L.A. operator Steve Haim is the first operator in Southern California to take delivery of a 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car on Thursday, April 5, 2012 from Vinnie De La Pena, director of livery finance at Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale, Calif.
GLENDALE, Calif. — Limo industry history was made on the West Coast last week when Los Angeles operator Steve Haim picked up the first 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car on Thursday, April 5, and then put it into service one day later.
Haim, owner of Limelight Limousine Service in Northridge, Calif., took delivery of the MKT Town Car from Vinnie De La Pena of Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale, Calif. Haim ordered the MKT from Star Ford’s former commercial livery manager, Barbara Papp, in February during the International LCT Show. Because Papp retired on March 31, De La Pena, who succeeded Papp, handled the actual first delivery to Haim on Thursday, April 5.
De La Pena delivered two other MKT Town Cars within a few hours of Haim’s delivery: One went to Harry Sargsyan of Los Angeles Limousine, and the third to Christian Galanis of Athenian Limousine Service Inc. of Sherman Oaks, Calif. All three MKTs were bought by limousine companies based in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles.
L.A. operator Harry Sargsyan of Los Angeles Limousine and his son are among the first California limo operators to pick up the first set of 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Cars sold by Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale, Calif. They are pictured here with Star livery dealer Vinnie De La Pena on Thursday, April 5, 2012.
For Haim, the MKT Town Car was a long-awaited improvement over two 2007 Lincoln Town Car Executive Ls that he sold recently. Including the new MKT, Limelight runs a fleet of six chauffeured vehicles.
“Every year I had been wanting to replace my Town Cars,” Haim told LCT. “This year I went to the [ILCT] limo show and I knew it was time to replace them. I’d always had good luck with Lincoln. They have the best cars on the road at the best price and with the best warranty out of all livery cars.”
The only frustrating challenge for Haim has been the cumbersome registration process at Los Angeles International Airport for livery vehicles picking up and dropping off at the terminals. Instead of simply transferring the registration and transponder from one of Haim’s former chauffeured vehicles to his new MKT, the airport instead requires that Haim contact the Public Utilities Commission via certified letter to send him a livery letter that he must take to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which then issues him a vehicle registration that Haim must take to LAX ground transportation officials, who then can finally issue his legal airport access license and transponder for the MKT. The entire process takes 10 days, which means Haim can’t use his new MKT during that period to serve his "bread and butter" corporate clients at LAX.
Steve Haim also owns a Mobil service station at the same spot as his in Northridge, Calif., limousine company. He repairs chauffeured fleet vehicles for other area operators.
Haim, a mechanic who also repairs chauffeured vehicles at a Mobil service station he owns at the same address as Limelight Limousine Service, said he plans to buy more MKT Town Cars in the future as other fleet vehicles cycle out.
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor