A representative speaks to one of the industry’s biggest selling points.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. and LIMA, Ohio — DaBryan Coach Builders wraps up a year of major changes and journeys: Emerging from a crippling recession, moving its production to a new plant, and gearing up for the new limousine base models from Lincoln and Cadillac.
For the first time since late 2008, the manufacturer reports a steady rise in revenues. Although the privately held company does not disclose exact production, profit, and revenue figures, so far this year DaBryan has seen a 10-15% revenue increase from its recession bottom hit last year, said Edward MacDonald, vice president of sales and marketing. When the company’s fortunes plummeted in late 2008, along with those of all of its competitors, production and sales revenue fell about 75% during the recessionary years of 2009 and 2010, MacDonald said in a recent interview with LCT.
DaBryan now belongs to the surviving pantheon of elite stretch limousine manufacturers in the U.S., an exclusive group that includes Krystal, Royale, ECB (Executive Coach Builders), Tiffany, Imperial and Empire.
DaBryan, like all coachbuilders, will be changing its model lines this year and next to incorporate the 2013 Lincoln MKT “Town Car,” the Lincoln livery vehicle which replaces the outgoing Lincoln Town Car Executive L, and a successor model to the Cadillac DTS, to be unveiled by early 2012.
“The DaBryan tradition has been very conservative and definitely upscale, using fine materials and outstanding customer service,” MacDonald said. “A lot of that we will continue forward. But we are breaking out with some newer and exciting designs and catering to the market that is looking for a more exciting, exotic look. We will certainly maintain our conservative lines but definitely make use of new materials and new technologies. There is a lot of exciting stuff on the table.”
DaBryan provided a hint of its plans as the first coachbuilder in the U.S. to offer a prototype MKT-model stretch limousine of the future, which was unveiled Feb. 14 alongside the MKT Town Car prototype at the 2011 International LCT Show in Las Vegas.
Based on the latest information from Lincoln, DaBryan as of this writing expects to get its first pre-production MKT chassis from Ford Motor Co. in the first quarter of 2012. Its first new stretch limousine models could be finished and photo ready about eight to 10 weeks later. Depending on how more detailed timelines play out, DaBryan could be opening its order bank for stretch limousines in early 2012, with the first deliveries to operators in succeeding quarters.
“At the moment, we are at Lincoln’s mercy,” MacDonald said of production and sales timing. “We’ve got designs in mind and suppliers are ready.”
New facilities and vehicles
DaBryan has completed the transfer of all vehicle production from its original home and headquarters in Springfield, Mo. to the factories of Lima, Ohio-based Accubuilt Inc., the owning company that bought DaBryan in 2006. DaBryan will be winnowing its stretch sizes and models to cater to more particular markets and client preferences. The company consolidated its vehicle manufacturing with that of its parent company to save on costs, cut overhead, and adopt economies of scale.
“Everything is on the table,” MacDonald said of future lines of limousines, vans, and mini-buses. “But we’re being very cautious until we see a market comeback and something vibrant.”
Instead of building multiple stretch limousine lengths, Accubuilt will focus on 80” and 120” MKT stretch models for the limousine market, and a 46” stretch for the funeral market. Cadillac plans to provide a chassis for only a 70” corporate stretch limousine, based on its new model, MacDonald said.
“Being under the Accubuilt umbrella, we are looking for products that help Accubuilt branding,” MacDonald said. “Down the road, we’ll have to be a lot more conservative with our product [stretch length] line-up, and cater to the few livery companies doing any purchasing, and not build every single length available.”
Future vehicle refinements will include new leathers, stainless steel instead of typical mirrored trimmings, LED-based lighting, more efficient electronics and power usage, and reduction of vehicle weights. “We’ve had to look at improved processes and be more efficient in putting out a better product while expanding out into different materials that put better value on the table,” MacDonald said.
Sidebar: MKT Stretch to Trump Town Car Stretch
Operators can look forward to a roomier, more durable stretch limousine based on the Lincoln MKT cross-over utility styled model, said Edward MacDonald, vice president of sales and marketing at DaBryan Coach Builders.
Among improved amenities: More headroom, 40% more cargo space than a Town Car stretch, stronger engine and transmission, all-wheel drive, factory-built technology and electronics, Wi-Fi capability, and back-up cameras, to name a few.
“A lot of the feedback we’ve gotten from end users is that they are struggling with such a radical new look,” MacDonald said. “But we are adding a few more inches of headroom, and while we lose 1.5 inches from the width, we are accounting for that with new interior [design] and engineering. There will actually be more leg space between the seats and console than we have today. It’s a great new modern exciting product which was desperately needed.”
A representative speaks to one of the industry’s biggest selling points.
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