Operations

Towne Livery: An Evangelist For The Lincoln Continental

Tom Halligan
Posted on November 10, 2016

Dave Bastian test drives the new 2017 Continental in August. His was the first dealership in the U.S. to receive the new Lincoln livery flagship vehicle.
Dave Bastian test drives the new 2017 Continental in August. His was the first dealership in the U.S. to receive the new Lincoln livery flagship vehicle.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y .— You would be hard pressed to find anyone selling vehicles to the industry more enthusiastic than Towne Livery’s commercial sales manager, Dave Bastian.

In constant motion at industry trade shows, events, conferences, and association meetings, coupled with his “Limo Show” podcasts, YouTube videos, blogs and social media presence, the veteran livery dealer seems to be everywhere — both live and in digital.

A veteran of the automotive industry for 24 years, Bastian found his niche at various dealerships before establishing Towne Livery in 2007 as part of the mega-dealership, Towne Automotive Group.

Fast Facts

Location: Orchard Park, NY

Service: multiple OEM dealerships and vehicle supplier for limousine industry

Owner: Franklin Downing, president; David Downing, VP

Founded: 1969 (Towne Livery, 2007)

Employees: 400

Website: www.townelivery.com

Contact: (800) 730-3683

Bastian got hooked on the limousine industry in 1998 when an operator bought the new Lincoln Navigator and told him he was going to have the vehicle cut into a stretch. Realizing a new market opportunity, Bastian began to focus on selling vehicles to the industry. It’s been a long ride since.

Based on the outskirts of Buffalo, Towne Livery offers vehicles from Ford, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Lincoln, Chrysler, BMW, and Hyundai. “We have at least 80 to 100 vehicles in stock and we see to customers throughout the U.S.,” Bastian says.

When selling to the industry, Bastian said operators always look for the same thing: Price, rear legroom, and trunk space — “they’re always the first three questions operators want to know first.”

Bastian says the new 2017 Lincoln Continental is creating a buzz throughout the industry. Towne Livery was the first dealership in the U.S. to take delivery of one in August. The Ford Transit is also selling well, Bastian says, noting operators of all fleet sizes are opting for after-market upgrades Towne Livery’s vendor partners offer such as leather seating, wood flooring, and USB ports.

Towne Automotive Group & Towne Livery unveiled the 2017 Lincoln Continental at a gala reception at the historic Shea’s Performing Arts Center in downtown Buffalo on Aug. 12.
Towne Automotive Group & Towne Livery unveiled the 2017 Lincoln Continental at a gala reception at the historic Shea’s Performing Arts Center in downtown Buffalo on Aug. 12.
“The vehicle is being used for multipurpose outings such as wine tours, weddings and corporate shuttle work,” Bastian says. “I see operators [varying] their fleets with vehicles such as the 14-passenger Transit because it’s a way to diversify their business against the TNCs.”

Bastian also has observed operators choosing more high-end vehicles and packages as another maneuver to differentiate themselves from the TNCs. “I’m seeing more operators using technology to run their business,” he adds. “They’re embracing mobile apps and back-office technology to help their businesses be more competitive.”

The industry has gone through ups and downs, especially in 2007 during the start of the Great Recession, but “it’s fantastic right now,” Bastian says. “The industry is much stronger and more upbeat. We’re just in a much better place.”

Towne Livery’s commercial sales manager Dave Bastian offers a variety of vehicles to operators throughout the U.S, including Ford, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Chrysler, BMW, and Hyundai.
Towne Livery’s commercial sales manager Dave Bastian offers a variety of vehicles to operators throughout the U.S, including Ford, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Chrysler, BMW, and Hyundai.
Not one to let a promotional opportunity slip by, Bastian created a two-day event Aug. 12-13 around the debut of the Continental. It featured a Friday evening gala reception and unveiling  at the historic Shea’s Performing Arts Center in downtown Buffalo, customer test drives, and capped off with a baseball outing at Coca-Cola field.

An active member of the industry, Towne Livery belongs to the legislative committee for the Limousine, Bus, Taxi Operators Of Upstate New York, (LBTOUNY), the Greater Atlanta Limousine Association (GALA), Minority Limousine Operators of America (MLOA), and the National Limousine Association (NLA). 

When asked what other vehicles he recommends, Bastian says, “We also sell the Maserati. We haven’t sold one yet to the industry, but let them know they’re available!”

Related Topics: David Bastian, dealerships, industry vendors, Lincoln, Lincoln-Continental, Towne Livery, vehicle sales

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