Alan and Marvin Fisher had a dilemma. Their two limousine services were prospering in the 1980s. With operations in New Orleans and Atlanta and a combination of almost 30 vehicles, the two brothers were finding a successful corporate niche in the South.
“We realized right away that we were not in the car business, but in the service business,” says Alan. “We believed our company had the same mission as The Ritz Carlton or Harrah’s Casino. We did not want to just transport people.”
The problem was that they needed to transport larger groups of passengers. However, they did not want to buy additional super- stretch limousines. Before the Quality Vehicle Modifier (QVM) and Cadillac Master Coachbuilder (CMC) programs were born, the Fishers were not sold on the quality and dependability of the longer stretches full- sized, fully equipped motor coaches cost more than $400,000 at the time. They ordered custom made luxury minibuses built by other companies in the early 1980s. The vehicles had a TV, bar, and perimeter seating. However, they were mechanically unreliable.
Enter Nelson Belou, a successful engineer and the college roommate of Alan Fisher. According to Alan, Belou initially told him that manufacturing the type of quality vehicle he envisioned was not possible. “That was the wrong answer to give me,” he says. “We heard all of the negatives. However, we spent a lot of money and kept pushing forward.”
After a significant amount of time, money, and effort, the Fishers debuted the Luxor coach. Luxor Coach, Inc. in Atlanta, GA, wanted to have several coaches ready for the Atlanta Olympics in the summer of 1996.
The Fishers used 15 luxury coaches at the Olympics. “We put together a committed grass roots effort to manufacture these vehicles and the effort paid off,” says Alan.
The main complaint about the vehicles was that some clients believed the limousine coach did not have enough of a “car feel.” This problem was addressed and Luxor began selling to other limousine companies. “It was really an unusual feeling when we sold the first coach to a major competitor in New Orleans,” says Alan.
Luxor Coach is moving into a new production facility in New Orleans which has increased manufacturing capabilities. “We can work on 16 vehicles inside this building,” says Alan. “We have also hired a national director of sales.”
According to Alan, operators across the country must think about diversifying their fleets. “You must be able to offer a client just about any ground transportation alternative,” he says. “Limousine buses are perfect for corporate group transportation. Corporate clients will keep your vehicles on the road seven days a week.”