New Agreement Makes It Easier To Finance Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicles | Edmunds

New Agreement Makes It Easier To Finance Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicles


Just the Facts:
  • An agreement between Bank of America and Vantage Mobility International is designed to make it easier to finance wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
  • The agreement allows consumers to apply for financing directly from the VMI Web site and get a phone call from Bank of American within an hour.
  • VMI's mobility-optimized vans include the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

PHOENIX — Bank of America and Vantage Mobility International have entered into an agreement designed to make it easier to finance wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

The agreement allows consumers to apply for financing directly from the VMI Web site. The site features a simple loan calculator for estimating monthly payments. Approval will come from Bank of America within an hour, and customers will be able to speak with a loan officer for more information at that time.

"Our goal was to help VMI streamline the credit application process for those who need wheelchair accessible transportation," said John Hyatt, president of Bank of America Dealer Financial Services, in a statement. "We share VMI's commitment to make it easier for these customers to pursue financing options for vehicles that can help transform their lives."

Terms of up to 72 months are available, and approved applicants can use their loans to purchase new or used wheelchair-accessible vans at any of the 200 VMI dealerships nationwide.

VMI offers a selection of new, mobility-optimized vans that include the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Also available are pre-owned, wheelchair-accessible full-sized vans and minivans from a variety of manufacturers.

VMI began as a personal mission for its founders, when they were challenged by a family friend to convert an Oldsmobile Toronado for wheelchair accessibility. Rather than installing a lift system, they took a more innovative approach by lowering the floor and devising a ramp system.

The result worked so well that they applied the same methodology to a Chrysler minivan and officially introduced the product to the market in 1987. Since then production processes have been refined and modernized, using the latest assembly-line techniques and CAD (computer-aided design) software.

Every van conversion requires the original floor to be replaced with a special VMI floor and automatic ramp system. Suspension is modified, seats are reconfigured to accommodate a wheelchair and then new body panels are installed and painted to match original factory colors.

VMI says it works closely with manufacturers to ensure that the conversion process does not compromise the integrity of the vehicle's chassis, drivetrain, brakes or suspension system and that all systems have been engineered, tested and approved by the manufacturers.

Tim Barone, VMI CFO and partner, noted that "a large percentage of wheelchair-accessible van purchases already involve financing, yet sources have primarily been limited to local or regional institutions."

The new agreement with Bank of America offers consumers nationwide financing and the convenience of an online application process.

Edmunds says: Consumers with mobility needs now have a streamlined option for applying for vehicle financing.

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