Los Angeles operator Alex Darbahani notes that the BMW 740Li has outperformed the Mercedes-Benz S550 in his fleet, but the two premium sedans remain competitive in client requests.
Beverly Hills, Calif.-based KLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services added a new 2012 BMW 740Li luxury sedan three months ago and is already seeing great ROI. Alex Darbahani, owner and CEO of KLS, said he chose the BMW for several reasons; one being that it distinguishes his company from competitors because there are only a handful of BMW 7 Series sedans serving his market.
“Everybody in the industry, including me, has a Mercedes-Benz, and I always try to be a different,” Darbahani told LCT. “I chose the 7 Series because BMW is giving a great incentive for limo operators and it comes with free maintenance.”
BMW’s incentive for limousine operators on the 2012/2013 BMW 740Li luxury sedan is $7,000.
Before purchasing the new luxury sedan, Darbahani rented the 740Li to test out with some clients, and after learning that they all loved it, he pulled the trigger on the purchase and added one to his fleet in April. To promote the vehicle, KLS sends the car to clients who generally ask for the Mercedes S 550, and so far they all have asked to receive the BMW for future trips.
Darbahani has discovered that many travelers coming to Los Angeles from Asia want the BMW 7-Series more than a Mercedes S-Class. He said he already has booked the BMW for two weeks for a family coming in from Hong Kong in August.
“We got a few new clients when we bought this vehicle,” Darbahani said. “One of them is BMW.” KLS Worldwide is booked for a BMW corporate event in October, and the German luxury automaker will provide KLS with the newest 7-Series model to chauffeur their executives.
The BMW 740Li has a longer wheelbase than the regular 7-Series sedan and comes with plenty of amenities in the back seat. “The S Class is pretty plain in the back, while the BMW comes with full options for backseat passengers,” Darbahani said.
In addition to helping KLS gain new clients, the BMW 740Li is more fuel efficient than the company’s S550, Darbahani said. But the rear wheel drive premium sedan doesn’t sacrifice any power, as it features a TwinPower Turbo In-Line 6-cylinder engine that generates 315 horsepower.
“Another benefit to this vehicle is the maintenance,” Darbahani says. “BMW does free maintenance for 4 years or 50,000 miles, and they have great service. When my 7-Series was in the shop for an oil change, they gave me a 5-Series so that I had no downtime and we used it one time for a client and he was happy with it.”
Because the BMW 740Li has lower maintenance and fuel costs than the S-550, KLS is able to get a higher profit margin with the vehicle. Darbahani said he also loves that the luxury sedan will have a great resale value when it’s time to replace it.
Since the BMW is popular with clients and makes more money for KLS than the S 550, will Darbahani replace his Mercedes sedans with BMWs? “No, I have to have an S Class, because if you are a luxury transportation provider in Beverly Hills, you need to give your clients a choice,” he said. “You have to have a Mercedes, a BMW, and a Rolls-Royce. We have all three.”
KLS charges $75/hour for the 740Li and S550 and $55/hour for a Town Car.
A comprehensive review of the BMW 750Li luxury sedan, which is powered by a V-8 engine, will appear in the August 2012 issue of LCT Magazine.
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Related: BMW 7-Series Gets Upgrades
— Michael Campos, LCT associate editor