Currently reading: James Ruppert: making it easier for disabled people to buy cars
Should Motability offer used cars? In a word, yes.

The Motability Scheme is a subject I’ve touched on before, many years ago, and it ruffled some feathers. Based on Autocar reader feedback, I think it’s worth delving back into the subject matter. 

It is hard to argue with the aim of the scheme, which “enables disabled people to get mobile by exchanging their mobility allowance to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair”. The principle is fine, but it does seemed to have been stretched to breaking point. There is an awful lot of detail to this once you start digging, but it is probably better to listen to a reader who has to grapple with the scheme in order to find out what the issues are. 

John Robinson, who uses a wheelchair, says: “The main thing for me is I’m a big guy, 6ft 4in and 17 stone, so obviously need a big car. However, if you’re a big lad then you need to pay more as a deposit. Is this fair? The majority of us are unable to work full-time so rely on benefits.” 

I suppose the bigger and therefore potentially more expensive the vehicle, the more that needs to be paid. Or rather, to be fair, surely the subsidy should be much higher as everyone should be treated equally – a case where the equality of outcome should be a priority. 

Looking at the Fiat range, for instance, there are nil advance payments on most of the Fiat 500 range, although the nearest they get to a large vehicle is the Fiat Tipo. It does get complicated, though. “You would think we would all go for an automatic,” says John. “There are loads of manual cars with nil deposit, but upgrade to an automatic, then boom, it costs thousands.” 

Surely, then, the logic of the system has to be addressed. However, if bigger cars are needed, why not a refurbed Audi A6, a 2004 2.5 TDI SE quattro automatic which will retail at £1500 with 150,000 miles? We could set up an alternative automotive network, boost the economy, jobs and skills. Use existing garages and establish new ones. 

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Well, I say ‘we’. John knows what he is talking about, and that brings me to a major beef, which is people who get access to the Motability allowance because they might give their aunt a lift to the shops once in a blue moon, or sometimes never. 

“When it was set up it was for people like me, wheelchair users, not the walking wounded,” says John. “Nowadays, it seems anyone can get mobility allowance.” 

We don’t want a two-tier system, just a big revamp to make it fairer and make use of the huge used car market. So rather than car makers creaming off more profit, let’s give our mechanics and engineers more work. Sort of Bangermobility. By all means, tell me I’m wrong.

What we almost bought this week

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Delorean DMC-12: Inspired by another seasonal TV screening of Back to the Future, we’ve been eyeing up this Dr Emmett Brown replica. It’s a 1981 example with 42,000 Greenwich Mean Time miles. Standard kit includes a flux capacitor (naturally), a JVC camcorder and a smoke machine. Yours – or perhaps ours – for £94,990.

Tales from Ruppert’s garage

Porsche Cayenne, mileage - 100,000: The Flying Pig has a fresh set of Falken tyres, but getting them fitted to the alloys proved to be something of a challenge. It was a matter of some urgency and my local garage would normally have had the job but they were short staffed, so I shopped around. The usual fast-fit suspects were pretty sniffy about it and said it was more than their jobs were worth if they hadn’t supplied the tyres. Tyre Pros, a sub-division of STS tyres, could not have been more welcoming. The Cayenne wouldn’t fit on their ramp, but they swapped all four in just over an hour at a reasonable £14.99 a corner. 

Reader’s ride

Vauxhall Vectra:

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Bangernomist Anthony Griffith: “It’s a 2001 2.2CD auto bought for £1250 in 2012 with just 27k miles. It’s only on 68,000 now, but over the past seven years has taken my wife and I to Wales, the north of Scotland, Gibraltar and Austria, never missing a beat. It’s still a delight to drive. I cycled from Buckinghamshire to Leicester to collect the car, 100 miles on a miserable January day, so I was mightily relieved to see the car was as good as described. I paid up, put my bike in the boot and drove home. 

