SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The financial crisis has taken its toll on the chauffeured transportation industry, affecting operators and manufacturers. For the major coachbuilders, this has been a time of downsizing: building less stretch sedans, SUVs, and buses, keeping their plants open fewer hours, and laying off employees. Coachbuilders have not been willing to state the exact numbers of laid-off employees for the record, but it’s generally been about 20 to 30 employees per company so far. This hasn’t happened all on one day, but during several weeks of belt tightening during the summer and fall months of this year.
Cutting down overhead costs has been a necessary move for coachbuilders, just as major operators have been experiencing. “We’ve had to downsize, cut our overhead to a bare minimum, and look for alternative markets,” said Ed Macdonald, sales manager for DaBryan Coach Builders in Springfield, Mo. “We’ve had to build six cars a week instead of eight. If you overproduce, you can put yourself in quite a bind.”
Alternative markets are becoming more important for coachbuilders; this means other industries beyond chauffeured transportation and includes overseas businesses. While overall sales for this year have been squeezed, 20% to 30% of Corona, Calif.-based Tiffany Coachwork’s revenue during the fall came from buyers in Egypt, the Netherlands, and China, said Pat Butler, president.
Source: LCT Magazine