Vehicles

First Class Customs Inc. Starts Production Of Luxury Sprinters

Posted on July 10, 2013
Owner and CEO Jay Glick recently incorporated First Class Customs Inc. so he could bring the perspectives of an experienced operator and vehicle dealer to the manufacturing of high-end Sprinter vans and limo buses.

Owner and CEO Jay Glick recently incorporated First Class Customs Inc. so he could bring the perspectives of an experienced operator and vehicle dealer to the manufacturing of high-end Sprinter vans and limo buses.

Owner and CEO Jay Glick recently incorporated First Class Customs Inc. so he could bring the perspectives of an experienced operator and vehicle dealer to the manufacturing of high-end Sprinter vans and limo buses.
Owner and CEO Jay Glick recently incorporated First Class Customs Inc. so he could bring the perspectives of an experienced operator and vehicle dealer to the manufacturing of high-end Sprinter vans and limo buses.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — First Class Customs Inc. began producing and selling Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans and custom SUVs in Springfield this month as it eyes launching a line of elite limo buses.

First Class Customs owner and CEO Jay Glick recently incorporated First Class Customs Inc. after buying all assets of the former First Class Coachworks — which he co-owned with Mark Sebast of Don Brown Bus Sales. Glick and Sebast started First Class Coachworks in June 2012 to make limo buses and vans they could sell direct from the factory. Glick told LCT that the transition resulted from an amicable “gentlemen’s” agreement since both partners wanted to pursue different business interests and goals.

For Glick, being the sole owner and CEO of the new First Class Customs culminates a 14-year career as owner of LimosDirect.com, a leading reseller of chauffeured vehicles worldwide, and owner of First Class Limousine, a 25-vehicle limo operation geared toward the weddings, proms and retail markets. Both companies are based in Englishtown, N.J. Glick, an accountant by trade, will phase out LimosDirect.com but keep First Class Limousine. He plans to stop reselling limo vehicles to focus on vehicle development. The LimosDirect.com website eventually will redirect visitors to FirstClassCustomsInc.com, which will go live soon.

“I’ll be bringing an operator’s perspective to the development process,” Glick said. “I’ve worn every hat there is in this industry.” As a reseller of chauffeured vehicles to clients worldwide, Glick became intimately familiar with all the major limo bus, van, SUV and stretch models, including those from major manufacturers such as Krystal, Tiffany, Da Bryan and ECB, to name a few.

“I’m now taking the experience of refurbishing vehicles to sell all over the world and now focusing my expertise on designing and building new products that are not only good looking but will be durable, operator-friendly and serviceable,” Glick said.

First Class Customs Inc. now makes two key product lines, and plans to start two more. The models include enhanced interior designs and materials used in First Class Coachworks models. Glick is focusing on quality, not volume, by using premium materials, parts and amenities for vehicles that appeal to an elite, boutique level buyer.

The two current product lines include:

  • Five types of Mercedes-Benz Sprinters with varying floor plans and configurations: A VIP shuttle model, a limo bus perimeter seating model, a combination VIP/limo bus model, a Business Class model, and a set of personalized, corporate style Sprinter models that can serve as mobile offices. First Class is seeking official Sprinter upfitter certification from Mercedes-Benz.
  • Custom-interior, high-end corporate SUVs, such as Cadillac Escalades and a Lincoln Navigators, made for a corporate and celebrity VIP clientele seeking personalized outfitted luxury SUVs.

In the works are two vehicle groups that will complement and capitalize on First Class’ core product lines:

  • Once First Class gets its Sprinter certification, it plans to develop an exclusive line of Sprinters to be sold only through a select network of Mercedes-Benz dealerships that will be preferred partners. The unique models will be based on variations of the aforementioned Sprinter styles and include distinct trim levels.
  • Glick is pursuing a bus manufacturer and dealer network to supply shells for a new line of First Class limousine buses to start production sometime this fall. He plans to focus on safety, with solid bracketing for limo bus perimeter seating that will include seatbelts and signage that asks patrons to sit [voluntarily] while the bus is moving. “We plan to meet and exceed safety requirements,” Glick said. “You will not see stripper poles or dance poles in our buses.”
Jerry Dutcher (L), previously with Executive Coach Builders in Springfield, Mo., recently joined First Class Customs Inc. as sales manager, where he will work with owner and CEO Jay Glick (R).
Jerry Dutcher (L), previously with Executive Coach Builders in Springfield, Mo., recently joined First Class Customs Inc. as sales manager, where he will work with owner and CEO Jay Glick (R).

To ensure quality manufacturing, Glick has hired a team of experienced limousine craftsmen who have worked for such major brands as ECB, DaBryan Coach Builders and Springfield Coach. He also has hired Jerry Dutcher, previously with ECB, as the First Class sales manager. The company, which occupies 30,000 square feet of production and office space in two buildings, so far has 18 employees and aims to start out with an average production level of about eight Sprinter vans per month.

First Class occupies the former factory home of Springfield Limousine, a coachbuilder once owned by the late John Bumgarner (1944-2009). Before Springfield Coach, Bumgarner founded Springfield-based Executive Coach Builders in 1976, now the largest limousine maker in the world and the inheritor of the stagecoach and limousine legacy that defined southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas as the limousine making capital. [ECB has been owned by David Bakare since 1993].

First Class Customs Inc. joins ECB and Imperial/Limoland.com Coach Builders as the three leading limousine vehicle makers in Springfield, Mo., a small Midwestern city at the center of the continent once home to dozens of large and small limousine manufacturers. In the last decade, the forces of consolidation, competition, growing use of luxury minibuses and vans, and the Great Recession combined to reshape and splinter the traditional U.S. limousine manufacturing sector.

— Martin Romjue, LCT editor

Related Topics: custom coachbuilders, don brown bus sales, executive vans, First Class Customs, Jay Glick, limo buses, limousine manufacturing, luxury vans, Springfield, Sprinter, SUV

Comments ( 2 )
  • Joe Cole

     | about 2 years ago

    Lets face it - one of the most important facets of planning your wedding (although there are many) is the limousine choice - A wedding is one of the most special day in peoples lives. It is important to be picked up and transported in style in the perfect limousine of your choice to your wedding destination. From the moment you step inside this <a href="http://www.bronx-limo.com/">luxurious car</a> you will be whisked away and in style to the reception delivered safe and sound.

  • See all comments
More Stories