Operations

Poll: Operators Are in a Buying Mood

Posted on May 14, 2003 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

Sixty percent of the nation’s limousine operators said they were planning to buy at least one new limousine this year, according to an exclusive survey conducted by LCT. The geographically representative sampling of 100 operators found that 42% of buyers will be shopping for eight- to 10-passenger cars.

Thirty-five percent expect to purchase four- to six-passenger limousines and the remainder expect to choose 12-plus passenger limousines or more than one type of car. Of those planning to buy, nearly three-quarters operate fleets of 10 or less vehicles, with nearly 15% falling into the 11- to 20-vehicle category.

The poll, conducted in April, found that almost 85% of the limousine purchases were expected to be made before October. Although a large percentage of those purchases were scheduled because it was time to turn over older vehicles, the news appeared to be solid evidence that the foundation of the industry is strong and that operators are looking confidently towards better times.

For instance, in Boston, Dawson Rutter, president of Commonwealth Limousine purchased three limousines (two 72-inchers and one 100-inch stretch) this past April as part of his company’s program to retire some older vehicles. And while the size of his fleet has grown smaller over the years, he continues to keep nine limousines both moving and profitable.

“It does seem like our limousines don’t move quite as much as they once did, but they are still an important part of what we do,” said Rutter, whose 62-vehicle fleet is dominated by sedans, with a few vans, an SUV and a limobus for giving larger groups more options. Like Rutter, Howard Gogel of My Limousine has seen shrinkage in his limousine fleet.

But even so, the East Hanover, N.J.-based operator purchased five limousines, all 120-inchers, over the course of the past six months. In that same time, Gogel added 15 sedans to his 75-vehicle fleet. “If we continue to grab market share, we will be buying even more in the coming year,” he noted.

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