BY ROB SMENTEKComplete Fleet Livery Sales in Union, N.J. is used to seeing vehicle trends come and go, and is now about to see one return. The company, a division of Maplecrest Ford-Lincoln of Union, is not only a major provider to fleets in the New York metropolitan area, but also recognized as one of the country’s top volume dealers of Ford-Lincoln fleet vehicles. The Complete Fleet sales team—President Barry Trabb, Sales Expert Bruce Cirlin, and Finance Specialist Dino Alivares—are enthusiastic about their current inventory as well as bringing a revamped iconic car to their lot.
“Every one of our clients cannot wait for the Continental. It’s going to have a big impact on our industry,” says Trabb. Since this year’s announcement about the Lincoln Continental’s release as a livery vehicle, Trabb says the buzz surrounding the car has been palpable. He feels that the Continental will restore a sense of old-school luxury to the industry that’s been missing for some time.
“Clients are going to start demanding the Continental by name, like they did for the Town Car years ago,” predicts Trabb. “People will again demand to be picked up in a Lincoln product, specifically, the Continental.”
The Continental is not the only Lincoln product generating enthusiasm among the Complete Fleet team. Trabb says that of the 40 to 50 vehicles the company has available on-site, two of the most popular are the MKT Town Car and MKS sedan. And while he admits that the MKT initially took some time to win over operators, it’s become a common sight in many fleets.
“There was some initial resistance to the MKT’s design, and some people had difficulty transitioning from a sedan to a crossover,” he said. “But once people drive the car, or sit in the back seat, they love it.” Trabb feels strongly that the car’s amenities for the rear passenger, which include reclining seats, vanity mirrors, and a vista glass roof, make it particularly attractive to the industry.
Another industry favorite has been the Lincoln MKS. Despite the fact the car is being retired, Complete Fleet remains loyal to the vehicle, and Trabb acknowledges that it is still an in-demand car for the industry.
“Although this is the last model year for the MKS, it is still very popular with a lot of customers. It’s priced right and serves our industry well. It’s sharp-looking and offers a lot of trunk space. We naturally stock the MKS with the livery package, which includes wood trim, adjustable pedals, and navigation.”
While sedans are certainly the foundation of any livery operation, the Complete Fleet team is just as fervent about Ford’s versatile Transit van. The dealer currently offers it in all sizes and configurations.
“We’re very excited about the Ford Transit wagon; it is a great addition to the livery vehicle lineup. The Transit is a huge cost-saver for the operator compared to other brands and since it offers the same ability to seat 14 passengers with luggage, or downsize to seven to 11 passengers,” says Trabb.
In addition to the Transit’s “reasonable price point,” Complete Fleet worked with Ford to offer an extended warranty on the van, which helps sell the vehicle while giving operators some peace of mind that the daily wear and tear won’t hinder their business.
“It’s a nice option to be able to offer our fleet customers. Ford’s Commercial Vehicle Sales & Marketing Team—especially Limo/Livery Manager Craig Hall—has always been very supportive. They take a lot of input from us as to what the operator needs, and one of the things we advocated was the ability to offer a warranty on vehicles. We’ve been instrumental in that livery operators can purchase a warranty that covers up to 1,000 components. It’s a nice option to offer.”
The Complete Fleet team says that Ford has similarly given them the ability to offer extended warranties on the MKT, MKS, and Navigator that include 1,000 components, nearly 10 times the standard manufacturer warranty’s coverage.
Trabb, Cirlin, and Alivares have been in the industry for decades (Trabb was once a chauffeur and an operator), and support it through active local and national association involvement. Trabb has served as a board member for the Limousine Association of New Jersey (LANJ) for four years, and he and Cirlin both sat on the National Limousine Association board in the past.
“We feel it’s important to be involved and give back,” says Trabb. “It’s critical to have your finger on the pulse of the industry and what’s going on with your colleagues. We host a huge auction each year that raises money for LANJ. Over the past 15 years, we’ve raised more than $140,000. We’re extremely proud of this event and look forward to it every year." [CD0416]