Believe it or not the first actual stretch limousine was created over eighty years ago in Arkansas, USA in 1928. These early stretch limousines were often referred to as “big band buses” because they were mainly used to transport famous big band leaders, their orchestras and their instruments to various parts of the United States. Then in the 1930’s limousines really started to take off. Limo companies started springing up all over the place to transport guests of hotels from the airport to the hotel and also on different sightseeing tours. After seeing the growing popularity of these limousines the movie industry soon caught the bug where they used limo companies to carry film crew and stage personnel around movie sets. But, more importantly, stretch limousines became an absolute "must" for the top movie actors and actresses where they had to be seen to arrive in stretch limousines. This clearly created the glamorous image that limo companies and their stretch limos retain to this very day.
These days stretch limos are big business, particularly in the UK and USA. You only have to look around our cities at weekends to see how many limos there are cruising around. Have you ever watched the film awards in America ? There must be about a thousand limos at some of those events. This has led to the birth of all sorts of different limo companies over the years who cater for this spectacular market.
Firstly there are the limo companies that actually design and build the stretch limos in the first place. These are known as coachbuilders and are predominantly based in the USA. The biggest limo companies in this category include Coastal of California, Executive Coach of Missouri, Federal Coach of Arkansas, Krystal of California, LCW Automotive of Texas, Royale of Massachusetts and Springfield of Missouri.
Then there are the limo companies that provide the limos for hire. These have evolved into all sorts of set ups from the one man band with a single limo to the giants who run fleets into double figures, boasting brand new vehicles such as the Baby Bentley Chrysler 300 limos and the bigger Hummer limos. Bearing in mind new limos cost between £60,000 and £120,000 that's quite an achievement. This in itself goes a long way to explain the differential in limo hire prices where the small limo companies can offer cheaper limo hire than the bigger limo companies. For example they can keep costs down on premises and staffing by working from home and driving themselves, and financing older limos that are between five and ten years old.
And limo companies have evolved in order to cater for everything else that a thriving limo industry demands. For example there's a niche market for limo maintenance throughout the land where limo companies have specialized in servicing and body repairs, and there are limo companies that specialize in the importation and supply of limo parts and accessories, tyres and even engines. Limo marketing companies have grown too and it's their job to help drive the demand for limo hire and provide increased enquiries and work, particularly for the smaller operators who don't always have the resources to do that.
So the ongoing thirst of a nation for stretch limousines and all the excitement that goes with them has led to a sizeable industry which incorporates all differerent types of limo companies employing many thousands of people, in the UK as well as the USA. This is all down to the fun and laughter that stretch limousines can bring to our lives. Long may these great street machines and the limo companies that provide them continue.
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