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“I got my freedom back along with the car”

“I got my freedom back along with the car”

Wednesday, 12 de July de 2017

The market for people with disabilities triples and represents the autonomy of millions of Brazilians

Professor Emannuel Santos, from Vitória de Santo Antão, in the Zona da Mata of Pernambuco, uses the car daily to go to work, run errands and have fun with friends. It seems like an ordinary routine for millions of people, but for Santos it has a bigger meaning. As a wheelchair user, until then Santos depended on the help of others to get around, until he bought his adapted Uno. “I got my freedom back along with the vehicle,” he says. “Today, I have my independence to do anything I want. I’ve even traveled by myself,” he says.

Adapted cars are giving autonomy to a whole new segment of people with some type of disability or reduced mobility. Sales of cars for people with disabilities – PCD, the acronym used by the market and the government – simply tripled in the last four years, going from 42 thousand to 139 thousand units per year. Currently, they already represent more than 8% of the total auto market in the country.

In Brazil, although accessibility remains a distant reality in most cities, inclusion has been gaining strength in the automotive world since 1995, when a law exempting purchases by PCD from a series of taxes was put into place. Without such taxes, cars cost about 20% less for such buyers . And as of 2013, this market has had a new set of incentives, as new deficiencies have been  added to the list of benefited pathologies (see updated list below).

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Emannuel dos Santos: “I’ve even traveled by myself”

Tax incentives, of course, attracted the investment of factories in the development of products created or adapted for that public. An example is the exclusive version of the Jeep Renegade 1.8 with special automatic transmission for the PCD segment. “By law, in order to have tax exemption, the maximum price of the vehicle must be R $ 70 thousand,” says Fábio Biluca, FCA direct sales consultant. “Anything above this price and you only get exemption for the tax on industrialized products (IPI), which is why the FCA created a special model to meet this specific demand.” However, as Biluca explains, all our cars are available for people with disabilities.

Only in the first two months of this year, FCA’s business in this particular market segment grew 130% over the same period in 2016. The exclusive version of the Renagade is the most purchased by these costumers. And other models, such as the Uno, the Mobi and the Compass, in adapted versions will be available in the coming days during the International Fair of Technologies for Rehabilitation, Inclusion and Accessibility (Reatech). The event is the most important in Latin America and takes place from Thursday (1) to Sunday (June 4) in Sao Paulo.

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Jeep Renegade 1.8 was developed especially for people with disabilities

Systems analyst Honorio Luiz de Carvalho was one of Renegade’s exclusive buyers last year. “The automatic controls on the steering wheel make it easier for people with reduced mobility to drive,” says Carvalho, who uses a wheelchair. Eduardo Correa, retired and also from São Paulo, has osteoarthritis in the right knee (one of the pathologies included in the most recent list of exemptions). With the special Renegade he discovered a comfort behind the wheel that he wasn’t aware of:  “I don’t feel pain any more when I drive,” he says. “In addition to the brake and the accelerator on the left side, the ergonomics of the car, because it is higher, improves my posture behind the wheel and facilitates when entering and exiting.

How to purchase one?

Those with disabilities who wish to purchase a tax exempt vehicle, need to have their Special National Driver’s Licence. The document is issued after a rigorous checkup either by SUS (Sistema Único de Salud) or Detran (State Department of Transit). The professional will indicate what adaptations should be made in each case. These adaptations are made at authorized FCA dealers to meet the specific needs of each client. The following are the main diseases that entitle you to buy a vehicle with a tax exemption:

  • Amputations
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Arthrodesis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • CVA
  • EVA (vascular and encephalic accident)
  • Autism
  • Some types of cancer
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Visual impairment
  • Mental Deficiency
  • Neurological diseases
  • Shortening of limbs and malformations
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Severe scoliosis
  • RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)
  • Lymphomas
  • Injuries with physical sequelae
  • Rotator cuff
  • Mastectomy (Removal of the breast)
  • Dwarfism (short stature)
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Paralysis
  • Paraplegia
  • Parkinson’s
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Internal and external prosthesis, for example: knee, hip, spine, etc.
  • Problems in the column
  • Quadrantomy (related to breast cancer)
  • Chronic Renal Disease (Fistula)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Thalidomide
  • Chronic tendinitis
  • Quadriparesis
  • Tetraplegia

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