Exclusive Sedan Service operations manager Wes Travis, Brandan Stein, Kim Desai, regional account executive, Los Angeles/Southern California for Chrysler Fleet Operations, and Exclusive Sedan CEO Ron Stein with their first Chrylser 300 Limited sedan on the Exclusive lot in North Hollywood, Calif.
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Exclusive Sedan Service took delivery Thursday of the first Chrysler 300 Limited sedan to enter limousine service in Los Angeles County.
Father-son owners Ron and Brandon Stein are trying out the sedan among their clients for the next month, and if all goes well, will replace their Lincoln Town Cars with the model. The Chrysler 300 Limited debuted to the chauffeured transportation industry on Feb. 13 at the 2012 International LCT Show in Las Vegas. It has gained widespread interest given its $30,000 sticker price, 31 mpg fuel economy, and a 150,000 mile warranty.
"Hollywood is a different animal," Ron Stein told LCT. "If we get good feedback from Hollywood, I'll order five more." Exclusive Sedan Service has a fleet of 33 vehicles.
Last week, Stein took the 300 to eight celebrity clients, ranging in age from 30s to 50s. "People who were in the 2011 Town Cars love it," he said. "If you tell them the Town Car is going away, they look at the car in a different light." Stein said he likes the classic sedan look, although the ride can be a bit stiff at times. Clients who normally ride in a Mercedes-Benz S550 premium sedan most likely will not want the 300, Stein said.
The Steins bought their 300 sedan from the Motor Village LA Chrysler-Dodge-Ram dealership in downtown Los Angeles.
Another Southern California operator also based in North Hollywood agrees with that approach, saying he plans to buy two 2013 Chrysler 300 Limited sedans later this year. "How can you not buy the car at that price point?" asked Chris Hundley, CEO of Limousine Connection. "At end of day, what [clients] are looking for is a black shiny car with a professional chauffeur backed up with a professional company. They don’t care if it's an S-Class or Avalon. Now that's OK for pharmaceutical accounts but a problem for Malibu millionaires and high-end clientele."
Hundley ranks the Chrysler 300 in a vehicle status amenity category somewhere between a Toyota Avalon and a Lincoln MKT Town Car.
Overall, limousine operators will be transitioning to more diverse fleets with mutliple brands, makes and models, Hundley said. "The industry will be fragmented all across the country. Too bad folks, let’s get over it and move on. That’s the way the world is."
The Chrysler 300 already has received several automotive awards, including finalist for Motor Trend Car of the Year, a Top 10 Excellence Award from Popular Mechanics, and a Car & Driver award.
-- Martin Romjue, LCT editor