TOUGHER TIMES: There was no getting around the drop-off in attendance and vendors at this year's GCLA Expo compared to the one held in Orange County in April 2008. California is getting hit harder than most states by the recession, and the chauffeured transportation sector is absorbing some blows. State unemployment hit 11.2% in March, among the highest in the U.S.
Fewer than 100 members and guests attended this year, compared to about 170 last year. Top vendors included: Enterprise GPS, 1-800-GET-LIMO, Transpo Insurance, Colonial Life Insurance, Tiffany Coachworks, Krystal Enterprises, etc. (We'll name more as soon as we get them).
The big insight is the fact that the GCLA estimates that 30% of all limousine companies in California are operating with either suspended, revoked, or expired PUC licenses. That means about 1,500 companies are operating without PUC licenses, permits at the major airports, or insurance.
CA operators at the meeting were reporting fleet declines of 62 to 52, 42 to 38, 17 to 15, etc. -- fairly typical declines that LCT has been hearing about for several months now.
A few rays of hope: Keynote speaker George Jacobs of Windy City Limousine in Chicago reported that the six stretch limos in his fleet have been fully booked on weekends, and he plans to buy another one. Tiffany Coachworks is seeing its limo bus sales holding up rather well. . .
Read about success tips from George Jacobs in the April 29 DRIVING FORCE e-newsletter.
See more photos from the GCLA Expo in the July issue of LCT Magazine:
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