Sixt is best known for its rental car services. The company started in 1912, offering drivers along with its rental cars, as motor vehicles had just been invented and many were still unaccustomed to piloting the four-wheeled, gas-powered carriages.
The company was founded by Martin Sixt in Munich, Germany, and his family remains actively involved with the company to this day. Sixt began expanding its chauffeur services internationally in 2001, and operates in more than 60 countries worldwide.
LCT got a chance to correspond with Michael Schneider, managing director of Sixt’s limousine service, and ask him about progress on the limo service since the expansion.
LCT Magazine: Sixt Limousine service is available in all European countries, and in the U.S., and many more throughout the world. Do you have Sixt employees at all of these locations or are you using affiliates? How about in the U.S. specifically?
Schneider: Some are operated on a corporate basis and some are part of a franchise [affiliate] network. In the U.S., we are operating with long term affiliates who are members of the National Limousine Association (like we are).
Sixt’s managing director for limousine service, Micheal Schneider, says one of the biggest challenges in expanding is the ability to understand local attitudes. “To offer a worldwide service, a company must understand the needs of international clients,” he says. “Getting partners to accept the international service rules and follow the quality checks is our biggest challenge.”
LCT Magazine: If you are using affiliates, how do you vet and research which companies to partner with?
Schneider: Because Sixt has an established and strong brand in the car industry, many affiliates look forward to becoming members of the Sixt family. Additionally, we use our local franchise partners in the rental car business for recommendations and to check [affiliate] procedures based on their long-term experience.
LCT Magazine: What is the process for booking a limousine in the U.S.? Is there a software program that helps route to affiliates?
Schneider: Bookings can be made via www.sixtlimousine.com for international business. Furthermore, Sixt is offering 24/7-support with its International Operation Team based in Germany. They can be contacted by email or by telephone at any time.
LCT Magazine: On your website, you talk about multi-lingual chauffeurs. How are you are able to fulfill this option? What are the main languages?
Sixt has several types of customers in the U.S.: corporate travelers and private customers with their private chauffeur for a requested period.
Schneider: Speaking English and a local language fluently is a minimum requirement. In both languages, the chauffeurs have to be able to provide a one-day sightseeing tour. If there is a third or fourth language available, it is highly appreciated. Sixt chauffeurs are, for example, able to speak Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese and more.
LCT Magazine: What type of vehicles do you have in the fleet?
Schneider: The majority of the Sixt fleet consists of German luxury brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. All vehicles in the luxury sedan category are long-wheel based, well equipped, and quite new.
LCT Magazine: What has been your biggest success so far in the limo business?
Schneider: Sixt’s biggest success has been our commitment to quality — for chauffeurs, processes and cars. Sixt established a worldwide standard within its International Sixt Limousine Network, and we’re proud of our customer portfolio which includes the U.S. Consulate in Germany, other German public institutions, and several airlines which include limousine transfer in their first class business.