CIGI Reports Record First Quarter Financial Results

Coach Industries Group, Inc. (CIGI) which offers financial services, manufactures limousines and speciality vehicles to commercial fleet operators has announced record turnover figures for the first quarter of 2005. The company which is the holding company for Springfield Coach Builders, generated $58.1 million which relates to an increase of 1283% from the same period in 2004. This reflects the successful consolidation and integration of four acquisitions last year which made profits increase to $1.8 million from $900,000 a year ago. Francis O’Donnell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coach commented: “Coach had an excellent first quarter financially, while still operationally absorbing the acquisitions and growth initiatives of 2004. CIGI continues to successfully make headway in our strategic initiative to provide fleet operators with vehicles, vehicle financing and various financial services. We believe that our profitability will continue to improve each quarter of 2005.” Management expects revenue to increase by 250% to $290 million and EBITDA to reach $2.9 million in 2005. Although management anticipates profitability, there can be no assurances that the Company will achieve profitability in fiscal 2005. This guidance anticipates continued improvement in the profitability from the Company’s financial services division, while including consideration for planned increased investment in marketing as well as increased infrastructure to support the Company’s anticipated...

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Dampers put on fire engine limo

A Strathclyde limousine hire company claims that charges brought against him for operating without a licence are ‘ridiculous’. Paul Gibson, 33 from The Crazy Fire Company believes that the police are trying to force his company off the road as he now faces a criminal charge for operating his business which supplies novelty limos for hire. Officers stopped one of the Crazy Fire Company engines while a group of kids were enjoying a party on board and quizzed the driver. A few days later, the police visited the company’s offices and informed Mr Gibson he would be the subject of a report to the Procurator Fiscal. Paul claims that he approached council chiefs more than two years ago when he was starting his business and was apparently told that he did not need to have a special licence to operate his fire engine. Mr Gibson insists his company is being used as a ‘guinea pig’ by police in a bid to crack down on illegal limousines. The 33 year-old businessman said, “There are a number of companies in the Strathclyde area which operate novelty limousines and I believe we are being used as a test case in the hope that local authorities then tighten up their regulations.” “I checked with Renfrewshire Council before the Crazy Fire Company was launched and I was told they didn’t licence the type of vehicles I would be operating.” He added, “Now, the police have informed me that I face court action for operating a fire engine for hire and reward with a view to profit without being licensed as a private hire vehicle.” “If I have to obtain a licence, then I’m happy to do that, but I feel like I’m being punished even though I approached the council and was told a licence wasn’t necessary.” The company now operates four fire engine limos and can also cater for parties in a converted American ambulance. Paul now fears that all of his vehicles may be forced off the road, but continues to hire out the limousines. He said, “I really don’t know how all this is going to pan out, but I fear that eventually the business will have to close down.” Since the charges were made, Strathclyde Police has written to all the local authorities in the area giving them four months, which ends in August, to make sure there is a system in place to get all limousines and drivers licensed. In a copy of the letter which has been leaked to The Chauffeur magazine, it suggests labelling limousines as ‘special event private hire cars’ which will put them in a...

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Operator given green light to attempt Hummer COIF test

A Hummer H2 built by Coastal Coachworks could be the first H2 in the country to obtain a Certificate of Initial Fitness according to an East Sussex company which has been given the go-ahead to bring the vehicle up to standard. A Touch of Class Limousines in Eastbourne recently attended a hearing in the town where it was offered an Operators Licence to up to 16 passengers in the Hummer if a strict list of guidelines were met. If the vehicle was to be hired out to more than 8 passengers, the company must have the vehicle inspected every ten weeks, charge separate fares and carry evidence of that on board, but the most challenging of all is that the limousine must obtain a COIF. Owner, Dex Marshall said, “I have been given a list of items which would need to be rectified on the Hummer which should then help it pass the test. I have ordered parts from America which will hopefully be fitted over the coming weeks.” There are many regulations in place which could prove difficult for the stretched Hummer which include strict testing on brakes, noise, emissions, lighting and other issues inside the vehicle relating to seat belts and emergency exits. With the prom season at its height, the ‘8 or more’ passengers issue seems to be at the top of every local authorities agenda. More checks than ever are being reported from around the country as limousines arrive at the prom venues, so if Mr. Marshall succeeds in getting the Hummer through the COIF, it could be a sigh of relief for many throughout the...

