Royale Built to Last — And Lead

Posted on February 28, 2013 by - Also by this author

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A refined, detailed and highly organized production process ensures that Royale chauffeured vehicles retain the highest quality standards and that manufacturing techniques are consistent.
A refined, detailed and highly organized production process ensures that Royale chauffeured vehicles retain the highest quality standards and that manufacturing techniques are consistent.

HAVERHILL, Mass. — If you wanted to find a limousine coachbuilder that has never been bought or sold, merged, changed names, or gone bankrupt, and has an original co-owner and CEO at the helm after three decades, while still being profitable and innovative, you would only find one in the U.S. that fits that description: Royale Limousine Manufacturers.

Founded in 1983 by brothers Cabot and MacGregor Smith and their father Milton H. Smith, the company stands strong at age 30, having survived the Great Recession and diversified its markets and vehicle models.

“We look at what we do and try to do it better,” says Cabot Smith, the CEO, co-founder and co-owner of Cabot Coach Builders, dba as Royale Limousine Manufacturers. “If we can’t internally fund growth and expansion, we don’t do it. That’s the reason why we are still here. I don’t see this as a race. It’s about building a good product and satisfying customer demands.”

Royale’s conservative, quality approach to manufacturing and management has spared it the fates of many competing coachbuilders, both large and small, that have come and gone in spades since LCT Magazine launched, also in 1983.

“We know that when business is good, it is not good forever,” Smith says. “We don’t spend like it is. We’re very frugal with a staff that has been here a long time who know the ups and downs. We don’t have to match [other] companies that spend beyond their means. We’re very well-funded and can make it through a downturn. You have to stay the course.”

Consistent Company Values
Those core principles have kept Cabot Coach Builders growing over the years into a diverse manufacturing enterprise earning an estimated $50 million-plus in annual revenues, with Royale, its limousine and livery company, comprising about 50% of its overall business volume. Other, separate product lines offer vehicles for the funeral and disability transit markets.

Within Royale, the key limousine product line now includes 70-inch, 80-inch and 120-inch Lincoln MKT Town Car stretch limousines, Cadillac XTS 70-inch stretch limousines, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid stretch sedans, Sprinter minicoaches and limo-coaches, and Sprinter and limousine mobile offices.

“We’ve been around 30 years and seen the ups and downs of three recessions,” Smith says. “In August 2008 it just really dried up, and by the end of 2009 we were looking for a recovery that never came. We didn’t expect it to be as long as it was. It was a tough few years but we did very well developing the MKT and other product lines that weren’t specific to limo/livery. We pursued market diversification, not just product diversification within one market.”
Limousine vehicle manufacturing must now follow a “stealth wealth” mentality that requires vehicles to be understated and practical, Smith says. “The Sprinter that has come around doesn’t look like an ostentatious limousine.” The MKT, XTS and MKZ models, as well, fit the bill for “corporations that don’t like to show off,” he adds. “There are times when the MKT makes sense versus the Sprinter. The market will develop those as limo buses and coaches replace Hummers and Escalade stretches.”

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