Federal Sets its Sights on the VIP Market

Posted on May 1, 2004 by Neil Weiss

<p>Federal's Orleans To better serve the needs of limousine operators, Federal Coach has revamped its product line, cut prices across-the-board, and beefed up its customer service team.

This “reintroduction” into the VIP market began in late 2003, according to Danny Aldridge, national sales manager of Federal’s VIP/limousine division.

“Although we have cut our prices, we have not changed the quality of our vehicles on any level,” says Aldridge, an industry veteran whose roots in limousine manufacturing date back over two decades.

Federal has made a number of new additions to its product line, including the Orleans “party car” limousine for night-out and wedding jobs; a five-door corporate stretch; a Li-passenger Grand II minibus; a 24-passenger Imperial II minibus; and an 18-passenger Majestic minibus, all with limousine-style interiors.

When designing each of its new vehicles, Federal took the needs of operators as seriously as the comfort of the passengers who would be riding in them.

To better accommodate operators who prefer Cadillac stretches, Federal relocated the spare lire on the Deville to expand the cargo capacity. The company also has given chauffeurs additional legroom by moving the driver seal and the divider backwards.

“The customers in the back won’t miss those three inches, but a driver with long legs will surely notice the difference,” Aldridge says.

Because the Grand II seats less than 16 passengers (including the driver), chauffeurs are not required to get a Commercial Driver’s License in most states. According to federal requirements, the smaller passenger capacity also allows operators to maintain lower insurance minimums for interstate commerce, according to federal requirements-$1.5 million instead of $5 million required by the Department of Transportation for buses.

“We built the Grand II to give operators another alternative for their fleets that falls right at the price point of a 120-inch limousine,” Aldridge notes.

Federal is able to maintain quality and focus on innovation because it handles all aspects of manufacturing. The company has its own fiberglass, stainless steel, upholstery, metal fabrication, vacuum forming, powder coating and wood shops.

“This reduces our reliance on outsourced products and the cost and time constraints imposed by others,” Aldridge says. “It also allows greater flexibility to make one of a kind, special request vehicles.”

Founded in 1989, Federal Coach has been certified QVM and CMC coachbuilders for as long as the programs have existed. Over the years, the Fort Smith, Ark.- based company focused on building primarily funeral vehicles and shuttle buses, but all that has changed, Aldridge notes.

Customer service and limousine operator satisfaction are top priorities. Federal has established a financing support program, cut prices by an average of 10% per vehicle, and is now openly taking trade-ins, something it rarely did in the past.

“For the model year 200-1, our new directions and products have resulted in over a 200% increase in sales of VIP products over 2003.” Aldridge concludes.

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