Before I started working at VMI, I had the exact same question. It did not take me long to work out why these conversions are therefore costly. I highly recommend that anyone who is in the marketplace for a wheelchair accessible van, attempt and visit the manufacturer and see how the vans are built. Since we have a tendency to are in Phoenix, a serious vacation destination, several customers like to prevent by and take a tour of our manufacturing process when visiting the area.
There are many factors that go into the worth of our product, simply like several product. There's R&D (analysis and development) time and expenses. Simply as an example, our engineers worked 18 months on the Honda Odyssey with the VMI Northstar conversion. We tend to put a lot of work into every aspect of the vehicle and conversion. Among this R&D work is additionally a heap of testing. For months on finish, we have product in our R&D area doing nothing but cycling again and again to test the mechanics and sturdiness of the product. In addition to testing, the vehicle has to go through a myriad of testing to pass all federal government necessities; front crash check, rear crash check, side crash check, and pull testing (for seat belts). These are variant greenbacks of costs incurred before we designed one production unit.
The actual production of converting the vehicle for wheelchair accessibility is terribly invasive. When we receive a vehicle for conversion, the first factor we do is take everything out of the vehicle, everything. Your pretty shiny new van is stripped to pretty shiny shell. We have a tendency to then cut out the first manufacturer's floor. To give wheelchair users the simplest line of website in the vehicle, we have to add an entirely new floor, which is dropped 11".
That floor gets welded back onto the vehicle and then it is a method of putting things back together. We tend to add in all the ramp equipment and ensure it is correctly tied up to the electrical system. We tend to then have to feature the ground effect/flares so the new lowered floor isn't exposed. The vans bear painting where we tend to have all OEM paint colours to make sure the best match to your van. The next process is for the van to enter our Hurricane Booth to confirm there aren't any leaks in the van. All in all, each van has a lot of than 100 man hours in order to complete the entire process.
I strongly recommend that when trying for a wheelchair accessible van, do your research. VMI has been changing vehicles for over 20 years. We tend to have thousands of vans moving around with tons of repeat customers. When searching for a van, learn about the manufacturer, decision and talk to individuals that employment there, not the sales people, but ask to speak to an engineer or a product manager. I, now and then spend the majority of my day by chatting on the phone with customers. We email every alternative, stay in bit, exchange information. I am invariably out there to talk anytime, for however long. I want the client to feel educated and assured concerning what they're buying. Do your homework and bear in mind the previous adage, "If it appears too smart to be true, it in all probability is."