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LAS VEGAS, Nev. — If you had looked out across a limo trade show floor 30 years ago, you would have been able to see everyone else on the floor, or at least their heads protruding above a sea of stretch limousine roofs.
This week, the 100,000 square feet of trade floor space at the MGM Grand during the 30th anniversary 2014 International LCT Show (Feb. 16-18) looked more like a downtown skyline of black vehicles of all heights and sizes.
Stretch limousines, while still a core industry market, have been complemented by mini-buses, vans, Sprinters, and motorcoaches. Far from an expansive plateau of stretch limo roofs, the International LCT floor now consists of alleys, corners and villages created by the 84 vehicles strategically parked to maximize use of space.
The trade show floor demonstrated more than any other indicator the changing dynamics of chauffeured transportation: Bigger vehicles with a wider variety of brands, models, and custom options, especially in the growing minibus, Sprinter/van and motorcoach categories.
Coupled with a partial economic recovery, the chauffeured vehicle marketplace and growth in the limousine industry spurred attendance at this year’s show to about 3,000 people, the highest since 2008 and up 10% compared to the 2013 Show.
But numbers are not needed to tell the story; everywhere you looked, from the show floor, to the sessions, to the keynotes and general meetings, event to the food court at the MGM, you saw more attendees and more activity overall. Attendees seemed more relaxed and hopeful than in past years, and peppered conversations with a more optimistic outlook.
As usual, the International LCT Show always scores a list of “firsts” in the vehicle arena. This Show saw the debut of several models:
- Chrysler Ram Promaster Van debut by Meridian Specialty Vehicles
- 2015 Chevrolet Suburban SUV debut by Acton Fleet Sales/SoCal Penske Professional Vehicles
- 2014 Chrysler 300 L sedan debut (extended 7 in.) by Acton Fleet Sales/SoCal Penske Professional Vehicles
- Toyota Highlander cross-over vehicle debut to industry by Toyota Motor Sales Inc.
- Prevost H3-45 motorcoach and Setra S417 motorcoach debuts to show floor
- Ford Transit Connect new van version with seats brought by major Show sponsor Lincoln Limousine & Livery Vehicles.
- Formal reintroduction of Krystal and Federal bus brands under the new ownership of Allied Specialty Vehicles.
- Grech Motors first-year anniversary with refined model line-up of sleek new buses and sponsorship of a special show floor lounge and 30th anniversary birthday party for the ILCT Show.
- Lincoln MKS 70-in. sedan stretch limousine by American Limousine Sales.
- Hyundai Equus premium luxury sedan return to show floor.
And that’s just for starters. All vehicle exhibitors had new and interesting additions and angles, to be covered more in detail in the April Post-Show issue of LCT Magazine.