of wheelchair accessible vehicles, have signed an agreement authorizing VMI to convert the top-selling Toyota Sienna into a wheelchair accessible minivan using the patented Northstar in-floor ramp system. The agreement was executed on August 23, 2012, in Torrance, California. VMI will begin accepting consumer orders for a limited number of the 2012-2013 model Toyota Sienna VMI Northstar minivan conversions through authorized VMI mobility dealers beginning October 1.
“We’re pleased to have established a partnership with Toyota Motor Sales, USA,” said Doug Eaton, president and CEO of VMI. “Toyota has earned a reputation for leading in customer loyalty, which is why our customers have wanted VMI to offer a Toyota Sienna for years. This agreement will give them the Toyota that they’ve dreamed about.”
Toyota Mobility, a group within Toyota Motor Sales USA, is committed to providing solutions that serve the mobility needs of consumers to enhance their quality of life. Toyota began providing mobility solutions in 2001. This is the first time that Toyota and VMI have worked together.
“True to our brand promise, Toyota Mobility is focused on providing our customers with ‘More Options, Less Compromise’. Therefore, we are very excited about the opportunity we now have with VMI as another conversion solution for the Toyota Sienna”, said Mark Oldenburg, national fleet marketing, mobility and strategic planning manager. “We’re also confident that our customers will be pleased once they see and experience the new Toyota Sienna with the VMI Northstar conversion.”
Based in Arizona, VMI offers a full range of minivan and full-size van conversions for those in wheelchairs through a global network of dealers. For 25 years, VMI has been trusted for providing cutting-edge products, including full-size and minivan conversions, platform lifts, scooter and wheelchair lifts and transfer seats. VMI’s Northstar conversion is the only in-floor ramp system currently available on all major minivan models through mobility dealers nationwide.
“VMI is pacing the build of Sienna’s at smaller quantities from previous product launches to ensure our commitment to quality,” said Eaton. “Initially it will be harder to get one but you only get one chance to do a Toyota right.”
As part of the program, Toyota Mobility will provide up to $1,000 in customer assistance to help offset the cost of any qualified adaptive equipment or conversion for drivers and/or passengers when installed on any eligible purchased or leased new Toyota.
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.