Luxury Coach & Transportation

January 2014

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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First Class Customs Inc. founder and CEO Jay Glick (R) takes the hands-on approach of a boutique builder, making sure each Sprinter van is built to spec and giving his cell phone number to each client. and Bluetooh controls. First Class Customs is pursuing its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter upftter certifcation, a process that can take up to two years, but it already has the backing of top Sprinter dealers in the U.S. It also offers its Sprinter models through an exclusive dealer network that so far includes Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland. Otherwise, clients simply buy the Sprinters direct from the factory. Such a sales strategy enables Glick to cut out the costly middleman vehicle dealer, and helps him run a more effcient business, offer lower prices and ensure a reasonable proft. "By keeping everything in house all the money is under one roof and can be reinvested back into the business for long term stability and growth for staff and our customers," Glick says. "Factory-direct is a more viable business model." Among the most notable attributes of First Class Sprinters are factory-installed egress doors and escape hatches that comply with varying fre safety rules in different states, especially in California where new limousine vehicle-related safe- ty legislation went into effect this month. Adjusting Course Some of the biggest challenges Glick has faced since starting his company in June involved developing direct sales, marketing, production, and administrative infrastructure on location. ••••• SALES/MARKETING: Glick had to launch a new marketing program and strategy from scratch, and rebrand as a standalone company untethered to any others, with its own product line. "We started from nothing and ramped up immediately, right out of the gate," he says. ••••• PRODUCTION: First Class had to create a new production fow and specs to accommodate changes in the Sprinter body style from 2013 to 2014. That meant timing vehicle production so as not to build or sell too many 2013 MY versions before MY2014 came out. An additional challenge is ordering base chassis units which need to be done up to four months in advance in order to predict client demand for certain mod- els. Sprinters are offered in a variety of GVWR (gross vehicle weight ratio) and mechanical options. ••••• INFRASTRUCTURE: The demand for 2014 Sprinter versions in the latter part of 2013 prompted Glick to hire staff members who had been with his previous partnered company. First Class workers are experienced craftsmen familiar with the intense detail required of high-end luxury commercial vehicles. Glick also hired Jerry Dutcher, previously with Executive Coach Builders, as sales manager. ECB, the largest stretch limousine manufacturer in the world, also is based in Springfeld. One of Glick's other businesses,, once a leading reseller of chauffeured vehicles, is being redone to serve as a portal for First Class Customs. Set to offcially launch at the 2014 International LCT Show next month, now will focus only on selling pre-owned vehicles being taken as trade-ins for new First Class Customs vehicles. LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR JANUARY 2014 19

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