How Much Is A Used Limousine Worth?

Gordon Olson
Posted on July 16, 2018
The Lincoln MKT stretch is today's symbolic modern stretch. But the rules for finding determining the value of a used one still apply: 1) Name recognition, 2) Quality of product, 3) Vehicle amen­ities. (LCT file photo)

The Lincoln MKT stretch is today's symbolic modern stretch. But the rules for finding determining the value of a used one still apply: 1) Name recognition, 2) Quality of product, 3) Vehicle amen­ities. (LCT file photo)

If you were to ask the question of 20 people, most likely you would get 20 different an­swers. Since I can give only one person's opinion, I endeavored to search out the professionals who make their living selling these stretched limousines to see who sells what and for how much. I found out that most dealers in limousine sales operate independently of one another. So each sales rep or dealership determines their own price.

Stretch Limousine Sales See Peaks And Valleys

The popularity of the stretch limousine of course has faded during this century, having enjoyed its peaks during the 1980s and 1990s. Chauffeured luxury fleets now more often include limo buses of all types in addition to a handful of stretches based on SUV and CUV platforms.

Going back decades, we can see the market experienced substantial growth in the late 70s when limousines were bought mostly by the elite. Prices during this period and up to about 1983 were substantially higher before the marketplace saw a growth spurt that brought more limousine build­ers into the market. The strong competition among these coachbuilders set the course for a wide variety of models at dropping prices for the rest of the 20th Century.

You will notice that I only refer to "stretched" limousines, not the shorter, fairly basic limousine (generically know as "the formal") that are built or distributed by one of the big four American automobile man­ufacturers. The factory formals have that big, big name backing up their limousines. Therefore these vehicles do have established new retail prices with published guides to their used values.

How Do You Determine Limousine Vehicles Value And Prices?

Realizing at this point there are no fixed prices on either new or used limousines, one has to ask, "How are these values determined today, and why is it im­portant to the stretch limousine in­dustry to have some sort of regi­mented pricing?" After much re­search, I was able to come up with some basic criteria to help establish these questions of value and to give some understandable reasons for the need of industry guidelines.

First and foremost seems to be the stretch limousine builder's name and how the industry per­ceives the name. Is the builder known to represent good quality and service, and does he offer a well-built and lasting product? How long has the builder been in business and how many vehicles does his company manufacture an­nually? The answers to these ques­tions help determine the worth of the limousine and also helps to pro­mote name recognition.

The second consideration is the vehicle itself. What equipment does it have and how does the buyer perceive the limousine? We all know that each buyer looks for preferences on each limousine based on how he intends to use the car. To sum up these considerations, we have three means of determin­ing value: 1) Name recognition, 2) Quality of product, 3) Vehicle amen­ities.

Growth Of Limousine Vehicle Lending And Loan Opportunities

Now that we have some under­standing of how our own industry views the stretch limousine and determines value, how does the ever-important financial institu­tions and leanders see us?

In the early days of stretch limousines when prices were generally higher than now, banks deciding to finance this high-ticket items had no established used vehicle guides to help determine resale values. Banks found out rather quickly when they did get one of these "stretches" back through repossession or for other reasons that they were literal­ly at the mercy of a handful of businesses marketing used limou­sines.

These businesses, suspecting the predicament of the banks and their inexperience in this market­place, sometimes took advantage of the banks by bidding the limousine substantially lower than the real value. The banks, who financed high original purchase prices only to receive very low resale prices, suf­fered some large losses. These losses, although only a small percentage of the market, created a panic in the banking industry, and word spread rapidly not to finance limousines as they were too risky.

Decades later, vehicle financing is readily available from multiple vendors in the modern luxury ground transportation industry. Independent capital and finance companies appear at LCT shows alongside coachbuilder and OEM financing units. LCT's site has emerged as the leading online retailer of all types of chauffeured luxury vehicles, thereby providing real-time ball-parking pricing for stretch limousines and many others.

A Limousine Vehicle Market That Blends The Innovative And Traditional

And the explosion of motorcoaches and minibuses has led to a vibrant used market with many models retaining a high resale value, especially the large motorcoaches.

The larger, more organized "limousine" industry of today benefits from years of thousands of transactions that provide more accurate pricing data and market signals than ever before. Resale values can be substantial when you know where to sell.

Of course, one approach to limousine vehicle shopping has never changed in the era of online price comparisons. The only true way to find out how much you should pay for a stretch limousine or any luxury transportation vehicle (new or used) is to do your homework and shop around.

This article originally appeared in November 1985. It was updated July 16, 2018 by LCT editor Martin Romjue.


Related Topics: fleet management, How To,, new vehicles, online vehicle sales, used vehicles, vehicle financing, vehicle sales

Comments ( 4 )
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  • Anthony

     | about 11 months ago

    Robert, you should pay a mechanic that does vehicle inspections.. (my local shop charges 50.00) Executive coach will be worth more and a krystal coach, tiffany and lns. Driving the vehicle will tell you as a driver if it was abused or if it feels like a solid vehicle. Maint records even vincheck to see the various visits to the dealership will have a better re sale value since there is a documented dealer service history. For a replacment new vehicle i am very pleased with executive coach and they also have a dealer in carson california.

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