What Happened To All The Stretched Limousines?

Several decades ago, limousines could be found in every major city. The luxury stretched vehicle ushered occupants to boardroom meetings, penthouses, nightclubs, and sporting events. But somewhere along the way, the limousine slowly and then rapidly disappeared from city streets in a world now dominated by black SUVs. 

The stretched limousine dominated the luxury chauffeur service industry in the 1970s and 1980s. After multiple stock crashes, the first in 1987, the second in the early 2000s, and the third in 2008, the luxury mode of travel lost its lust with high net-wealth individuals.

Slowly but surely, the town car became the vehicle of choice in the 2000s. Then the rich demanded Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Suburban, as well as Mercedes S classes, while demand for stretch limos plummeted. 

Now chauffeur services are dominated by "black SUVs, buses and vans," NYTimes explained. 

"The limo business isn't your father's limo business anymore," said Robert Alexander, president of the National Limousine Association (NLA). 

According to NLA data, stretch limos represent about 1% of services offered by chauffeur services nationwide, down from 10% a decade ago. 

"The stretch limo is — what's the expression? — gone like the dodo bird," Alexander said.

As Alexander pointed out, another factor contributing to the near "extinction" of limousines was the emergence of ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Lyft over a decade ago. These platforms spurred a surge in demand for luxury SUV chauffeur services, further diminishing the stretched limo market.

It's clear the limo industry has taken a drastic turn in recent decades. And the next move the limo industry is making is into luxury Sprinter vans.

Matthew Daus, a lawyer and a former commissioner and chairman of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, explained the limo industry has "muscled into the motor coach and the charter industry" after the pandemic. 

Stretched limos are gone for now, but luxury chauffeur services are still thriving. It's just the mode of transport has changed. And in a country where progressive policies have sparked a nationwide crime wave in major metro areas, no one in their right mind would dare drive around in a moving target. 

Looking ahead, the proliferation of self-driving cars could also make professional chauffeurs extinct in the coming decades.

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from Zerohedge.com)

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