Limo Operation Takes Higher Roads To Growth

Posted on December 17, 2015 by - Also by this author

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Wilshire Limousine Services, which recently acquired Integrated Transportation Services of Los Angeles, is now run by the executive troika of (L to R) Rick Mullinax, Gary Macdonald and Mike Kushner.
Wilshire Limousine Services, which recently acquired Integrated Transportation Services of Los Angeles, is now run by the executive troika of (L to R) Rick Mullinax, Gary Macdonald and Mike Kushner.
LOS ANGELES — A limousine service owned by a rental car company may at first sound a bit downscale in an industry accustomed to running the most luxurious vehicles in a big VIP town.

But if the agency rents out exotic luxury vehicles all over Los Angeles, and the limousine service racks up four- and five-star hotel clients, then you have a strong, resourceful competitor in the third wealthiest city in the world.

Wilshire Limousine Services (WLS), named after one of L.A.’s famous urban corridors, operates alongside MCar, and is part of the Midway Auto Group. To underscore its upscale lineage, MCar is a member of the Hankey Group, a conglomerate of businesses, including auto loans and insurance, belonging to 72-year-old Los Angeles billionaire Don Hankey. In fact, Hankey owns the entire block along lower Wilshire Boulevard where the limousine service’s building and fleet lot are located.

About The Hankey Group
The Hankey Group, headquartered in Los Angeles, began as an auto dealer in 1972. It consists of seven companies with 2,100 employees. Don Hankey founded six of the companies and purchased the seventh in 1988. Hankey Group’s total assets as of August 2015 were $5.4 billion and estimated to reach $5.6 billion by end of 2015.

Growing Results

Wilshire Limousine Services recently opened operations in New York, with 48 vehicles and a roster of upscale hotel clients. On Sept. 1, it closed a deal to buy Integrated Transportation Services (ITS) of Los Angeles, bringing its Los Angeles fleet from 64 to 96 vehicles as of late October. Wilshire revenues have more than tripled since 2010, from annual revenues of $3 million to an estimated $9.5 million in 2014, and a projected $12 million-plus by the end of 2015. Affiliate business outside of Los Angeles and New York is growing 20% annually, as Wilshire aspires to open up in other cities.

The ITS acquisition stands as Wilshire’s most significant expansion move so far. As the largest chauffeured service provider to hotels in Los Angeles County — exclusive to 16 four- and five-star properties such as the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hilton, the Ritz-Carlton and the J.W. Marriott downtown — Wilshire grew to a point where it needed more vehicles and a wider reach. Enter ITS, a high-end chauffeured service with airline, corporate and entertainment industry clients founded in 1990 by operators Al and Jonna Sabroff.

Jonna and Al Sabroff on Sept. 1 sold their 25-year-old company, ITS of Los Angeles, to Wilshire Limousine Services, where Jonna now works as vice president of business development.
Jonna and Al Sabroff on Sept. 1 sold their 25-year-old company, ITS of Los Angeles, to Wilshire Limousine Services, where Jonna now works as vice president of business development.

“Growing organically means you’re slowing down,” says Mike Kushner, vice president/operations of WLS. “We grew to a point where we needed an acquisition to further grow our company. ITS’ volume, current clientele, staff, and experience were a great fit for us. It wasn’t something we did overnight. We went back and forth. We did our due-diligence, they did their due-diligence, and we came to an arrangement,” adds Kushner, who has worked in the Los Angeles and New York limousine industries since 1988.

As part of the deal, Jonna Sabroff, former President of ITS, became the vice president of business development for WLS. “My husband Al and I were fortunate to find such a good company to acquire ITS,” Sabroff says.
“Wilshire has hired ITS employees and was enthusiastic about serving our customers. They are a great company and we are pleased to be part of the extensive Don Hankey business family.”

FASTFACTS: Wilshire Limousine Services
Locations: Los Angeles, New York
Founded: 2007
Owners: MCar (formerly Midway Car Rental), owned by The Hankey Group
Key executives: Gary Macdonald, President of Midway Auto Group; Rick Mullinax, President of WLS and executive vice president of MCar; Mike Kushner, vice president/operations of WLS/Los Angeles; Steve Horowitz, vice president/operations New York; Jonna Sabroff, vice president of business development, WLS.
Fleet size: 96 vehicles, Los Angeles; 48, New York
Fleet vehicle models: Lincoln MKT Town Car, Cadillac XTS, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban, MKT stretch limousine, Ford Transit Vans, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Vans, Grech Motors buses.
Affiliates: 500+ worldwide
Major network affiliations: Tristar Worldwide, DavEl/BostonCoach
Annual revenues: $12 million, est. 2015
Employees: Los Angeles: 125 chauffeurs, 29 staff; New York: 60 chauffeurs, 9 staff
Overall client ratio: 65% corporate/hotel; 35% entertainment (no retail)
Major client sample: Peninsula Hotel, Beverly Hills; Beverly Hilton, Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles, J.W. Marriott; entertainment studios/production companies.
Web/phone: www.wilshirelimousine.com; (888) 813-8420

Fleet Friends & Benefits

Wilshire Limousine can tap a network of 3,000 rental cars in Los Angeles to round out extra fleet demand when needed. The MCar fleet includes 200 large Cadillac Escalades, Chevrolet Suburbans, and Mercedes-Benz S and GL models. MCar even has Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, a Maybach, Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis to spare for premium service requests, or to supplement the fleet in a pinch.

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