When people think of limousine service, images of the traditional 120-inch, ten passenger, lo-o-o-ong limousine likely comes to mind. But today, the go-to vehicle for class, luxury, and convenience, according the court of public opinion depends on group size and personal preference.
Top celebrities from Howie Mandel to Jay-Z travelling with their entourage often prefer the discriminating, luxury of the Cadillac Escalade. Wouldn’t you think a top celeb would want to make a grand appearance, arriving in a long stretch? One top movie star transported by Emerald Luxury Transportation (who must remain anonymous, due to policy) said, “Unless it’s a red carpet arrival, I prefer to get where I am going without setting off any alarms. . .something impressive, but discreet.” Others looking for a touch of class and convenience simply request an SUV for their car service, with no specifications on what type.
So, what’s so grand about a limousine? Has the limousine been relegated to the local funeral home’s large family funeral cortege? Not yet.
Monica Anderson called Emerald Luxury Transportation to reserve transportation from her wedding reception, “Even though I wanted the traditional elegance of the limousine, I opted to use the SUV—a Cadillac Escalade. I chose the black on black one. Its presentation was still luxurious and offered me a more economical option for my wedding budget.
For those looking for a larger capacity luxury vehicle, the Sprinter limousine turns out to be the jack-of-all-trades. This vehicle is a large capacity limousine. But, don’t think “van.” It is more like an SUV, RV, and a party bus all rolled into one, with the luxury amenities of a stretch. The Lincoln Towncar Stretch is no longer in production. It ended its thirty year run back in 2011.
Danny Yoder has been a salesman for dealers in the van, bus, and RV industry for over 40 years, in end user vehicle sales. He now sells custom built Sprinters to end users as a sales rep for Battisti Customs. “I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. The stretch will never go away. But it used to be at shows (The National Limo Association Convention events) you would see 80/20 stretches versus Sprinters. Now it’s about 60/40 and sometimes 70/30, Sprinters versus Stretches.Things have changed.” Yoder continues, “When you get the same amenities in a Sprinter as you get in a stretch and have the same ambiance that you have in a stretch, why be uncomfortable when you can stand up and walk around in the same luxury interior as a limo? You get the same amenities inside without being scrunched and having to crawl on your hands and knees to get a drink.”
Adds Yoder, “I have ridden in many they’re nice. There will always be the white Rolls Royce or the limo for weddings and red carpet events. Nicholas Cage likes the stretch. But for many venues that are out there from wine tours to weddings to bachelorette parties to golf outings in groups of 10 to 12, the Sprinter is the route to go. It’s practical.”
Sprinter limousines have even gone Hollywood. A Mercedes Benz Sprinter was used on the reality series “American Pickers” (History Channel) by Mike and Frank. When American rapper/actor T.I needs to move his family he enlists the help of his custom built Sprinter. The reality series, Jon & Kate Plus 8 also used a custom-built Sprinter to haul around the 10-member Gosselin family. But the Sprinters market is not yet bound to replace the mini van or the station wagon among families. Its market is primarily for business use.
But, let’s be honest. This writer was not immediately impressed with the narrow bodied exterior of the four-wheeled bots. But the “ah-hah” moment came once we stepped on board the trendy, four wheeled wonder. If you did not know what the exterior looked like, you would think you are in a limousine, with RV luxuries. Depending on the custom-modified configuration, Sprinters offer floor plans as varied as customer tastes.
Emerald Luxury Transportation, based in Nashville, Tennessee ordered their custom-built Mercedes Sprinter Limousine (shown below) with business and leisure customers in mind. They included the L-shaped seating configuration. But, we know that not only the business customer but also hard-working families typically want to splurge for special occasions. The Sprinter will offer passengers luxury, convenience, and safety.
“In our first two years, we had to farm-out 50% of our prom/wedding business for larger vehicle requests.” The largest option we offered was the Cadillac Escalade,” said Joseph Bishop, owner of Emerald Luxury Transportation.
Edward Coleman, owner of Emerald Luxury Transportation, adds, “Our new Sprinter limousine purchase is a sign of growth. I believe it will be our top revenue generating resource for more than just formal occasions.” He continued, “The potential is unlimited with what we can offer with adding the Sprinter to further diversify our fleet.”
“We were told at the National Limousine Conference two years ago, from experienced limo operators that their limousines were catching dust and that the Towncar was the money maker,” said Bishop. “Now, I know the Towncar is the most requested vehicle for business airport transfers; but, the large groups typically want a Stretch or a Sprinter.”
According to an American Express survey, luxury travel among families is up and growing triple the rate of other leisure travel segments. Operators with diversified fleets of specialty vehicles, SUVs and other family-friendly transfer options are well-suited to marketing to this sector of travelers.” (Limousine Digest, January, 2008)
It has been 10 years since the first-generation Sprinter was launched in Europe to replace the Mercedes van. Then in 2001, the first generation (VA Chassis) Sprinter was launched in the United States. Today, more than 2,200,000 Sprinters are on the road worldwide.
If you would like to have an “ah-hah” moment in a Mercedes Sprinter Limousine, and experience it for yourself, call today to check availability for your group: 615-678-4695 or book online at https://www.nashvilleairportlimo.com/
— Sherre Miller Bishop is a freelance writer, based in Nashville, Tennessee. She has been a contributing writer and editor for R.H. Boyd Publishing Company and other entities, and travels often for her business in ministry entertainment.