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COSTA MESA, Calif. — Two leading chauffeured vehicle dealerships formally unveiled a cooperative partnership Wednesday night that puts sales and service of all domestic brand limousine vehicles — Ford/Lincoln, GM/Cadillac and Chrysler — into one coast-to-coast network.
Acton Fleet Sales in Acton, Mass., and Southern California Penske Professional Vehicles of Torrance, Calif., finalized a non-equity based business alliance in recent weeks that will enable limousine operators nationwide to one-stop shop for the 2013 Lincoln MKT Town Car, Chrysler 300 Limited, and 2013 Cadillac XTS livery sedan, along with all domestically built luxury SUV models used by chauffeured transportation companies. Acton and SoCal Penske remain as separately incorporated companies.
The venture combines the sales expertise and resources of Bill Cunningham, general manager of Acton Fleet Sales, Coleman Hoyt, dealer/president of Acton Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, both in Acton, Mass., Phillip M. Hartz, manager member of SoCal Penske Professional Vehicles in Torrance and Cerritos, Calif., and Greg Maddock, formerly of Lockhart Cadillac in Indianapolis, Ind., who will be the West Coast director for the sales network. Maddock will relocate to Southern California.
The formal announcement was made almost simultaneously on Wednesday at two major industry annual events: the Greater California Livery Association Vehicle Expo & Tradeshow in Costa Mesa, Calif., and the New England Livery Association Seminar and Trade Show in Worcester, Mass.
Under the arrangement, operators can get chauffeured vehicles serviced through the venture’s nationwide dealership network. It also can ship vehicles to operators anywhere in the U.S.
In an interview before the California announcement, Cunningham and Hartz told LCT that the simplicity of having sales, delivery, service and parts in one nationwide shop can help operators handle all the questions and decisions surrounding fleet acquisitions in the wake of the Lincoln Town Car Executive L sedan retiring last year.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty out there,” Cunningham said. “I still get calls from operators every day who don’t know what to do.”
Cunningham and Hartz advise operators to take their time to get educated on the vehicle options, ask many questions, and compare and test drive the vehicles, especially the MKT, 300 and XTS models.
“We have to slow the buying process down and make the customers feel comfortable in one of the most uncertain times this industry has ever faced,” Cunningham said.
So far, initial sales figures and trends of the MKT, 300 and XTS are not showing a clear leader, as operators’ fleet brand loyalties and preferences are shifting and reforming throughout the chauffeured transportation industry. Most operators are still on the sidelines, considering the different vehicle choices, consulting each other on their opinions, and weighing the pros and cons of each vehicle in terms of price, image, legroom, interior amenities, and fuel economy.
Hartz said he has observed that many consumers overall are accepting luxury vehicles that are built on slightly smaller platforms that weigh less and offer front-wheel drive and higher gas mileage — all spurred by stricter federal fuel economy standards.
“Our job is to work with the industry and help them see where their consumers are already,” Hartz said. “They just want a clean, reliable, fair-priced vehicle with a suitable driver.”
Limousine operators worldwide will get their best opportunity to view and sample all of the network’s vehicles at the 2013 International LCT Show at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Feb. 5-7, 2013, where Acton and SoCal Penske are planning major vehicle exhibits of the MKT, 300 and XTS, and multiple SUV models on the trade show floor.
More information: Bill Cunningham, Acton Fleet Sales, (888) 384-2841; Phillip M. Hartz, SoCal Penske, (310) 697-1800
LCT related article: Limo Vehicle Sellers Put On A Big Showcase
— Martin Romjue, LCT editor
Related Topics: Acton SoCal Penske Professional Vehicles, Bill Cunningham, business deals, Cadillac, Cadillac XTS, Chrysler, Chrysler 300, Coleman Hoyt, dealerships, Greater California Livery Association, Greg Maddock, Lincoln MKT, Phillip Hartz
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