Readers’ questions

Question: I just read the item on the real range of 10 EVs. How would a 900kg caravan affect the range? I think towing with one is a dead duck. R Lidster, by email

Answer: Given that an electric car produces maximum torque from virtually zero revs and has a high kerb weight, you could argue they would make excellent tow cars. In fact, a Tesla Model X P100D set a new record when it hauled a Boeing Dreamliner down a runway. But as for range, it’s easy to imagine an EV would quickly run out of juice. In any case, with the exception of EVs such as the Model X, few electric cars have been type-approved to tow. John Evans

Question: Help! I’m thinking of buying a new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross, but my wife thinks I’m mad. Geraint Jones, Ludlow, Shropshire

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Answer: We assume you’re referring to this crossover’s snarly chrome grille and awkward styling. Short of putting a bag over it, there’s not a lot you can do about these. Sit your wife down and talk her through the positives, such as what great value for money it is and how, thanks to its light weight, it’s a hoot to drive. And no messy diesel version to worry about, either, because Suzuki ditched the 1.6 DDiS, leaving just the punchy 1.0 and 1.4 Boosterjet petrols. John Evans

Read more

Tesla Model X review

London Mayor launches £23m scrappage scheme for vans​

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross review​

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Comments
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lamcote 7 January 2019

Although

You don't know for sure that he's even tried a small car.

a2kvu 3 January 2019

Motability

A fantastic scheme in principal but sadly it is hugely abused and needs to change.

When I used to sell cars and was a motability specialist, I recall more than one person celebrating like they had won the lottery when they were given the car. More than a higher proportion than the average of these cars came back after 3 years in a terrible state of cleanliness  and many stinking of tobacco. 

Take a look at the motability website and cars like the Mazda MX5 or BMW 2 series converible are on the scheme....what on earth is going on there? 

scotty5 3 January 2019

Is 6ft 4 a disability?

If you're a big lad you have to pay more of a deposit. Is that fair?

My first response would be - is that true?

I hope many people will agree that responding to reports like this is difficult because the last thing any person want's to do is offend, but after reading the above I'm wondering whatever happened to the equality argument because it works both ways.

If someone is able bodied and needs a larger car because of their size, is it fair they have to pay more money for a larger car? If someone has five kids, do they receive a discount because they need a 7 seat suv? So why then should a disabled person receive a greater subsidy simply because of their size?

As for costing £1000's more for an automatic - my uncle who's 88 has just changed his car because he now feels he needs an automatic and it cost him thousands more to do so. Nobody increased his pension to compensate - is that fair?

Without question a person should receive a greater subsidy based on the level of their disability, but I'd argue being 6ft 4 and 17st isn't a disability, so why should they be treated any differently to an able bodied 6ft 4in 17st person?

Furthermore, I'm 100% ignorant towards the mobility scheme but I've just googled 'mobility cars with nil deposit' which has resulted in a host of offers. Unless there's some other factor I'm not addressing, there appears to be a number of cars available that would suit a 6ft 4 individual. To quote just a few examples - what's wrong with a Dacia Duster or Peugeot 2008? Is a Renault Kadjar too small? There is no bigger C segment car than a Skoda Octavia and if a Corsa or Astra is too small then what about a Vauxhall Grandland X?

Perhaps someone with more knowledge can explain why none of these cars suit a disabled 6ft 4" 17st person who want's nil deposit?

xxxx 3 January 2019

Duster

In reply to what's wrong with the Dacia Duster Sce 4wd, it's £59 a week or over £9,200 for 3 years!!! 

I bet Motorbility only paid £12k for it, making a near £2,000,000 annual salary possible for the ex CEO. Charity really does begin at home

FMS 7 January 2019

xxxx wrote:

xxxx wrote:

In reply to what's wrong with the Dacia Duster Sce 4wd, it's £59 a week or over £9,200 for 3 years!!! 

I bet Motorbility only paid £12k for it, making a near £2,000,000 annual salary possible for the ex CEO. Charity really does begin at home

 

So what, they paid what you "bet" it cost them?. Instead of doing your usual trashing of other people business, go away...and get the FACTS and them present them in a coherent fashion, to try and back up your spurious claim.

 

"Motorbility"?...try again...such a moron, given access to these public forums...you should have been created decades ago, when you would have been dismissed with the wave of anybodys hand. TwIT, the w is silent, as you should be.

