Luxury Coach & Transportation

February 2014

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR FEBRUARY 2014 31 strong mechanical support. It's a quality that spans Don Brown and Grech Motors. "If you want to be just one of the folks in the industry, you have plenty of choic- es and you can f nd a mediocre way to work within the industry," Thurber says. "If you want to stand out, lead, or be the innovator, there are very few willing to walk that road, and you have to earn the position in the f eld. We have had a unique relationship with Grech Motors, an indisputable top-shelf, leading edge, and innovative manufacturer dedicated to this industry. Don Brown Bus Sales holds this honor in high regard and plans to build upon it in the years to come." egant design and style, the best f t and f n- ish comes from using the highest quality materials such as aircraft grade aluminum and a fully welded steel tube roll cage as the foundation of our build process." Safety First With vehicle safety and compliance gain- ing attention throughout the chauffeured transportation industry, Grech Motors is taking the twofold approach of applying the latest safety standards to their build processes while making sure clients un- derstand safety rules and the documents needed to comply with all federal regula- tions. Grech Motors makes sure all of its buses are 50-state Department of Trans- portation (DOT) compliant with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Every operator needs to be aware of all current and pending bus regulations to make sure the vehicles they purchase are in sync with safety regulations. For example, the National Highway Traff c Safety adminis- tration (NHTSA) ruling for certain buses will be required to have three-point seat belts beginning in November 2016. Aware of the upcoming mandate, Grech Motors already has immediate delivery available of various stock units with three-point seat belts. Green Conscious As demand rises among corporate cli- ents for fuel-eff cient, environmentally friendly vehicles, Grech Motors is im- plementing new vehicle engergy tech- nologies, such as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses. Gary Bauer of Bau- er's Intelligent Transportation in San Francisco recently added 10 new Grech CNG buses to his f eet. Such new green buses not only emit lower emissions, but save on fuel consumption, thereby cutting operating costs. Chassis manu- facturers such as Ford and Freightliner now offer CNG chassis direct from the factory that makes it easier and cost- effective to perform third-party CNG conversions. Industry Trends Amid shifts in the bus vehicle market and changing client preferences, Grech Motors has worked to meet demand for mixed-use buses that offer operators limo-style buses that can be used for retail operations on weekends and for corporate shuttles dur- ing the week. The Grech Corporate Limo Shuttle meets that one-two combination to help operators maximize their f eet usage, ROI and bottom lines. Noting the more than three decades Ed Grech has developed state-of-the-art limou- sines and buses, Thurber emphasizes the need to closely listen to customers and de- liver the vehicles they need backed up with CREATE NEW REVENUE STREAMS Limo operators who take the initiative to organize tours instead of partnering with tour operators are finding much success. Every area has a tour route. For example, Virginia operators succeed with holiday lights tours, and wine and brewery tours. Paul Rodenberg of Reliable Limousine in Washington, D.C. has had overwhelming interest in the city tours he conducts with his Grech Motors buses. He advertises seats on a tour, with discounts for pairs, and gets a good turnout. EMPHASIZE QUALITY Operators should focus on the quality of the vehicles they're considering. Anything 20 passengers or more requires a different level of maintenance. People who tend to be overly price conscious find in the first year or two they have major maintenance problems. Also, better quality upfront means higher resale value and greater longevity. DON'T EXPECT THE DOT TO WORK ON YOUR SCHEDULE Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance is a necessary requirement. Just getting an appointment for an inspection can be a hassle. DOT regulations vary among states and even among inspectors. Grech Motors buses all are guaranteed to be 50-state DOT compliant. CONSIDER MAINTENANCE CHALLENGES Before deciding which chassis you want your vehicle built on, research what brands are serviceable in your region. Not every area has a service center for every brand of chassis. Not all chassis dealers have the equipment to put a bus on a lift; you'll need an authorized chassis truck service center for that. INSURANCE IS EXPENSIVE Once you move from sedans and stretches to a bus, you're also moving from $1.5 million in coverage to $5 million. However, there are ways to lower those costs by getting insurance discounts, such as by installing GPS or monitoring cameras. Some insurance companies will even buy camera systems for clients. Those cameras become a witness in case of a lawsuit stemming from an accident. If you're in the right, the camera can keep you from getting sucked into drawn out litigation. SURVEY CLIENTS Operators should first thoroughly understand their client demands before purchasing their bus and if they are looking to serve existing customers or attract a new clientele. Arrange to have a demo vehicle in place so clients can size up the vehicle before you purchase. Operators should poll their clients — what options would keep them coming back. Perhaps going an extra mile — and dollar — in terms of exterior design or interior options such as power outlets to charge laptops can help attract that executive market you've been chasing, while still serving current clients. On the other hand, a dual-purpose limo bus may be better suited to your market. Since many standard limo buses sit on the weekends, a corporate limo shuttle mixes corporate and party amenities for a versatile moneymaker. Source: A.J. Thurber, Grech Motors 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. HERE ARE SIX HELPFUL TIPS FOR OPERATORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOPPING FOR AND BUYING A BUS AND ADAPTING IT TO A FLEET. TOP THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN ENTERING THE BUS MARKET ON THE RECORD FOR GRECH "Ed's Style of design is state-of-the-art with the smooth lines and aerodynamic look. Now, with the newly designed header window, you get the full size coach feeling which most of our clients have commented on. It really works and it has allowed us to have the competitive edge on first impres- sions! Grech buses definitely stand out from the rest!" — Joel Amato, Vice President, Gateway Limousines Worldwide, San Francisco "I've known Ed since I bought my first vehicle 24 years ago. I always liked his craftsmanship and the quality of his products, so when we needed some more units, he was the best fit for what we do. We have a lot of high-end clients who expect the state-of-the-art. The Grech buses are built the way we want them." — Gary Bauer, CEO, Bauer's Intelligent Transportation, San Francisco "The quality, fit, and finish all go toward making the Grech Buses the No. 1 vehicle to buy. We are in the hot air during the summer, and the AC and insulation is the best I have seen in 24 years of business. The buses exceeded our expectations. We just started to show them to our corporate clients and they cannot get over how plush and elegant the buses are, inside and out." — Gary Cardiff, Owner, Cardiff Limousine and Transportation L I M O _ 0 2 1 4 g r e c h . i n d d 3 1 LIMO_0214grech.indd 31 1 / 2 1 / 1 4 1 : 1 8 P M 1/21/14 1:18 PM

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