Operations

Super-Stretching Safety Limits

LCT Staff
Posted on June 21, 2006

PORT SANILAC, MICH. — Those eye-catching stretch Hummers and some other SUV limos growing in popularity for proms and other events might be pushing the physical boundaries of brakes, suspension systems and frames, industry experts say. Neither AM General, which makes the H1 and H2 Hummers, nor the Chrysler Group recommends stretching its vehicles into limousines. "We officially frown on such shenanigans," AM General spokesman Craig MacNab said at the company's headquarters in South Bend, Ind. "We don't like it, we don't encourage it, it voids all warranties. Don't try this at home, kids."

Chrysler recently joined with an Ohio limousine-builder to make a limo version of the Chrysler 300, but it is only 6 inches longer and 100 pounds heavier than the factory model. But the company has no guidelines for super-stretch limousines made of Chrysler products, said Mike Perugi, brand manager for the Chrysler 300.

New York City and the state of Connecticut effectively ban most SUV limousines from their roads. The state and city only license limos that meet design specifications set by Ford and Cadillac for turning a Town Car, Navigator, Cadillac DTS, or Escalade into a limo.

Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the federal highway safety agency, said there has been no evidence of particular problems with stretch limousines. "There are a lot of specialty manufacturers," Tyson said. "The presumption is they understand what the federal requirements are when they build vehicles."

Source: Detroit Free Press

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