John George is offering the stretch and Equus sedan as a package for operators interested in using the vehicles in their chauffeured service.
The challenge for John George as new fleet marketing manager for ABC Hyundai in Las Vegas, is getting limo operators and top hotels in the area to view the Equus as a competitive luxury-class sedan. To help with that effort, dealership owner John Staluppi Jr., an avid car aficionado, commissioned the build of a special, custom Hyundai Equus six-passenger stretch.
It’s one of the only Hyundai stretch limousines in the country, with one other being reported in Orange County back in 2011. This 2015 Equus limousine was built four months ago, and already it is making an impression on clients as the dealership conducts meetings with chauffeured transportation operators in the area.
John George, fleet marketing manager; Kevin Blackwell service manager; and Alex Estay, general manager at ABC Hyundai
in Las Vegas.
“It’s gotten a tremendous response so far,” says ABC Hyundai’s general manager Alex S. Estay. “People have nothing but good things to say about it, and it’s really a fabulous ride.” The limousine was built by local coach builder Signature Limousine Manufacturers, and it comes with all the five-star interior amenities expected in a luxury limo.
The cabin features plush-white leather seating with a “Maybach”-style roof, with two small TV screens and bar with glass holders and ice chest. The dealership has so far used the vehicle for promotions and contests to help get the Equus name out there to the public, and they also use the stretch whenever VIP executives from Hyundai are in town.
“The idea to stretch the Equus first came from Mr. Staluppi,” says George, who started with the dealership this year. John Staluppi’s father, John Staluppi Sr., actually ran a limo manufacturing facility in New York City many years ago, so limousines have always had a special place in Staluppi Jr.’s list of favorite vehicles.
The interior features a “Maybach”-style celling and white leather seats.
The Equus stretch is being used as a talking-point for George as he schedules meetings with the limo operators and transportation managers for hotels and casinos in Las Vegas. He’s trying to sell more Equus sedans into luxury chauffeured fleets, and the stretch Equus is a great way to get potential clients to see the luxury-appeal of the vehicle.
“If there’s any resistance at all [to the Hyundai brand], it goes away when you showcase the vehicle,” says George. The Equus has been making its way into more limo operations lately, with many operators valuing it for its rear-seat luxury like reclining back seats and heated back seats. These features are usually only found in Mercedes S class sedans, but with the Equus Signature version coming at around $62,000, it has a much lower cost.
The limousine includes the Equus emblem in the middle of the side panels.
ABC Hyundai is also reporting great feedback from clients on the 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the powertrain, which applies to both the regular Equus sedan and the limousine as well. Hyundai also has a Livery VSC that extends the coverage beyond the factory warranty, for up to five years or 150,000 miles.
Though they are just getting started courting the limo and chauffeured transportation markets, George and Estay are excited about moving into this new territory. “Our relationship with Hyundai is strong and they really back us with these initiatives,” says Estay. “We’ve had a long relationship with Hyundai corporate, and we’ve hosted the executives when they come over from South Korea, and they love this facility and the stretch Equus,” he says.
The Equus six-passenger stretch was built by Signature Limousine Manufacturers
and is used by the dealership to help get the word out on the Equus’ luxury characteristics.
George says that he has some potential buyers eyeing the Equus stretch along with two or three Equus sedans, and that he hopes to sell more of the limousines because of its unique quality and luxe-appeal.