This issue spotlights the dealer segment of the limousine industry. For some time I didn’t truly understand the roles of dealers. Since dealers range from independents to Lincoln LimoCare and Cadillac Limousine dealers, it was difficult to define who did what.
The independent dealers, such as Lakeview Custom Coach, Jack’s Wholesale Division, Coachwest, Aladdin, and Westwind are unique because they distribute new limousines for a specific coachbuilder or they focus on the used market. When a dealer specializes in a certain brand name of limousine, the service work is fairly straightforward to them. This group also tends to be more formidable when it comes to selling used limousines.
The LimoCare and Cadillac Limousine Dealer programs were developed to aid operators needing efficient servicing on warranty work and maintenance. These programs were progressive steps on behalf of both manufacturers towards properly training select dealerships to work on limousines.
In the past, many dealers refused to service altered vehicles altogether. And, without the understanding of what’s involved in the conversion process, one can hardly blame them for being intimidated.
As more and more dealers become proficient in servicing limousines, they too are motivated to jump into the sales arena – which is good. If coach-builders aren’t bogged down with warranty work because a capable dealer is handling that work, they can better focus on manufacturing, distributing, and selling limousines.
In summary, you should embrace the growing number of dealerships entering the limousine market. This means improved customer service for operators because there are more people to turn when you have a problem.
Furthermore, the dealers involved in the Lincoln and Cadillac programs have trained limousine mechanics. These programs offer excellent turn-around guarantees because they understand that downtime means lost revenues to operators. Independents that are selling and servicing limousines for a living also have a thorough grasp of your needs because limousines are their specialty.
Summer is upon us and now is the time (especially after the prom and wedding rush) to get your fleet tuned and buffed up, serviced, and ready to go for the busy fall season. It’s also a good time to evaluate your vehicles in terms of resale, since the 1997 limousines will debut in November. So read our cover story and arm yourself with the right questions to ask your qualified dealer to ensure that your maintenance needs are met. Good Luck!