Armbruster/Stageway, builder of specialty vehicles and limousines for more than 100 years, was acquired in December 1998 from parent company, Neoax, Inc. by M.J. Rosenthal & Associates of New York City and Merrill Lynch Interfunding. The new owners, who also own Executive Coach Builders of Springfield, MO, have moved Armbruster’s administrative offices from Ft. Smith, AR, to Springfield. Both lines of vehicles will be manufactured at Executive’s existing production facility in Springfield.
The combined manufacturing operation has been named Springfield Stageway Technologies, and former Executive president Dan Mitchell has been named SST’s chief executive officer, Mitchell’s replacement as head of Executive has not yet been announced.
“What we’ve done,” says Mitchell, “was take the existing Executive Coach Builders facility and modify it to run two distinctly separate lines of cars. We have several of the Ft. Smith Armbruster/Stageway manufacturing people, and they have trained veteran limousine builders in Armbruster’s manufacturing methods.
“As far as the management structure goes,” Mitchell explains, “the two companies remain competitors. Each company has a completely different sales, marketing, and management staff. Executive Coach Builders markets its products through direct channels while Armbruster/Stageway markets its products exclusively through a dealer network.” Armbruster currently has approximately 45 dealers in the United States and Canada.
Bob Messing, formerly vice president of sales and marketing for Armbruster/Stageway, has been named president of the company. The Armbruster/Stageway general offices are staffed with other employees who were relocated from the Ft. Smith facility.
“The first Armbruster/Stageway cars have come off the new SST line,” Messing reports, “and we are extremely pleased with them. The changeover process has gone very smoothly, and the cars are genuine Armbruster.
“Nothing has changed except our address and local phone number,” Messing continues. “We even have the same toll-free number. Our dealer network remains the same, and our warranty and parts departments operate exactly the same.”
Messing says that, although the physical location of the plant and general offices has changed, the management philosophy of Armbruster/Stageway will remain the same.