Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. has recently decided to commence the first overseas OEM (for sale under the licensee's brand name) supply of Yamaha's "JW-II" model electric power-assist units for manual wheelchairs to three European manufacturers as of May, 1999.
The companies to which the JW-II will be supplied are Germany's Wilhelm Meyer GmbH & Co. KG (Representative Mr. Wilhelm Meyer Jr.; Location: Kalletal-Kalldorf) and Otto Bock Reha GmbH (Representative Mr. Wolfgang van de Sand; Location: Duderstadt) and the Swedish manufacturer Scandinavian Mobility Rea Stolen AB (Representative Mr. Per-Arne Sjoholm; Location: Dio, all of which are well-known manufacturers of wheelchairs and other remedial products like artificial limbs.
The supply goal for the first year is 2,000 units, and expected to reach 8,000 units after three years.
JW-II is the name of the world's first wheelchair power unit that brings the new electric power-assist technology developed for the Yamaha P.A.S. (Power Assist System) electro-hybrid bicycle to use for wheelchairs. This unit consists of two wheel drive assemblies containing all the drive mechanisms, attachment brackets, a battery and a special battery charger. The power units that will be supplied to the three European manufacturers are based on this JW
-II with specification modifications to fit safety regulations and conditions of use in Europe. The battery provided is a newly developed Nickel-hydrogen type.
Estimates place the annual demand for wheelchairs as vehicles for the disabled and the aged at 200,000 units in the Japanese market and 500,000 each for the North American and European markets, and as the average age of citizens in these societies continue to climb the trend is toward increasing demand.This OEM supply of the Yamaha power assist units for wheelchairs will answer the desire of users for new products that can be easily mounted to existing manual wheelchairs to make lighter, more easily portable products. And for Yamaha it marks the first step in supplying its wheelchair power units overseas.
We originally released the above mentioned unit as well as the power drive system "JW-I" on the Japanese market in 1996 and sales of these JW series models have grown steadily from 900 units in 1996 to 2,000 in '97 and 2,700 for '98. While continuing to strengthen domestic market sales of these units, we plan to further promote the expansion of sales overseas as well.
Exhibition models of the products to be produced by the three new European OEM manufacturers will be on display at the "MEDICA", international home care and rehabilitation exhibition to be held from March 16 to 19 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.