289 3 January 2019

@ Scotty5

I think the problem of height is being looked at through 'able-bodied' eyes.

Of course an able bodied 6'5" individual can fold themselves into a smaller car....in the 60's many climbed into the original Mini's......but if you are diasabled you may not be able to bend or twist yourself into a car...you may need to get yourself from a wheelchair direct into the car seat even necessitating a swiveling drivers seat in extreme cases, so headroom/roof height becomes a big issue - so please dont be so quick to judge.

A Dacia Duster would (in my view) be a prime candidate, as you point out.

One small point....why is the guy in the wheel chair apparently inches from dropping off a concrete ledge into deep water!? Are his transport problems driving him to the edge?

With regard to James suggestion of a 15 year old Audi....I dont think this would be a starter....even a 5 year old Audi can be a moneypit, so for a disabled person a really old premium car possibly stranding them miles from anywhere isnt a sensible suggestion. A 3 year old car with extended warranty/ breakdown etc, may work however.

As others have commented, this scheme has been horrifically abused rewarding those who shouldnt be in the scheme and barring some who really need transport. But what do you expect from a Government designed scheme.....you have the deadly combination of the incapable civil servants and those trying to get rich quick off the back of those less fortunate in life devising a scheme. It was never going to end well!  It needs an independant review by those who know the industry and are able to advise correctly.....lets face it there is a global oversupply of nearly one third so there should be an easy and cheap answer.

One other point....James, I generally get my tyres from Camskill on-line for my 4x4's, purely because they are so much more competitive....if I lived nearer to them they would fit them too. Luckily I have a tame tyre company locally who is quite happy to fit/balance them at £10 per corner. But I would say that if my local Micheldever Tyres weren't so greedy I would buy from them (they used to be super competitive before they changed hands several years ago), but a 30% difference is not to be sniffed at!

scotty5 3 January 2019

Read it again.

289 wrote:

I think the problem of height is being looked at through 'able-bodied' eyes.

Of course an able bodied 6'5" individual can fold themselves into a smaller car...

Nice use of poetic licence to avoid the question. We all 'fold' ourselves in to cars, if for whatever reason you cannot 'fold' yourself in to a car, you need to start looking at vans and specially adapted vehicles. That is NOT what is being discussed - read the story again. 

And regarding autos - if an auto is deemed necessary for the level of disability then of course the benefit should match it, but to make all autos available to every mobility person? I'll say it again - there comes a time when a elderly person requires an auto, not only for the safety of themselves but for other road users - do we start subsidising auto's for every pensioner? You need to draw lines somewhere. 6ft 4in is NOT a disability.

289 wrote:

wheelchair direct into the car seat even necessitating a swiveling drivers seat 

Again, this has nothing to do with it. Read my reply - benefit should be based on level of disability. That's to say a 6ft 4" wheelchair bound person should be treated differently to a 6ft 4" person on benefits who is not wheelchair bound. It's the disability that should be of concern - not the person's height.

I agree with your other points.

 

 

 

 

 

With regard to James suggestion of a 15 year old Audi....I dont think this would be a starter....even a 5 year old Audi can be a moneypit, so for a disabled person a really old premium car possibly stranding them miles from anywhere isnt a sensible suggestion. A 3 year old car with extended warranty/ breakdown etc, may work however.

As others have commented, this scheme has been horrifically abused rewarding those who shouldnt be in the scheme and barring some who really need transport. But what do you expect from a Government designed scheme.....you have the deadly combination of the incapable civil servants and those trying to get rich quick off the back of those less fortunate in life devising a scheme. It was never going to end well!  It needs an independant review by those who know the industry and are able to advise correctly.....lets face it there is a global oversupply of nearly one third so there should be an easy and cheap answer.

One other point....James, I generally get my tyres from Camskill on-line for my 4x4's, purely because they are so much more competitive....if I lived nearer to them they would fit them too. Luckily I have a tame tyre company locally who is quite happy to fit/balance them at £10 per corner. But I would say that if my local Micheldever Tyres weren't so greedy I would buy from them (they used to be super competitive before they changed hands several years ago), but a 30% difference is not to be sniffed at!

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