MOTABILITY exists to help less able bodied motorists to enjoy the same motoring freedom the rest of us take for granted.

It does this by allowing registered disabled persons to "swop" their mobility allowance for the cost of leasing a suitably adapted car.

A registered charity, Motability is part government funded and part supported by private and corporate donations. It gives grants enabling the purchase of cars, for some lower priced cars without any deposit, but sometimes with a small additional deposit.

  • It is able to purchase cars at a very favourable discount because of it's massive buying power. Since its inception in 1977,  a fleet of 500, 000 cars have been supplied, over 200, 000 of which are still currently in use.
  • Approximately 5% of the total UK car sales annually are accounted for by Motability financed sales.
  • Over 500 models are currently available in the scheme with over 3, 000 dealerships operating the scheme and having been approved by Motability as having conformed to their Code of Practise.

Motability have a number of regional assessment centres which can help you choose a car suitable for your disability, paying special attention to ease of access, convenience of controls, storage space for a wheel chair, etc. and will advise on any special adaptations that may be needed (possibly paid for by grants that are available to help).


The organisation provides the cars in 3 different ways.

  • As contract hire - leasing - where the ownership of the car remains with Motability Finance and the price of the new car includes all insurance, maintenance, repairs and membership of the leading road rescue service, often with no advance payment being necessary on lower priced cars, for a contract period lasting 3 years after which you can select a new car. This is the most popular option, 95% of all Motability cars being provided in this way.
  • More conventional and much less popular is a hire purchase option which means you will have to find a deposit and such things as servicing and repairs are not included but you do own the car at the end of the period.
  • The third option is also a hire purchase scheme but on approved, low mileage, used cars where you may not need to find such a large down payment.

The first method - Contract Hire - is by far the most popular and almost every car maker active on the UK market can supply cars as part of the Motability scheme, and most,  recognising the different needs of disabled drivers, have specially trained consultants in each dealership to advise on the suitability of each model and any modifications it may need, to explain the terms of the agreement, advise if any deposit is needed on the chosen car, to help complete all of the paper work and to arrange for continuing back up with servicing and repairs.

Many dealers have made considerable investments in altering their showrooms to make them more accessible to differently abled customers to make viewing and choosing a suitable car as painless a process as possible and, as part of the Code of Practise, give priority to disabled drivers in respect of breakdowns, servicing and urgent repairs, most offering a courtesy car while repairs are carried out.

The Hire Contract agreement normally runs for a 3 year period and includes all servicing and repairs, road fund license, fully comprehensive insurance via a major insurer with, usually, a £75 excess although this is age related younger drivers under 25 usually required to pay the first £100 or £150 of any insurance claim. Full membership of the AA is included and this organisation makes special efforts to quickly reach disabled drivers who have broken down and help them continue on their way as speedily as possible.

The only limitations to the agreement are that the car cannot be used for business purposes and there is usually a maximum annual mileage of 12, 000 with a small charge being levied on excess mileage.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible for the Motability Scheme you can call for advice on their helpline number 01279 635666, or look at their website at

All approved Motability dealerships can also offer specialised advice and help you into that car of your dreams that will give you the freedom and mobility enjoyed by all drivers.

Current participants in the Motability scheme include Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Peugeot, Proton, Renault, Saab, Seat, Skoda, Suzuki, Toyota, Vauxhall, Volkswagen and Volvo, so there's no lack of choice.



Article © Graham Benge 2007

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