SPRINGFIELD, MO. — The Springfield area is often referred to as the limousine capital of the U.S. It’s easy to understand why — at least seven limousine manufacturers operate within 25 miles of Springfield: Springfield (now Imperial), Executive, DaBryan, and Springfield Limousine Sales in Springfield; S&R Coach in Strafford; Craftsmen Limousine in Ozark; and Murgel Limousine in Marshfield.
Wayne Smith, director of the Vehicle Manufacturers Association and former executive director of the National Limousine Association, said he has been in the industry for 25 years, and in that time, “Springfield has always been the capital of coachbuilders.”
Much of the local limousine industry experience and institutional knowledge can be traced back to John Bumgarner, who founded Executive in 1977. Bumgarner sold that company in 1981, and it has been owned by David Bakare since 1993.
Bumgarner also has founded two other limousine manufacturing companies — Springfield Coach Builders in 1994, which was sold to what is now Florida-based Imperial Body & Design Inc. in 2004, and his current business, Springfield Limousine Sales, opened in 2006. The company sells about 150 new limos a year, with price tags in the $65,000 range.
Bumgarner knows Springfield is a Mecca for limo builders — and he understands why. “I think a lot of the reason is that this area is virtually in the center of the U.S. — it’s easy to do business all over the country,” Bumgarner said. “There have been thousands of (limousines) made and sold from the Springfield area.”
Bumgarner said the region’s vehicle manufacturing prowess actually predates the widespread use of automobiles.
Source: Springfield Business Journal