Star Ford Lincoln commercial livery managers Patrick and Barbara Papp sold a 2010 Royale Ford Fusion Hybrid L to Danny Sullivan (R), owner of Vogue Limousine in Glendora, Calif., on Feb. 24, 2012, just two days before the annual Academy Awards Oscars ceremony.
GLENDORA, Calif. — Operator Danny Sullivan could not have benefited from better timing when he bought a Royale Ford Fusion Hybrid L sedan last month.
Sullivan, owner of Vogue Limousine, had gotten a request from an actor client headed to the Academy Awards for a green vehicle, which Sullivan did not have in his eight vehicle fleet.
But before farming out the job, Sullivan learned that his Lincoln dealer, Barbara Papp of Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale, still had a 2010 Royale Ford Fusion Hybrid L sedan in stock — a model that is cut and stretched six inches by Royale Limousine Manufacturers in Haverhill, Mass.
So, on Feb. 24, two days before the big Oscar night, Sullivan visited Barb and bought the Fusion for $27,500. The actor, Vogue’s first official hybrid client, loved the experience.
“On Thursday [client] wanted a hybrid, and I didn’t have it,” Sullivan said. “I thought I’d see what I can do. I was already going to visit Barb to check out the car, so I bought it and had it for the client.”
Sullivan believes he may have a practical, profitable addition to his fleet going forward.
“Ever since Royale came out with the Fusion L, I had been interested in getting one in this economy,” Sullivan said. “It was just a matter of timing. I test drove it when Royale visited [in 2010]. It was a nice car with a lot of legroom. I was waiting for business to turn around. Barb sent an e-mail saying she had one left before she retired.”
Sullivan appreciates the 40 mpg of the Fusion, especially with the recent rise in California gas prices. He plans to use the Fusion for corporate runs and is waiting for all of his LAX permitting so he can pick up clients at the airport with it. His other fleet vehicles include four Lincoln Town Car Executive L sedans, two Chevrolet Suburban SUVs, and a van.
“With one or two executives with carry-ons and not much luggage, it’s perfect for them and saves money,” Sullivan said. Vogue Limousine charges $55 per hour for the Fusion, about the same as for a Town Car, but with no fuel surcharge.
Sullivan will wait and see about buying any more hybrid sedans. Royale also offers a six-inch stretched version of the mid-size Lincoln MKZ Hybrid L modified according to the QVM standards of Ford Fleet Limousine and Livery Vehicles. The MKZ Hybrid L is a more luxurious version of the Fusion, and costs about $10,000 more per vehicle.
“If I get more and more clients wanting it, then I will seriously think about adding another one,” Sullivan said. “You can’t replace a whole fleet at once and shock your clients. But it’s the smart thing to do.”
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor