NORWALK, Conn. — Ron Montross, CEO of Elite Limousine in Service in Norwalk, Conn., has added 2013 Cadillac XTS and Hyundai Equus luxury sedans to his fleet, bringing the count to 30 company-owned vehicles.
His decision comes amid an evolving livery vehicle landscape that is witnessing the last days of the iconic Lincoln Town Car L and Cadillac DTS sedans’ reign over the limo world. The marketplace houses a wider variety of vehicles for chauffeured transportation than ever before and has brought rise to a more diversified marketplace.
Recent vehicle news included Lincoln’s decision to add the MKS sedan to its livery line-up, Cadillac and Chrysler’s plans to introduce “L” versions of their respective sedans at the 2013 International LCT Show, and industry giant Fortis Riders mandating Lincoln or Cadillac vehicles for their affiliate network.
The dust from this vehicle showdown won’t settle for some time, and operators will have to wait for others to pick a winner, or, like Montross, experiment with the options and decide for themselves.
A little more upscale
Montross has already introduced the Chrysler 300 sedan to his fleet, which has been a success.
Elite Limousine Service's new 2013 Cadillac XTS luxury sedan. CEO Ron Montross added this to his fleet as a more upscale sedan offering, but will run it at the same price tier as his Town Cars and Chrysler 300 sedans.
“We are still in search of a replacement car for the Lincoln [Town Car]; we have had great success with the 300 but needed something a little more upscale,” Montross told LCT. Fairfield County, Conn. — Montross’ primary market — was ranked sixth in per-capita personal income by the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2005 and consists of very high-end clientele.
Montross already runs the Mercedes S Class, but needed something he can offer at the same price point as the 300 or Town Car. After doing some research, he opted for the Cadillac XTS sedan because of the technology, luxury and brand recognition. He bought the XTS from Crabtree Cadillac in Shelton, Conn. for around $55,000.
“The ride is superior to the 300,” he said. “Customers are happy to see a Cadillac. We have no complaints. The Cadillac dealer seems to have a better understanding of our business and how we need to be treated. This [Cadillac XTS] car is our tool. The same can be said for the Equus.”
His new 2013 Hyundai Equus has luxury that “rivals the S Class Mercedes,” Montross said. “The rear controls and amenities in the car of the passenger are second to none. The warranty is excellent.”
He believes maintaining and repairing the Equus should be more manageable than the S Class.
Montross bought the Equus from Stamford Hyundai in Stamford, Conn. for $50,000.
Elite Limousine Service's new 2013 Hyundai Equus luxury sedan. Elite will price this the same as the Mercedes S Class. Montross says the Equus has luxury that rivals the S Class. He believes it will be easier and more cost-effective to maintain. So far, no clients have received it well.
Negative feedback flows rather easy
Despite Hyundai’s reputation as an economy car manufacturer, Montross has not had any trouble offering the Equus at the same price as his Mercedes S Class sedans.
“Both cars have been well received,” Montross said. “No one has said ‘Don’t send the Caddy or Equus. [We have received] compliments from a few [clients]. It’s always tough to get positive feedback. Negative feedback flows rather easy.”
Raising customer service levels
Montross also purchased a new minicoach and Cadillac Escalade EXT in the last couple of months. He plans to raise customer service levels by installing tablets in each car for driver and passenger use and communicating with customers through social media. Elite Limousine Service will turn 30 in 2014.
Read more about Montross and Elite Limousine Service here: Elite Limousine Services LCT Profile
—Michael Campos, LCT associate editor