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Long-wheelbase Chrysler 300C announced

Just when we thought the Chrysler 300 couldn’t get any better, along comes a long-wheel base project car which was unveiled at the Las Vegas Limo Show. This exciting, potential addition, to the industry’s hottest selling and most talked about new vehicle line is specifically targeted for those retail customers who desire greater interior room as well as for the professional driver in the chauffeuring business. Although the standard Chrysler 300 features a spacious interior, the 300 longer wheelbase project vehicle built by Accubuilt Inc, is a niche model designed to offer a full six inches of extra, rear seat leg room for the most demanding customers. The vehicle also features a rear seat folding down writing table with power ports and single or twin video monitors with an integral DVD player mounted in the front seat  headrests all as available options. Accubuilts master designers in conjunction with QualityMetalcraft were able to accomplish the increased size while maintaining the purity and integrity of the award winning design. This was achieved by replacing the rear doors. The company’s aim was to gather the thoughts and opinions of the chauffeuring industry who were visiting the show. Survey forms were given out to those showing an interest in the project...

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The making of the Joker Hummer H2 Limousine

Just three  days before the Las Vegas limo show, I arrived in California to see the making of what was planned to be the star of the show. The pressure was on, and with ten men working on the limo, was it going to be ready on time? I knew that Moonlight Industries was no ordinary coachbuilders, following the ‘Super Crewzer’ F650 at last year’s Vegas show and the ‘Casino’ Hummer at the Atlantic City event. It was obvious that Dave and Leslie  McPhail, the owners of the business had a mission, and that was to build the most beautiful and exotic limousines the world has ever seen. Dave’s attention to detail has to be seen to be believed, for example he spent several hours making a small concealment tray only to rip it out and start again, as he felt he could do better! He even drove 80 miles the night before the show to get a couple of metal decals he felt were necessary to complete the finish. It’s this kind of dedication that sets Moonlight apart from other limousine builders. I was obviously keen when I was invited to sunny California to see the preparations of the latest stunner. The ‘Joker’ which is a more developed version of the ‘Casino’ Hummer was in production and was planned to be shipped to the UK straight after the Vegas Show. The independent coachbuilders, Moonlight Industries got its name from when the team were working throughout the night to achieve its goals – and this is something I was about to witness during the making of the Joker Hummer. Always thinking outside the box, Dave showed me the developments made to this amazing limousine. The unique Gull  Wing side door is the first of its kind in the world, hand built by Dave, he specifically converted  this door to open on the left side for the UK market.   No other Hummer has this style of door opening. The outside looked far more impressive than before, as thousands of pounds of chrome extras were added to the exterior.  Billet chrome door handles, rear light mountings, wing mirror covers, bonnet grille, huge chrome wheels and lots more gave the Joker the real ‘bling’ factor. Probably the most stunning feature on this Hummer is the amazing paint job which has also been developed especially for the show car. Three days were spent painting flames down the side of the 170 inch Hummer which incorporates a detailed and exclusive image of the Joker. A specialist artist  ‘John Harris’ who  is  known for painting  bespoke custom motorcycles was assigned to take on the project....

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The vital questions for a new limo hire business

The limousine industry in the UK is growing quicker than we ever imagined, so it is easy to think that by starting a limousine hire business you will see the cash come rolling in… But have you thought of all the questions that could mean the success or failure of your new business? Paul Miles from LCW Limo answers a few issues that you may not have already thought about… What is the best limo to buy? In my opinion, the single most important thing to do is buy the best car you can afford. Many fall foul of buying a limo because it’s glitzy or looks great.  It’s far better to buy the most immaculate genuine limo, than an older less authentic vehicle. I spoke with Terry from www.magiclimos.co.uk recently who jumped at the first 1st Wave he saw. Great looking vehicle, but within a few months the engine blew, leaving Terry with a nasty engine bill totalling many thousands. Most of your customers won’t know a long term vehicle. Reliability is a key word, it’s no good having the best looking limo in the area, if it’s covered 250,000 miles and could let you down. Any limo can be made to look glitzy, mirrored ceilings, smoke machines, glitter bars can all be added, so buy wise and get the most genuine, even if it looks less like a Vegas casino, it’s the most valuable asset to your business. Ask any newbie who’s had breakdown problems, if it’s not running, it’s now earning! If money is no object then buy new! How much should I spend? Cost is always a major factor. The USA dollar rates are at the lowest for years and we are very lucky that our UK Pound is so strong. I believe buying as new as possible. With so much competition out there and with hundreds of new operators touting for work, the newer limos will always find work easier. Average price I would start looking at is £25,000 upwards. Is New or Used best? Depending on your market place I believe new is best, however if you’re  looking at airport runs and stag parties as a major factor in your business, used will probably be a better option. How much for insurance? Insurance is a lottery! Some look cheap but charge for every little extra, additional drivers, paperwork changes etc. I personally use GMI and Direct Chauffeur Line who both have given me a good service, and both seem to understand our market well. Be prepared to spend £1200 – £2000 for a town car, and up to £6000 for the more exotic...

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