Carey History Tells Success Story

LCT Staff
Posted on November 1, 1990
Carey was originally known as the Carey Cadillac Renting Company in 1921.

Carey was originally known as the Carey Cadillac Renting Company in 1921.

Carey was originally known as the Carey Cadillac Renting Company in 1921.
Carey was originally known as the Carey Cadillac Renting Company in 1921.
Carey can trace its roots back to the early 1900s when J.P. Carey came to New York City as a barber. Carey was able to build his barbershop in Grand Central Station to one employing 50 men.

From there he went on to building related businesses in Grand Central Station including the laundry, shoe store, haberdashery, and others.

Carey had three sons, John, Edwin and J. Paul whom he put to work in the family businesses. In 1921, the limousine business was started using six Packard Touring Cars. J. Paul Carey was put in charge of that company, which later became known as the Carey Cadillac Renting Company.

During The Depression, regularly scheduled service was started through the area’s only airport, Newark. That company became known as Carey Airport Service in 1939. It was run by John Carey until it was sold to Greyhound in 1969.

In 1935, Carey became one of the first Hertz franchisees and Edwin Carey became the manager of the self-drive business. In the early 1950’s, Hertz began acquiring its franchisees and one of the first was New York. Edwin Carey moved to Hertz with the acquisition and ultimately became the president of Hertz.

In the late 1960’s, Edwin Carey, Jr., son of the Hertz president, along with his two cousins Paul and John, formed Carey International Chauffeur Driven Systems with the purpose of expanding the Carey business outside of New York City. Carey Cadillac New York, headed up by Paul Carey, Jr., was the first licensee of the system and others soon followed.

At the same time, a new limousine company known as National Executive Services was founded in San Francisco by a couple of former United Airlines employees and Don Dailey. At that time, United was the dominant carrier out of San Francisco and Dailey and his partners, as United employees, were servicing the top corporate accounts and executive travelers as customer service and sales employees. They saw that old line San Francisco limousine companies were handling the chairmen of the board and presidents of Bay Area corporations, but there appeared to be a transportation need for the next level of management.

Through a market research study of United customers, a concept was developed to provide chauffeur driven sedans, radio-equipped with travel industry personnel running the company.

National Executive Services was able to complete a successful startup period growing from Elght cars to 25 in 15 months and it had its customers asking for the same type of service in other cities throughout the United States.

Plans were developed to formulate an executive sedan and limousine system built on a new sophisticated communication network for middle and upper management travelers. NES was able to attract investment money from a major U.S. leasing company, of which VinceWolfington was a partner.

In 1969, NES either acquired or had agreements in principle to acquire operations in Seattle, Detroit, Boston and Chicago. These were the oldest and most established companies, such as A & A Limousine of Boston owned by the Willwerths which had been in business 45 years; and Emery-Drexel Livery, Inc., which had been in business in Chicago since 1926.

During this formative period, Carey International was developing its expansion outside of New York. Carey Cadillac had a lot of experience in the limousine business and it had started to offer sedans to the corporate market. In looking outside of New York, it found National Executive Services and it soon became apparent it was an obvious match for a merger, bringing together the established limousine business with the new concept — “Executive Sedan Service” — along with the new technology of being radio-equipped and run with the efficiency of an airline.

At the end of 1969, Carey and National Executive Services were merged on a 50/50 basis resulting in a 13-cities system. Carey spent the 1970’s developing its service capability in the United States through a series of licensees and affiliates in more than 100 cities.

From 1979 to 1985, a similar program was instituted internationally with the end result being a network of affiliates and licensees in more than 150 cities in 60 countries.

Between 1983 and 1986, Carey undertook the full development of its reservation center to facilitate one-stop shopping and responsibility for chauffeur-driven services through its worldwide network. Included in that investment was the development of its own computerized reservation system which can be accessed for up-to-date tariffs in both U.S. dollars and foreign currency in more than 300 cities throughout the world including all the services offered, types of vehicles and special requirements by the individual city. Today it has more than 27,000 screens of information including 150,000 rates which are instantly available to Carey reservationists. Included in the program is a direct transmission capability to both domestic and international cities and software and hardware capable of handling the company’s continual growth. In 1989, the reservation center took 175,000 calls.

The other major part of the investment in the reservation center was linking up with all the major airline automated systems. Reservations can now be accessed by more than 200,000 CRT’s through all six airline systems. Carey also has contracted to go on-line with the four new global automated airline systems.

Through associations, Carey was able to meet and begin to work with the other major travel companies. Through this relationship, Carey developed piggyback programs with the airlines, steamship lines, hotel chains, and incentive houses.

One of the first airline programs in the early 1970’s was the American Airlines Admiral Club. It included a direct-line phone from each Admiral Club to the local Carey office. This was a time when only important travelers were allowed into these rooms.

When American wanted to put together a door-to-door transportation program for priority parcels, Carey handled it for them. This was a service that was the forerunner for companies like Federal Express.

Carey did the Eastern Express, Pan Am World Tours; and the door-to-door programs providing sedan and limousine service for first class and business class passengers on selected routes. When the airline computer systems expanded to include ancillary services such as Carey, they (Carey) immediately went on-line and continued the piggybacked marketing program through the new opportunities made available through the automated sales departments.

The same was done through the steamship lines — Cunard, Royal Viking, Princess Cruises — to name a few; and the hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton Reservation Service and Robert F. Warner.


Through these piggyback programs, Carey was able to produce tens of millions of pieces of collateral on the Carey system distributed under the auspices of the major travel companies to its frequent travelers and travel planners Carey linked up with the big full-service companies like American Express, Diner’s Club, Maritz Travel, E.F. MacDonald and developed cooperative programs to service its clients and cardholders.

These marketing programs with the associations, transportation companies and full service companies were supplemented by a full advertising program aimed at the travel arranger and the frequent traveler.

Over the past three years, Carey developed a centralized direct-sales program regional in nature, reporting to the corporate office with a computerized tracking system to take full advantage of the results of the direct sales calls. The sales program is headed up by a vice president of sales and a marketing director from the corporate office. The United States is divided into regions with a regional sales director and then local sales and service representatives in all the major cities. Today, Carey International offers a worldwide chauffeur driven service in 326 cities and in 60 countries across the world.

Related Topics: Carey Chicago, Carey International, Hertz, history of the limo industry, Vince Wolfington

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