NEWPORT BEACH, CA — The GCLA literally rolled out the red carpet and set up the red velvet rope on Tuesday night at its annual Expo in a parking lot the along the Back Bay of Newport Beach.
Ready to strut near the carpet were the sedans vying for market share with the Lincoln MKT Town Car, now that the leading Town Car Executive L has finished out its final model year. Operators checked out such contenders as the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid sedan, the Toyota Avalon, the Hyundai Equus, the Audi A8, and the Mercedes-Benz R350, S400 and new S350 model, just released to the U.S. market on Tuesday.
At the GCLA Expo, Ford senior marketing manager Gerry Koss pointed out the beneficial attributes of the cross-over styled MKT, available in all-seasons all-wheel drive. It has more headroom than the Town Car Executive L, a higher rear seat, and 40% more luggage/cargo room accessible via hatchback. For tall clients, or ones with lower back problems, getting in and out of the MKT is much easier than in a sedan. Focus groups scored the interior of the MKT Town Car with an overall 9.2 out of 10, compared to an 8.3 out of 10 rating for the Town Car Executive L interior, Koss said.
Mercedes-Benz makes a bold move
Other Mercedes-Benz vehicles appearing at the Expo included the S400 sedan (hybrid version of the S550), the GL350 SUV, the R350 cross-over model, and various Sprinter van models ranging in passenger capacity from 12 to 17. Seven Mercedes-Benz sedans, SUVs, and cross-overs fall under the MBUSA incentive program with rebates ranging from $5,000 to $8,000 per vehicle, depending on the model. The offers expire on Dec. 31, 2011. Information: (949) 460-6560 or Frank.Gomez@mbusa.com.
Friday, 19 August 2011
IRVINE, CA – Kelley Blue Book (KBB) reported the top three luxury brands with the lowest retail total cost of ownership for an initial five-year ownership period. Based on Kelley Blue Book’s findings, Audi, Lexus, and Cadillac took the top three spots for luxury brands.
KBB said Audi and Lexus have the lowest depreciation and best fuel economy among luxury brands. KBB also cited lower MSRP compared to other luxury brands for Audi, Lexus, and Cadillac (fleet incentives are not taken into account).
“The average vehicle typically maintains about 30 percent of its original MSRP after five years of ownership, whereas a handful of vehicles maintain more than 45 percent after the same time period," said Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting for Kelley Blue Book. "The new Total Cost of Ownership data on kbb.com is based on Kelley Blue Book Residual Values, which are used by banks and manufacturers nationwide."
You can read more about KBB's findings here.
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
Limo apps make it easy to catch a ride
Some riders can even see driver’s location and ETA
McLean, VA - Reserving a chauffeured town car or limousine today can be as easy as moving a red pin on an interactive map. With car-service mobile apps from companies such as LimoRes, limos.com and Uber coming into their own, smartphone-wielding travelers looking to book a ride have handy new alternatives to making their reservations over the phone or online. While the free LimoRes (iPhone) and limos.com (iPhone and Android) apps can help you make a car-service reservation throughout much of the USA and globally, Uber’s free app (iPhone and Android) currently offers reservations only in New York City and San Francisco/Palo Alto for immediate, “on-demand” service. Among the whiz-bang features of the LimoRes app’s “ride now” reservation in New York City and of the Uber app is the ability to view your assigned driver’s location and estimated arrival time on a map. To be sure, most town car reservations in the USA are still made with a phone call and not a smartphone app. But with new smartphone alternatives, this could change. None of the three companies operates its own fleet. Rather, they all contract with town car and limo companies. All detect your location, if you give your consent, using your mobile device’s GPS capabilities. The apps from New York City-based LimoRes, which is in the process of rebranding as GroundLink, and from San Francisco-based limos.com are more similar than they are different. With the LimoRes app you can use GPS to select your current location, depicted as a red pin on a map, move the pin to another location or manually enter your desired pickup and drop-off points. The app then displays images of car classes and you can view the total rate, including gratuity, tax and various fees (but not the tolls). The limos.com app likewise plots your current location with a red pin and lets you search for rides “to airport,” “from airport,” “point-to-point” or “hourly.” This app displays more photos of available car models than does the LimoRes app, and both companies are fairly transparent about the total price. LimoRes stands out in providing direct customer service for your reservation, while limos.com leaves more of that responsibility to the third-party car service. The Uber app is sleek: You set your location and submit your request and Uber sends the closest available driver. San Francisco-based Uber provides support information and driver-en-route texts with expected arrival time almost instantaneously. But Uber’s rates aren’t as transparent as its competitors’. Although they’re displayed on uber.com app users learn the cost only when the trip is complete and they receive a receipt. The booking merits and demerits of various car-service apps tell only part of the story. The bottom line is how the companies actually perform when you are on the road.
Saturday, 07 May 2011
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Wednesday, 30 March 2011
BREA, Calif. — KRYSTAL ENTERPRISES INC. recently hired Robb Bennett as its second-in-charge, succeeding company executive John Beck who has been with Krystal for the last 25 years.
