Faced with investigations two months after a fatal accident, the TNC plans to regroup its venture for another day and place.
TORONTO — One of the largest chauffeured operations in Canada plans to buy 10 BMW 535xi GT this year as it creates a new tier of chauffeured sedan service targeted to corporate road-show clients.
Global Alliance Worldwide Chauffeured Services plans to add five of the luxury sedans starting the week of March 26 through the end of May and another five this fall to what will be about a 60-vehicle fleet, President Joe Ironi told LCT.
The 535xi GT is the AWD version of the 535i Gran Turismo, which was exhibited for the first time ever at the 2012 International LCT Show in Las Vegas on Feb. 13-15. BMW North America created a buzz among operators with its rebated price point of about $48,000 per vehicle, making it competitive with the Lincoln MKT Town Car, the Cadillac XTS sedan, and the Mercedes E-Class. RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation near Washington, D.C. became one of the first U.S. companies last week to seek out a bulk purchase of the BMW 535i GT model.
Ironi emphasized that the BMWs are not replacing his Lincoln Town Car sedans, for which he has not yet decided on a successor vehicle. “We have enough 2011 models to be able to sit on the sidelines and see what transpires in the industry.”
For Global Alliance, the 535xi GT will introduce another tier of sedan service priced between the standard sedan (Lincoln Town Car) and a premium sedan (Mercedes S-Class), Ironi said.
“They can’t really replace the Town Cars because of the trunk space,” he said. “We see them as being really good for the executives, business travelers and road show clients because they [generally] don’t travel heavily. They don’t have many bags, only one or two. The 535 trunk will hold medium size suitcases and carry-ons for two people without any problems. For business travelers going overnight it’s a good vehicle. We also can upgrade clients and promote it.”
Ironi predicts the rate on the 535xi GT will be about $75 to $85 per hour, compared to $65 per hour for a Lincoln Town Car Executive L. The 535xi GT in Canada costs in the mid-$60,000s each — substantially more than the 535i GT being promoted to U.S. limousine operators, Ironi said. The AWD model incldues a 4-year/80,000km free maintenance plan, Ironi said, and Global Alliance also bought the extended warranty plan of 6 yrs/200,000 km.
"We're taking a leap on profitability," Ironi said. "We think we can create market share for that vehicle."
In a separate press release, Ironi and Global Alliance co-owner Angelo Sarris said they saw an opportunity to once again up the ante in the Toronto limousine market by bringing a unique offering and value-added service to their clients. With the company servicing all of the city’s high-end hotels and a long list of corporate and entertainment clients, it felt the addition of the BMW brand to its fleet was a natural fit.
“The city is changing and we want to prepare ourselves,” Sarris said in the release. “We like to be different and would rather lead than follow.”
The recent addition of well recognized luxury hotel brands such as Ritz Carlton, Trump, and the upcoming new developments by Four Seasons and Shangri-La are an indication of the direction Toronto is heading and its recognition on the world stage, Ironi and Sarris said. “We are very thankful to our great staff and clients for our continued success and this is just another way to demonstrate our commitment to being the best chauffeured car service in Toronto,” Ironi said in the release.
Global Alliance operates 59 vehicles from its 24,000 square-foot facility in Toronto. It manages corporate and group transportation locally and worldwide through its network of affiliate relationships. The company is owned and managed by Ironi and partners Angelo and Grace Sarris.
Sources: Martin Romjue, LCT; Global Alliance
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