The Royale Treatment: Profile of Royal Limousine Manufacturers

Denise Bibee, staff writer
Posted on April 1, 2001
Royale previewed its new fifth door Magnum II at the 2001 LCT Show.

Royale previewed its new fifth door Magnum II at the 2001 LCT Show.

As the first coachbuilder ever to crash test a 120-inch nine-passenger limousine, Royal Limousine Manufacturers has been continually building limousines since 1983 with an eye toward safety. Based in Haverhill, Mass., and with sales offices in New York, Chicago, London and Paris, Royal offers its customers quality products.

The Latest and Greatest

Royal’s newest product-the 5th Door 120-inch Magnum II Lincoln-was unveiled at the 2001 LCT Show in Las Vegas. The 5th Door Magnum II offers a large access door and a symmetrical exterior appearance.

Royale previewed its new fifth door Magnum II at the 2001 LCT Show.

Royale previewed its new fifth door Magnum II at the 2001 LCT Show.

“We designed it by analyzing the entire product and its purpose on the end user,” says Cabot Smith, president of Royal Limousine Manufacturers. “We manufactured a door that gave the best curbside access and appeal, then took the time and spent the money to have it tested for compliance,” Smith says.

The exterior of the 120-inch Magnum II with the 5th door is indistinguishable from Royale’s standard 120-inch Magnum II, as the exterior door handle is hidden and gives a symmetrical appearance.

“We have developed a technique to manufacture the door efficiently so that the added cost to the end user is minimal,” Smith says. “The option is reasonable enough so that it’s not a huge obstacle for the user to purchase, and many are considering trying a car to see if it will give them the competitive advantage they need.”

Royale’s new 5th door received a favorable response at the LCT Show. “The response at the show was greater than I expected,” Smith says. The 5th door is available on three Royal models: the 70-inch Presidential, the 103-inch Magnum and the 120-inch Magnum II.

According to Smith, Royale has built more than 500 extended door conversions since 1998. From that experience, Royale developed a product so successful that it can now be bought directly from Lincoln-the 6-inch extended sedan. Another product Royale introduced was the curbside extended-door conversion.

“When the cost of two extended doors is prohibited, this is a great option,” Smith says. “It allows the benefit of a full-size J-seat so you don’t lose any passenger capacity on the left side.”

Take the E-Train

In today’s ever-changing market, it’s vital to stay on top of technology. Royale is in the process of creating an e-business Web site that will allow both on-the road salespeople and customers to get up-to-the-minute status of their orders, availability and pricing of stock vehicles, lead time for new orders and make changes to orders through an engineering change management program.

“A few years ago we made a huge investment in our systems’ software and Web site, and by this fall it should pay huge dividends,” Smith says. “Vendors will be able to check our inventory of their product and the commitment levels to determine order quantities.”

Focused on Excellence

Smith maintains that the most important aspect of Royale’s production is quality and efficiency. “We constantly strive to be more efficient and evolve our processes and products constantly,” Smith says. “When we develop a new product, we take the time to make sure it’s right, and that we can make it affordable for the end users.”

Every one of Royale’s supervisors has been with the company for several years, which helps keep consistency in the end product. Everything is documented and systems are in place to ensure that there are no variations in the production process.

Royale's main office is located in Haverhill, Mass.

Royale's main office is located in Haverhill, Mass.

In 1995, Royale addressed the problem of low-voltage, which was caused by increased components by completely revamping the electrical systems to a low-voltage digital system. “Because our system sense low voltage conditions and reacts accordingly, we have never needed to add a second alternator,” Smith says. “Adding the second alternator significantly reduces gas mileage and has caused a lot of warranty problems by blowing off belts and burning up alternators,” Smith adds. “Our system will notify the driver of a low voltage condition and if the driver is not with the car it will automatically compensate.”

Royal Looks Ahead

With a $2.5 million facility that doubles its existing site, Royal will be able to integrate production of all models into one facility.

The latest in manufacturing technology enables Royale to implement a U-shaped production line as opposed to the traditional straight production line. “This allows for the centralization of subassemblies that supply multiple stages of production,” Smith says. “The finished limousine literally ends up where the base vehicle starts.”

Additionally, Royale has added a six-limousine showroom, a 25,000-square-foot cold storage warehouse, and offices for 10 additional salespeople.

In 1997, Royale built Lincoln’s 1998 prototype, and it’s currently in the process of building Lincoln’s durability prototype for its new model coming out in 2003.

“It will be a 100-inch that Lincoln will be testing for component durability,” Smith says. “They’re going to be testing everything from brakes, to frame, strength. This car will be put through the paces at the lab for the next several months before the model is released to the dealers next year.”    


Related Topics: business profiles, coach-builder profiles, Royale Limousine

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