The Lewis Reed Story
Lewis Reed was incorporated in 1999 having previously been trading since 1993 as part of Lewis Reed Motor Dealer Group with conversions initially being carried out in a small unit behind the dealership. In the same year, the company moved to larger premises in in Birkenhead before relocating to its current factory in 2003. The company currently employs 50 people and to date has completed approximately 10,000 conversions.
In the early days, Lewis Reed offered conversions based on Renault and Nissan Vans but in the intervening years has evolved to offer a wide range of mainly luxury MPV based conversions. People looking to purchase a WAV now want far greater choice and levels of comfort more in line with a family saloon rather than a converted van and Lewis Reed aims to provide this with every vehicle it supplies.
The Lewis Reed ethos is all about fit, function and finish. To achieve this, over the last 23 years, the company has invested heavily in research, design and development. Lewis Reed has more design staff than any other vehicle convertor, with access to the latest CAD systems and ancillary equipment to produce a seamless fit between the conversion and the base vehicle. The company aims to install greater functionality into its vehicles in terms of wheelchair and seating positions as well as the choice of various access systems. In terms of finish, Lewis Reed uses the best quality base vehicle often with a high number of factory options already fitted as standard within the base vehicle price. To this, it adds the best quality conversion components, design and workmanship to produce a high end, high quality vehicle finished to the highest standard that meets all the requirements of the customer.
The WAV market is made up of thousands of customers all of whom have unique individual requirements who are looking for their own bespoke vehicle solution. There are approximately 20 vehicle convertors operating around the UK, most of which offer similar conversions with a slight variance in specification and price. Lewis Reed is constantly looking to add more value to the existing range as well as adding new models to provide its customers with the widest choice of base vehicles and conversion. Motability is a major consideration for customers and has considerably improved their finance offering over the years.
Probably the biggest development for the industry has been PAS 2012 which is a standard for WAVs developed by the industry and British Standards International (BSI). PAS 2012 ensures that all vehicles are now built to a set standard in terms of design, safety and service. This has gone a long way to enhance the reputation of the WAV industry as an established sector within the mobility market with some very well respected manufacturers.
Celebrating 20 years of making a difference
Lewis Reed is delighted to be celebrating 20 years of success. During this time the company has helped thousands of people around the UK regain their independence through its range of bespoke wheelchair accessible vehicles and exceptional customer care. The company will be celebrating this milestone at numerous events throughout 2019.
Lewis Reed was incorporated in 1999 having previously been trading since 1993 as part of Lewis Reed Motor Dealer Group and conversions were initially carried out in a small unit behind the dealership. In the same year, the company moved to larger premises in Birkenhead before relocating to its current factory in 2003. The company employs 50 people and to date has completed approximately 10,000 conversions.
Over the last two decades, Lewis Reed has led the way in wheelchair accessible vehicles by continually developing new solutions through its ongoing investment in research and development. This has been acknowledged with numerous awards including recent recognition as a select official Volkswagen WAV converter in the UK. To achieve this certification, Lewis Reed had to meet Volkswagen’s stringent commercial and technical standards – all of which they passed with flying colours. Lewis Reed has also been presented with Motability’s prestigious ‘Best Supplier Award’ in recognition of its innovative approach and outstanding customer service which is something everyone working within the business is extremely proud of.
“I have always firmly believed that the vehicle should fit the person as opposed to the person fitting the vehicle. Every member of the Lewis Reed team is acutely aware that a converted vehicle is not just a means of transport but a lifeline to ensuring independence for the wheelchair user along with their family and friends. This ethos is still at the core of our business,” commented Managing Director Peter Scullion.
The Research and Development team at Lewis Reed continually looks for new and innovative ways to add customer value and new advances in technology which can be developed and added to its range of vehicle solutions. A prime example of this is the recently launched unique Sure-Fit 200® – a wheelchair tie-down and occupant restraint system which adds more comfort and safety for the wheelchair user. In addition to the Sure-Fit200®, Lewis Reed has developed a specially designed flat floor, available on the Volkswagen T6 vehicles, to provide the wheelchair user with a better line of vision. The new wider flared floor and ramp ensures the wheelchair user can be easily manoeuvred into the correct wheelchair position once in the vehicle.
Over the years, the company’s vehicle portfolio has grown and now offers the most luxurious and advanced wheelchair accessible vehicles on the market. The most recent additions to the range include their new Transfer to Drive SEAT Alhambra wheelchair accessible vehicle and their Mercedes-Benz V-Class Grande which now features a discreet higher roof and integrated roof scoop to provide extra entrance and internal height for wheelchair and powerchair users.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank every member of the Lewis Reed team for their dedication and hard work. I am extremely proud of how the company has evolved over the last two decades and the excellent reputation we’ve earned. None of this would have been possible without the support of everyone here at Lewis Reed. Here’s to the next 20 years,” continued Peter.
Looking to the future
The management team at Lewis Reed believe that one of the biggest challenges the industry will face will continue to be from legislation.
WAV legislation is currently set in Brussels where its trade association has worked hard to build relationships and maintain a dialogue with Brussels, with the aim of ensuring that inappropriate legislation does not adversely affect its customer’s mobility and the WAV industry here in the UK. With the result of the recent Brexit vote there is now a level of uncertainty as to who will be in charge of legislation in the future.
Lewis Reed’s latest addition to the Lewis Reed portfolio of wheelchair accessible vehicles is the unique new conversion of the Mercedes-Benz V-Class Grande incorporating a higher roof to the XL wheelbase allowing more internal head room for the customer. It has become a best seller for Lewis Reed incorporating quality, function and style, helping the taller wheelchair user.
Every vehicle supplied by Lewis Reed is bespoke and customised to ensure it meets the requirements of the individual which vary from one user to the next. The V-Class Grande comes with a comprehensive range of options and flexible seating positions to offer practical solutions for user and their carer and family. The adaptable floor mounted rail system is quick and easy to use providing a choice of up to 6 passenger seats and wheelchair positions.
To ensure entering and exiting the vehicle is as easy as possible the V-Class Grande is fitted with electric sliding doors on both sides, a side lift is also available as an option. For wheelchair access, the large automatic powered tailgate opens to enable a remote-controlled rear lift or lowered floor and lowering suspension.