Bennett, a former sales manager for AutoNation who joined Krystal on March 1, reports to Krystal founder and CEO Ed Grech.
Beck’s voluntary departure on May 1 is by no means a final good-bye, since the industry veteran will remain on board as a consultant to Krystal to work with key clients and help move the company forward.
“I’ll still be talking to them and be in the office weekly to make sure I can do anything to help out Ed and Krystal with its large client base,” Beck told LCT Magazine.
Beck has become a fixture in the limousine industry and a steady sales presence at the annual International LCT Shows. As vice president, Beck has overseen the marketing, sales, production, parts, purchasing and service aspects of the world’s largest limousine manufacturer.
Beck joined Krystal in 1986 as a sales manager, four years after Grech founded the company in Orange County, Calif. He quickly moved up to vice president, overseeing the company’s interactions with dealers and its sales team. Beck said he will continue working with the sales teams at the ILCT Shows.
The new arrangement will allow Beck more time for managing his real estate investments in the San Diego region, traveling, and visiting with family at his second home in Arizona. “I’ll have more time to spend on the things that I want to do,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like this, and I’m not sure what it will feel like, but it’s a good thing.
“This is good for me, keeps me connected to the company, and helps Ed.”
Bennett, 42, told LCT he will oversee all day-to-day aspects of the company. He worked for the last seven years as a general sales manager for AutoNation’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealerships throughout Southern California.
Bennett, a married father of three children, said he and Grech met through their wives, who in turn met at the school where each couple enrolls their children. The two vehicle executives discovered they share a lot in common and kept up a conversation for several months about working together.
Bennett, who grew up in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and lives in Aliso Viejo, said he’s thrilled to be joining Krystal at a time when the company is making a fresh start and ramping up its production of mini-buses, Sprinter vans, green vehicles, and eventually, Lincoln MKT stretch limousines.
“Krystal builds a great bus under a great name,” Bennett said. “We are building [up] a new company. Krystal has made a name on product quality and safety. The sky is the limit.”
Friday, 04 March 2011
Limousine Heavy-Duty Chassis
The MKT Town Car Limousine chassis incorporates several heavy-duty components, such as
The Limousine also has the standard MKT’s third seating row removed, and comes equipped
“The MKT Town Car Limousine complements the Livery model giving us a comprehensive offering for every operator and passenger situation,” said Koss. “Both vehicles will deliver the features and content this industry requires, in addition to the quality, reliability and durability they
Thursday, 17 February 2011
Lincoln just made its big move, trying to see if limousine operators are willing to accept its humongous MKT crossover in place of the traditional, rear-wheel-drive Lincoln Town Car that has been an industry mainstay for more than a decade.
The MKT for limo use was unveiled at the big 2011 International LCT (limousine, charter and tour) Show in Las Vegas. To try to influence thinking, Ford is calling the new model the MKT Town Car -- even though it's not, well, a car:
"The new MKT Town Car will be the best available in the livery industry, working off a solid base as the perfect way to achieve the versatility needed for executive transportation or a night out on the town," said Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas.
Ford says the higher-riding stance of the Lincoln MKT Town Car also offers easier entry and exit for passengers as well as all-wheel-drive capability. The MKT Town Car uses a standard MKT chassis and is available in both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations.
The heavy-duty limousine chassis will feature standard all-wheel drive for stretched wheelbase limousine conversion of up 10 feet.
The rear seat has moved back by an inch and a half for additional legroom. There is also a switch on the rear passenger side door that allows a rear seat passenger to control the front passenger seat, providing even more legroom if necessary. The three-person rear seat also reclines for an additional level of comfort.
Saturday, 04 December 2010
Krystal Koach Inc., which claims to be one of the biggest independent stretch limousine manufacturers in the U.S., is following its recent bankruptcy filing with a request to sell its assets.
The southern California company recently sought court permission to sell its assets to Krystal Infinity LLC for $9 million in cash and liabilities, subject to higher bids at an auction it wants to hold on Jan. 4.
Court papers show that Krystal Infinity is led by Winston Chung, whom the Orange County Business Journal identified as the president of Hong Kong battery and electric vehicle manufacturer Thunder Sky Energy Group Ltd. Another company with ties to Thunder Sky, Seven One Ltd., is seeking to provide Krystal Koach with a $2.5 million bankruptcy loan. (Krystal Infinity’s bid includes a pledge to forgive the full amount of that loan.)
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, Calif., will consider Krystal Koach’s auction proposal and choice of leading bidder at a Dec. 7 hearing.
Krystal Koach filed for Chapter 11 protection on Nov. 19, reporting assets and debts each in the range of $10 million to $50 million. The company blamed its financial woes and subsequent need to sell its assets on the economic downturn, which it says has resulted in reduced demand for its vehicles.
In addition to limousines, Krystal Koach also sells shuttle buses, hybrid buses and hearses. It says it’s one of the few manufacturers in the world that has certification from Ford’s Lincoln-Mercury division and General Motors’ Cadillac division to modify those vehicles into limos.
Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
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