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The 2013 Cadillac XTS livery sedan and the 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car will be vying for operator attention on the trade floor of the 2012 International LCT Show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Feb. 13-15.
While moving around the trade floor of the 2012 International LCT Show, there are two basic indicators to consider adding a new vehicle to your fleet.
The most basic business theory is the “supply and demand” theory. If the demand for a certain type of vehicle exceeds your ability to deliver without farming jobs because you don’t own a certain type of vehicle, it might be a good time to review. If you are taking two to three orders a month for a limo bus and farming them out, you probably don’t need your own limo bus.
However, under the second indicator, if there are a limited number of specialty vehicles in your area and your affiliate always seems to have one available, maybe there is an opportunity. You may be able to provide better, more efficient marketing to develop a clientele for the specialty vehicle. There would be more risk and work involved to make this purchase succeed but it certainly could be done.
What to buy: A Town Car, SUV, or bus?
In the late 1980s and early 90s, the choices were limited to buy a stretch limousine or a Lincoln Town Car. With the Town Car yielding to the MKT Town Car, the choice for sedans has widened to include products from Ford, Lincoln, Toyota and Cadillac. There are many manufacturers vying for the dominant market share of the former Town Car. Complicating the decision is the increased demand by business travelers to order SUVs instead of Town Cars. The field here has widened from the popular Chevrolet Suburban to include the GMC Yukon Denali and a handful of other SUVs. They are sold in “stock” condition or tricked out by an aftermarket coachbuilder who makes it more functional for the needs of the corporate executive seeking space and amenities without the glitz of a stretch limousine.
The prevalence of buses of all types further complicates fleet mix decisions. Entering into the bus business is not for the faint of heart. The entries range from a 14-passenger standard van to a 55-passenger charter coach. The decision to buy any of these vehicles should be based on the type of clients you serve, the requests they regularly make, and new markets you want to pursue with your new vehicle. There must be a demand for the type of equipment you offer. If people are not breaking down your door asking for a certain type of vehicle, odds are they are not going to do so simply because you acquired it.