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LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The luxury chauffeured vehicle horse race hits the track hard next week as Cadillac and Chrysler introduce longer versions of their sedan models while Lincoln adds the MKS sedan to its line-up.
And limousine operators have sent a resounding message to manufacturers: It’s all about the legroom.
The extended versions of the Cadillac XTS and Chrysler 300 sedans will be ready for operators to view and to order next week at the 2013 International LCT Show at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Feb. 5-7.
A Chrylser 300-L livery sedan model, stretched six inches, will be unveiled Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the 2013 International LCT Show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It is being built by Livernois Vehicle Development and exclusively sold through the national Acton Fleet Sales/SoCal Penske partnership.
A production-ready Cadillac XTS-L sedan, expanded seven inches, will be on display at the exhibit area of Acton Fleet Sales and SoCal Penske on the Show floor, along with a six-inch extended version of the Chrysler 300 sedan. The XTS-L is being manufactured by Specialty Vehicle Group of Amelia, Ohio, which makes vehicles under the Federal Coach and Eagle Coach brands. The Chrysler 300-L will be manufactured by Livernois Vehicle Development of Inkster, Mich. The 300 model at the Show is a pre-production prototype and will be engineered to meet or exceed all federal safety standards and certifications. The XTS-L is certified by Cadillac Master Coachbuilders. Both vehicles will contain original OEM rear doors.
Final pricing is still being determined, but the manufacturers and their exclusive dealer, Acton Fleet Sales/SoCal Penske, are aiming for prices about $10,000 more than the standard livery versions of the XTS and 300, said Bill Cunningham, general sales manager of Acton.
Both vehicles will be officially introduced at the Acton/Penske booth to much fanfare at a national press conference on the International LCT Show floor of the MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom at 3:45 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Feb. 5. Cunningham, Phillip Hartz, Co-CEO of SoCal Penske Professional Vehicles, Acton/Penske sales managers Greg Maddock and Bob Moody, and Acton dealership franchise owner Coleman Hoyt will join Edward J. Peper, GM U.S. vice president of fleet and commercial sales and Chrysler executive Brad Davis for the unveilings, now scheduled about 90 minutes apart with the XTS-L debuting first. The launch will feature slide show presentations, information on vehicle specs, and a celebratory reception at the exhibit for all ILCT Show attendees.
This CMC-certified version of the Cadillac XTS-L sedan has a body stretched seven inches by Specialty Vehicle Group. It will debut at the 2013 International LCT Show, courtesy of Acton Fleet Sales and SoCal Penske which plans a press conference and reception at its exhibit space on the Show floor, Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 3:45 p.m. PT.
The XTS and 300 extended versions are in response to an intense and consistent desire among limousine operators for sedans and livery vehicles with legroom similar to that of the retired Lincoln Town Car Executive L, which was a six-inch extended version of the standard Lincoln Town Car. [Lincoln engineered the interior of the MKT Town Car to maximize rear seat legroom without extending the chassis].
“Everyone is looking for a sedan that gives them back that interior room,” Cunningham told LCT. “Everyone is saying we need something big, and we need something with legroom.”
The extended models along with the many choices also underscore a vehicle market limited by stricter federal vehicle standards, with manufacturers no longer able to produce sedans as wide as the former Town Car and having to make do with mid-size being the new full-size, Hartz said. The only OEM-ready long wheelbase luxury vehicles now available to limousine operators are made by Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus, and because of their costs, are suited mostly to the high-end chauffeured market.
“Since the demise of the Town Car, the industry has been searching for alternatives,” Hartz said. “Operators continue to ask for longer extended versions of the new style sedans out there. They are smaller and narrower than the Town Car, and operators feel lost because they don’t have one particular product. The Town Car L was reliable. Change is tough on everybody.”