Let’s Get This Party Started, Baby

Posted on April 1, 2006 by Sara Eastwood - Also by this author

Having just returned from the International LCT Show held in Las Vegas, I must comment on the state of the industry and how I see it trending.

It’s quite apparent that we are losing our industry’s middle class. From a buyer standpoint, it’s clear that conservative stretches are O-U-T, out. Meanwhile, outrageous and ostentatious ones are I-N, in. I’m dating myself here, but I do remember years of shows where you could literally see over the rooftops of 120-inch stretches from one end of the show to the other — just a sea of tuxedo limos! Not so today. Every coachbuilder at our convention had variety in their displays — everything from SUVs and H2 stretches to customized vans and buses to Chrysler short and long stretches. And no matter what their appearance was on the outside, the interiors harkened back to the disco era of old with lights and sound effects that would rival the best nightclub shows! In the ’90’s our industry accepted a less-is-more standard of vehicle. Now? More is more doesn’t begin to describe the trend we’re in. Are we going to start seeing hot tub limousines again soon?

So we’re back to a two-class system. The corporate market has almost completely abandoned the use of traditional limousines, while the party car operator can’t seem to get enough of them. Where will this trend take our industry? Well I am not a big proponent of having all our eggs in one basket. I think we should be a bit concerned that corporate America is shying away from the stretch business and opting for sedans and vans.

I think we have to roll with fads and respect the need for product differentiation because both help move the pricing structure up. But also, we need to figure out ways to massage more limousine business out of the corporate sector to help defray vehicle costs.

Some people at the show told me the corporate limousine market is dead. Well, OK but how do we revive it? It could be that our image is failing us. Even though people are going gaga for crazy limousines, does that, in and of itself, change the perception that the “suits” have of our industry as a whole? If the answer is yes, I think it behooves us to work on our image via the National Limousine Association to try and reengage the corporate market and get them feeling good about being seen in a limousine. Sounds a bit far flung but the Dairy Farmer’s of America fixed the negative stigma of milk through effective ad and PR campaigns. The beef industry is banding together to do the same.

’Tis the season now for the party car market and I love what is happening — the products have great ‘WOW’ factor and are creative and should yield high hourly rates this spring. But, I think we may be forgetting about another vital part of our audience or at least giving up on it without a good fight.

Sincerely, Sara Eastwood

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Go Riteway Celebrates 60 Years In Bus Business

The Wisconsin company started with just four school buses and now has 1,000 vehicles serving several ground transportation sectors.

Colorado Operator Buys Affiliate To Widen Service Region

eNews Exclusive: B-Line Express in Vail will now cover even more ground in the retail-heavy state.

Why Uber Can't Be Fixed And Must Be Shut Down

Analysis: The TNC's lower costs brought lower prices, with resulting popularity and growth. But its use of noncommercial cars was unlawful from the start.

Empire CLS Featured In Meetings + Events Magazine

The article describes the chauffeured transportation provider's newest additions to its fleet: 56-passenger motorcoaches.

Unique II Brings Its Luxury Service To Florida FBO

The New Jersey company expands its chauffeured experience to  private charter jet clientele at Opa-locka.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment



See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - July 2017 $12.95 COVER STORY: * Why These Titans Work So Hard to Give it Away * *


Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close