It has been said that a little hard work never hurt anyone. In the case of American Custom Coachworks, a little hard work makes you successful. The Beverly Hills, Calif.-based coachbuilder has been in the business of stretching cars for nearly half a century. What is the secret of their success you may wonder? “It’s hard work, providing great service and paying attention to the customer,” explains company President Jay Meyers. “We believe in staying in touch with our customers.” It is this personal attention to the customers that Meyers sees as what sets the company apart from other coachbuilders. “We don’t look at a customer as a one-time sale,” Meyers says. “We want them to be with us for 10 to 20 years.” Another thing that makes this company unlike any of its competitors is it’s a family business. Both of Meyers’ daughters are vice presidents of the company, and his wife is involved as well. She was elected to the executive board of the Limosuine Industry Manufacturers Organization (L.I.M.O.) last year.
Blue Suede Shoes and Limos With A.C.C. located in the heart of the entertainment capital of the world, it is no wonder the Meyers business has had itsfair share of famous clientele. They’ve catered to the likes of “Rat Packers” Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. And as you may have guessed, this has lead to many interesting personal stories for Meyers. One story, in particular, relates to just how far Meyers will go for a customer. “I received a call at my home at about 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, 1973,” Meyers recalls. “It was from my friend, Elvis Presley. He said that he wanted a new limo. It was going to be his Christmas present to himself. So I called my service manger, and we went down to our garages. We delivered a vehicle to Elvis at 11:30 that night.”
Keeping the Cost Low A.C.C prides itself on keeping its prices low and continuing to provide quality vehicles. Meyers explains that the reason why he can keep his prices so low is that he constantly monitors his overhead. “We own our property, and have just the right amount of people working for us,” Meyers explains. “We try to pass the savings back to the buyer. We have the lowest price in the industry, and we still keep our quality.” The company’s 10-acre plant is located in Van Buren, Ark., because according to Meyer “there’s a better quality of product that comes out of that region of the country.” Its central location helps keep shipping costs to each coast at a minimum. It also allows buyers from the Midwest a chance to go through and tour the plant. The majority of A.C.C.’s sales (approximately 90 percent) are comprised of new vehicles. However, catering to the needs of a new limo driver is something Meyers sees as a full-time job. So, in order to accommodate his customers, he strives to keep his prices low. “In my opinion, it doesn’t pay for a commercial operator to pay $6,000 to $12,000 more for a competitor’s product that he’ll be trading in within two to three years anyway.”
Where We Are, and Where We’re Going Moving into his company’s 48th year in operation, Meyers has seen many changes in this limousine industry. One of the biggest changes Meyers says is that the customer has become more knowledgeable. “He knows exactly what he wants,” Meyers says. Another change is the incorporation of new technologies into the vehicles. “There have been many innovations in the last 10 years,” Meyers says. “Flat-screen televisions, telephones, faxes, you name it, all have made us change the way we make the cars.” Meyers sees the changes in the industry as a positive aspect. “I see the industry getting stronger in the years to come,” Meyers explains. “There will be a lot of growth in the industry. In the next decade, business should double or even quadruple.” He attributes the growth to the growing impact of the global economy. No matter what the future holds for this family operation, its longevity in the industry is something to applaud. “I think we’re good for another 40 years,” Meyers says with a smile.