The family-run company was founded by David Walker, OBE, in 1983 after an accident several years earlier left him paralysed and motivated him to revolutionise mobility solutions. Since then, the Alfreton-based company has grown to become a leader in its market and expanded into international territories, including Europe, Australia, The Middle East, Canadian and US markets.
The business is now steered by David’s son, Matthew, from its £2 million state-of-the-art headquarters in Alfreton under the ABC Mobility Group umbrella, which recently added the Mobility in Motion brand to its offering - an initiative launched to leverage its cutting-edge technology and UK-leading experts in the field to reimagine the driving experience for all individuals and foster inclusivity on every road.
Reflecting on the significant milestone, Matthew Walker, Managing Director at Autochair, said: “This is a special time for the company. We’ve achieved so much over the last 40 years and this is an excellent opportunity to reflect on that.
“From its inception by my father, our company has relentlessly pursued excellence. What began as a necessity-driven invention has grown into a global enterprise that empowers people worldwide."
He continued: “Our commitment to innovation is at the core of everything we do at Autochair. With our cutting-edge manufacturing facilities in Derbyshire, we continually push the boundaries of what's achievable to ensure that drivers can maintain their independence and freedom, regardless of their disabilities.
“I am immensely proud of our accomplishments but just as excited about the future ahead."
After hitting its latest milestone, Autochair has also revealed its latest product innovations, including a next-generation LM hoist, a brand-new power pack for the entire range of boot hoists and person lifts, and upgraded electronics (handset and control box) for their boot hoists.
Matthew Walker, Jonathan Walker & Nick Walker with new products for the Autochair 40th birthday.
Autochair and Mobility in Motion hosted a party to celebrate Autochair's 40th birthday.
As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. When engineer David Walker was paralysed in an accident in 1975, he wanted to find a way to get to work without having to rely on someone else to load and unload his wheelchair from the boot of his car.
Finding that there was nothing suitable on the market, David decided to invent his own solution, eventually developing a mechanism that hoisted his chair into a box on the roof of his car back in 1979.
Its success led to others asking for a similar product and with demand so strong, production started in 1983 and Autochair was born.
Over the next few years, David steadily grew the company, increasing the range of products, moving into new and bigger premises bringing his three sons on board, and changing the lives of thousands of people along the way.
Today, Autochair stands as a testament to innovation, determination, and the enduring spirit of a family-run business founded on the desire for greater independence. Operating from its base in the East Midlands, Autochair is a global leader in designing and manufacturing wheelchair hoists, people lifts, and other transfer plates — all stemming from its founder's unwavering commitment to living life to the fullest.
For more information about Autochair and its pioneering mobility solutions, please visit their website.