Monday, January 21, 2019

BY MADELEINE MACCAR

CD 1214 Panama Luxury LimousinePanama Luxury Limousine’s Founder and Consulting Partner Patrick O’Brien (left) and President Joe Luttrell at the Trump Ocean ClubIn 2008, when the world economy was plummeting and the central American country of Panama hadn’t yet found its footing as a travel destination beyond its canal, Patrick O’Brien had just sold a tourism company and bought property in the Latin American country that he anticipated was on its way to becoming an in-demand locale.

“It was a crazy idea—who thinks to start up a transportation company in Panama?” O’Brien says. Panama is an interesting juxtaposition of a modern, beautiful cityscape with natural, pristine jungles just miles outside city limits. “There was little tourism infrastructure at the time but I thought Panama had amazing potential for it.”

BY SUSAN ROSE

CD 1214 Mobility Ventures MV-1MV-1s being produced in the Indiana assembly plantWith all of the luxurious vehicles and purposeful products that are developed specifically for the industry, it’s rare to find something so original that it requires a deeper look. The MV-1 is truly one of those vehicles that combines function with many thoughtful touches showing the manufacturer’s thorough understanding of the accessibility market.

MV-1, which stands for the first mobility vehicle off an assembly line, debuted a few years ago. After an ambitious start with its original manufacturers, Vehicle Production Group (VPG), the ailing production was picked up by AM General Company, which has been around for more than a century. The reintroduction of the brand couldn’t be timelier: With an aging population and medical transportation slowly growing as a specialty niche in chauffeured transportation, options for accessible vehicles have been limited. A fresh infusion of marketing capital made sure AM General hit the ground running at the beginning of 2014 to bring industry awareness to this unique mobility vehicle. In addition to numerous local and international mobility shows, MV-1 was most recently at the 2014 Chauffeur Driven Show where it was the only vehicle of its kind on the floor.

BY SUSAN ROSE

CD 1214 Show Review Atlantic CityIt was a fitting farewell to the Trump Taj Mahal this past November as we arrived for the final Chauffeur Driven Show to be held in the New Jersey shore town—next October, the show debuts in Miami Beach. With nearly 100 exhibitors, dozens of sponsors, and over 1,700 attendees from all around the world, the show was the shot of adrenaline that the industry needed to continue the strong growth streak we’ve been experiencing for the past few years. A special thank you to our Title Sponsors, The Lincoln Motor Company and Don Brown Bus Sales.

CD 1114 Grech MotorsGrech Motors’ Owner Ed Grech (left) with VP of Sales and Marketing AJ Thurber at the Calif. sales officeEd Grech’s enduring legacy as one of the industry’s premier builders is already well known to operators‚ so focusing Grech Motors’ manufacturing process on luxury shuttle buses in 2012 was a natural evolution for the longtime builder. Shuttle buses are some of the most popular fleet additions‚ and operators have praised Grech Motors’ products for versatility and progressive design.

“We build our buses with the highest-quality materials and offer more standard features than any other builder‚ producing vehicles with unparalleled fit and finish. We back up our products with the industry’s best warranty and after-sale support‚” says Grech‚ owner and founder of Grech Motors.

When we last caught up with Grech‚ the Riverside‚ Calif.-based company was doing an impressive amount of business. Two-and-a-half years later‚ the builder is having its best year thus far‚ with new staff members‚ products‚ and a popular marketing campaign.