Lightweight wheelchair specialist Karma Mobility is in the process of deciding which new products it will launch next year following market trials earlier this month where its VIP2 model was well received.
The VIP2 tilt-in space wheelchair is an improvement on the previous VIP chair and was shown to mobility retailers at Trade Days, alongside the E-Flexx powerchair and a heavier steel-frame wheelchair.
General manager for Karma Mobility, Mark Duffield, said that the trade show was about dipping the toe into the water to gauge market reaction and that the VIP wheelchair did particularly well.
“The new version of the VIP tilt-in is quite unique and seems popular. This is the second generation of that product. The manufacturers have taken what they’ve learnt from the first one, enhanced it and added more features and there are a few people who are quite excited by it – especially people who already stock the original VIP.
“The original model has got a tilt function without any recline. The new model will have tilt and recline. And it will have two types – one is a fixed recline so you can adjust the backrest level and the other is a fully adjustable recline that gives 30 degrees. The headrest that we used to have was quite a basic backrest extension with a pillow but now it’s more adjustable.”
Duffield added that the steel wheelchair on show did not go down as hoped. Karma is typically known for lightweight aluminium models and dealers don’t feel that the supplier fits the heavier, steel equipment sector, Duffield said.
“The steel wheelchair we exhibited probably won’t make it to market. It’s a cheaper material to make wheelchairs out of so it’s less expensive than Karma’s usual items.
“The thinking behind it is that it’s a lightweight steel wheelchair but it’s still a bit heavy for the tastes of UK retailers, generally.”
Karma is hoping to bring the VIP2 to UK retailers by around spring next year and it is still deliberating over whether it will bring the other products it trialled to market.