Sunday, October 02, 2022

South Hackensack, N.J. — HQ Custom Design, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Preferred Upfitter, was recently given the opportunity to create a concept van exclusively for the German automaker. And when the company delivered its final product, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris, to November’s SEMA Show, the vehicle made quite an impression on the industry.

HQ Custom Design takes an innovative approach to customizing Sprinter Vans and Cadillac Escalades that results in unique, high-quality designs, which got Mercedes-Benz’s attention and helped the manufacturer land this prestigious opportunity.

“Building a concept vehicle is much different from building one for a client,” says Lenny Levin, vice president of engineering and research development. “You are truly able to implement the vision inside your head into a reality and are not bound to the specific customer requests. The fact that we were the only Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Preferred Upfitter who was selected made it even more of an incentive to create something spectacular and innovative.”

Despite its cutting-edge design, the midsize luxury van retains the time-honored beauty of a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, and offers a smattering of modern touches that make it a distinctly appealing retro-classic. Comfort, convenience, and high-tech equipment are all major features of the Metris, the concept of which was designed and created from scratch and without the use of any shelf products—including touch-screen passenger controls that Levin says any passenger will understand how to use almost immediately.

“We have made probably the most convenient and intuitive control panel,” he says.

The two captain chairs, which were custom-built with superior comfort in mind and can recline to a fully supine position, feature double-action leg extensions that are operated by the 7-inch touch-screen control and fixed-control table in the gooseneck. The seats, along with the interior walls, are upholstered in European leather and suede. The vehicle also boasts ambient LED lights and a 55-inch LED TV roof panel, a 48-inch curved 4K TV installed in the front partition, audiophile surround sound (which are all controlled by the touch screen), and teak wood flooring.

The Metris even has a few unique surprises in store for its passengers, too, beginning with a roof panel that offers an infinite possibility of moods with its pre-loaded images—according to Levin, “a blue sky with moving clouds, a night sky with stars, fireworks, or any custom moving screensaver that the customer wants” are just a small sampling of available options—as well as a camera so passengers can see outside as if they were looking through a moon roof. But the special flourishes don’t stop there.

“I wanted to create a luxurious vehicle with a relaxing atmosphere where someone can enjoy lunch with a glass of wine from the vehicle’s picnic basket,” Levin says. The vehicle’s built-in, dark-wood picnic basket, which is safely nestled in a nook between its rear subwoofers and closes with a decorative latch, could also be packed with a meal that would complement a cup of espresso or cappuccino—as the Metris conveniently features a cappuccino maker hidden inside its front console.

As Levin is not only a car lover but also a boat enthusiast, much of the Metris’ design was inspired by wanting to create a “yacht on wheels.”

“In cars and yachts, the biggest challenge for designers and engineers is maximizing and utilizing the space around you,” he says. “The vision behind this van was to create a true yacht-like experience. That is why we implemented a white interior with brown suede, ebony trim, and teak flooring to create a look that is modern with an art deco design.”

The Mercedes-Benz Metris Luxury Van Concept needs to be experienced in person to be truly appreciated, and can be seen at HQ’s facility. “Please contact us to see this one-of-a-kind vehicle, take a plant tour, and see firsthand what separates our vehicles from the competition,” says Levin. HQ Custom Design can be reached at (201) 592-6939 or, and is located at 275 Huyler Street, South Hackensack, NJ, 07606. Visit for more information about the Mercedes-Benz Metris Luxury Van Concept and additional Mercedes Sprinter luxury and commercial projects.


Dallas, Texas — Limo Anywhere, a leading provider of cloud-based and mobile software solutions for the ground transportation industry, announced that it will release a passenger mobile app for its 3,600 limo operator clients this coming May.

The Limo Anywhere passenger app can be branded for each individual operator and will be available in both native iOS and Android versions. Limo Anywhere has partnered with GroundLink—a global car service with a native mobile app widely regarded as the industry’s best—and is leveraging its mobile expertise to create an exceptional user interface with best-in-class booking, billing, and ride tracking functionality. The Limo Anywhere passenger app offers operators a fully integrated app solution that is competitive with the largest brands in the industry when used in tandem with Limo Anywhere’s mobile driver app.

“Mobile technology has become an imperative in the ground transportation market,” says Mark Gentry, president of Limo Anywhere. “Between the Limo Anywhere and GroundLink teams, we have the ability to provide our customers with an app that is several generations ahead of the other offerings in the market. This product will put small- and medium-size operators at the forefront of mobile innovation.”

“GroundLink has spent years incorporating the feedback of consumers and corporate clients alike into our native mobile apps,” says Dean Sivley, CEO of GroundLink. “The functionality and user experience reflect what consumers and travel managers have told us they want and need. We’re excited to leverage our tech-enabled expertise to help Limo Anywhere clients enhance their service and level the playing field in the markets where they do business.”

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New Orleans — The United Motorcoach Association (UMA) will hold its 31st annual UMA Motorcoach Expo from January 18-22 in New Orleans. More than 1,700 representatives from the motorcoach industry are expected to participate in the yearly event, which is a trade show and an educational forum that offers plenty of opportunities for learning, networking, buying vehicles, and growing one’s business.

According to UMA’s Marketing & Membership Director Michele Nosko, registration numbers are up and a record number of coaches and equipment are expected to fill the expo’s showroom floor. ABC Companies, Alliance Bus Group, Motor Coach Industries, Prevost, and Temsa are among those slated to showcase more than ever before at the 2015 show.

“The big news for the trade show itself is that some of the industry’s key manufacturers will have more equipment on the showroom floor this year,” Nosko said. “Many of them only had one coach last year; this year, they’re coming with three or more coaches, which is really exciting.”

The expo will also be beefing up its networking opportunities as well as its educational offerings, as Nosko says that the event is known for offering “stellar” learning opportunities, and is even a great first step for any operators looking to add that first bus or motorcoach to their fleet.

“If someone is thinking of getting into the bigger vehicles, this is a great venue for that: They can not only see the equipment but also attend educational sessions to really learn about them,” she said. “With all of its unique regulations, this is a really great learning resource for anyone getting into the motorcoach industry.”

New for 2015 is the Motorcoach Mardi Gras fundraiser, which will be held January 19. The proceeds from this inaugural event will help fund the Go Motorcoach campaign, which aims to increase public awareness regarding the benefits of traveling by motorcoach.

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