Operations

Major Operator Reports Big Success With Fusion Hybrid

Posted on January 29, 2010

Commonwealth's Dawson Ruttter tells NLA board that his growing fleet of Royale Ford Fusion Hybrid Ls is performing beyond expectations.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The first operator in the world to invest in Royale's innovative new Ford Fusion Hybrid L reports that the vehicle has been a resounding success with his clients.

Dawson Rutter, the CEO of Boston-based Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, among the top limo/livery operators in the U.S., told the board directors of the National Limousine Association Sunday that the Fusion has "exceeded our expectations."

Rutter tested the new vehicle in August and then bought 10 of them from Royale Limousine Manufacturers of Haverhill, Mass., with the option to buy 10 more. He now operates a fleet of 21.

The key to the Fusion's success is that its hybrd engine gets 40-41 mpg in the city, and since Royale has stretched the vehicle six inches, it provides the legroom needed to qualify it as a serious luxury livery vehicle.

"Our experience with the vehicles shows that it will be viable for the next decade," Rutter told the board. "It's [also] one of the safest cars on the road today."

Rutter said afterwards that all of his 21 Fusions now hit the road daily for client runs. When most clients are offered a choice between the Lincoln Town Car Executive L and the Fusion Hybrid L, once they learn about the mileage and legroom, they choose the Fusion.

During an optimized driver test, the Fusion Hybrid L got  81.5 miles per gallon and had a maximum range of about 1,500 miles on one tank of gas, Rutter said. "I believe there is far greater value --- even than the mpg -- in the idling factor, where the vehicle does not burn any fuel at all," Rutter said. "Chauffeurs tend to idle for long periods of time which is confirmed by our GPS tracking of idling time with our staff."

During a board discussion about green vehicles, Greg McDonald, vice president of Cornerstone Goverment Affairs, the firm retained by the NLA, told Rutter, "Your purchase is a good story we can tell [the industry]. There are ways we can work to help operators buy the cars."

Two Fusion Hybrid Ls were on display at the Royale exhibit on the trade show floor. Royale CEO Cabot Smith said he received a lot of interest from operators at the show.

Given the reaction of Commonwealth clients to the Fusion Hybrd, a logical question that arises, but no one has mentioned so far: Depending on the successor to the Town Car Executive L, is it possible that Royale's Fusion Hybrid could upstage Lincoln's future livery model?

Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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