Vehicles

Lincoln Continental Hits West Coast, Livery Style

Martin Romjue
Posted on September 16, 2016

Ron Stein (L) and Brandan Stein (R) of Exclusive Sedan Service in North Hollywood take delivery of their first 2017 Lincoln Continental livery sedan Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 from livery sales manager Vinnie De La Pena of Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale, Calif. (photo by Martin Romjue/LCT)
Ron Stein (L) and Brandan Stein (R) of Exclusive Sedan Service in North Hollywood take delivery of their first 2017 Lincoln Continental livery sedan Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 from livery sales manager Vinnie De La Pena of Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale, Calif. (photo by Martin Romjue/LCT)
GLENDALE, Calif. --- Not since the old Lincoln Town Car sedan has a livery vehicle caused so much of an industry stir. From social media activity, to a packed March debut at the LCT show, to a stream of pre-orders, operators are excited about the new sedan rolling into limousine fleets.

That was apparent Thursday when operators Ron Stein and Brandan Stein picked up their first black-on-black livery 2017 Lincoln-Continental at Star Ford Lincoln in Glendale. The father-son owners of Exclusive Sedan Service in North Hollywood plan to eventually buy a total of 20 Continentals to replace their 2014 and 2015 model year Lincoln MKS sedans.

Their first Continental officially enters fleet service Sunday, Sept. 18 when it chauffeurs a high-profile client to the annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

“I have wanted this car since I saw it as a concept car three years ago,” Ron Stein told LCT.

This is Lincoln’s fourth iteration of the Continental, which fondly evokes the 1960s era of luxury vehicle elegance and grace.

The 2017 version embodies a practical, nostalgic and high-tech appeal that appears to be satisfying a deep desire among operators for a classy, upscale, distinct sedan, following the retirement of the longtime livery workhorse, the Lincoln Town Car L sedan in 2011. While the Continental is not as long or wide as the old Town Car, its dual rear seats are designed captain style with a wide center console armrest that provides access to all the electronic and climate control wizardry of a 21st Century sedan.

"The market is changing, as we all know, and the competition on every level is increasing," Brandan Stein said.  "Exclusive Sedan is a premium service provider that has built its business and reputation on premium services in premium vehicles. We believe that the Lincoln Continental is the hallmark of a premium/luxury vehicle, and will be crucial in differentiating what we do from the rank and file. We are thrilled with the way the car handles but more importantly, the experience in the backseat is quite exceptional."  

Brandan got to drive it for the first time off the Star lot to a nearby restaurant after he and Ron signed the final paperwork with livery sales manager Vinnie De La Pena. Within minutes of the Steins’ Thursday delivery posted on Facebook, De La Pena was answering calls and texts on his smartphone from inquiring operators.

Among the challenges of the new Lincoln is its price tag of around $48,000. While well below the cost of premium luxury sedans like the BMW 7 series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it still falls about $10,000 above the old Lincoln Town Cars. Operators will have to balance its unique, desirable presence with higher overhead and downward pricing pressures in ground transportation when setting rates for the vehicle.

At the least, the Continental reinvigorates the chauffeured fleet market with a viable, attractive luxury sedan unlikely to be found among the ranks of the cheaper morass of TNC vehicles, and helps preserve the chauffeured sector’s image of elite transportation based on VIP quality service.

The Steins’ delivery comes just days after the first official livery delivery in the U.S. to operator Jeff Greene of Greene Classic Limousines Worldwide in Atlanta. Limo operators in other cities also picked up Lincoln Continental livery versions on Sept. 15 in their respective cities, including Tim Rose, owner and CEO of Flyte Tyme Worldwide in Mahwah, N.J.; Harry Dhillon, owner of Ecko Transportation Worldwide in San Jose, Calif.; and Wilshire Limousine Services in New York City.

More Continental Events

On the West Coast, the inaugural period of the Lincoln-Continental continues Tuesday, Oct. 18 when Steve Wood, livery sales manager at South Bay Ford Lincoln in Hawthorne, Calif., hosts a "Lincoln-Continental Preview Night" ride-and-drive dinner event with the Greater California Livery Association at his dealership. DETAILS HERE

On the East Coast, the sedan will be on display Nov. 13-15 on the trade show floor at the Lincoln Limousine & Livery Vehicles exhibit during LCT-NLA Show East at Harrah’s Atlantic City.

Related Topics: California operators, dealerships, Fleet Vehicles, LCT-NLA Show East, Lincoln Limousine & Livery Vehicles, Lincoln-Continental, new sedans, new vehicles, Ron Stein

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • James Pappas

     | about 3 years ago

    I don't think I've been as disappointed in a long time as I was at the LCT show. I flew out and paid a full day's fee to get 2.5 hours to see the Continental and CT6. The CT6 was impressive. I got to sit in it, take all sorts of pictures and get info from Cadillac reps. The Continental? WASTE OF MY TIME. I got the EXACT SAME view at the Boston auto show in January, which is FAR from the more premiere shows in the country. Without all the unnecessary pomp and fanfare in Vegas. I was under the impression we'd all get to touch, sit and fiddle with it. But, Ford does a great job taking an underwhelming car and dolling it up to appease the masses. But a stretched Fusion with questionable headroom and a fraction of the trunk room the Town Car or even the MKS had is disappointing. Granted, the industry has been in massive flux since the death of the Town Car. And the ideas individual livery owners have had for what is acceptable and not acceptable for proper vehicles are inconsistent and often laughable.

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