During the year, we get numerous calls from people new to limousines and the industry. The number one question is, “How much does a limousine cost?” We generally reply that with $45,000 you can pick from a variety of vehicles.
One gentleman called recently after having just purchased a $60,000 limousine from a broker. Seems that soon after his purchase he received a copy of Limousine & Chauffeur and found comparable, if not better, vehicles for $10,000 to $15,000 less. Needless to say, he was disturbed. The second most asked question is, “Who makes the best limousine?” All in all, it boils down to “What am I getting for my money and what do I look for?”
Let’s repeat three pointers we have given in the pages of Limousine & Chauffeur in the past. First, does the manufacturer carry product liability insurance? Ask for it. At least you can infer that a third party has screened the manufacturer.
Second, become familiar with the manufacturer. Visit the plant if you can. Today most, if not all, manufacturers welcome customer visits. This was not always the case. Limousine manufacturing is an industry where the top man is almost always accessible. Then attend the annual Limousine & Chauffeur Show. Know your manufacturer and the sales organization. How long have they have been around? Will they be in the businesses down the road to handle a warranty? These are important questions.
Third, we’ll borrow a famous line from James Packard. As the story goes, many people would visit the Warren, OH, Packard Motor Company manufacturing plant. If they asked for literature and Packard did not have any, Mr. Packard would reply, “Ask the man who owns one.” Good advice…even today. The manufacturers advertising in the pages of this issue have produced over 35,000 stretched vehicles during the 1980’s. They should be able to direct you to a few satisfied customers.
We repeat these points because Limousine & Chauffeur has a host of new readers. Our mail circulation has grown more than 30 percent during the past year and our newsstand sales reach out to many new people who are being exposed to the market for the first time. They don’t have the benefit of past issues. However, in the next few issues, we will be going into greater detail on the subject of what to look for in buying a limousine. In the meantime, ask the man who owns one.
We were pleased to be invited by the Cadillac Motor Car Division to attend their annual dealer preview in Las Vegas. It was a grand event that was highlighted by a display of limousines from some of Cadillac’s trusted coachbuilders – a first, we were told. For the coachbuilders, and the limousine industry in general, it was a very positive statement on the part of Cadillac. Will we see the limousine and the limousine image return to Cadillac’s consumer advertising? I hope so.