The limo and private car business will soon be changing


Every business person is familiar with the Lincoln Town Car, as practically every car service uses it as its base auto. The plush leather seats, roomy trunk and interior and super-smooth ride makes it a familiar oasis for trips through traffic.

This familiarity is about to be disrupted as Ford has decided to discontinue the Lincoln Town Car and the Ford Grand Marquis, another staple in fleet sales.

The Ford Crown Victoria served as the mainstay of taxi and police fleets. Its close cousin, the Lincoln Town Car, could reliably be found idling outside Lincoln Center or waiting to whisk a Wall Street type home for the evening.

But in a little more than a year, both models will go the way of the Checker cab. Ford Motor Company plans to shutter the Canadian plant that manufactures the cars and discontinue the recognizably bulky frame that gives them their shape.

That means the end for vehicles that have come to symbolize the full spectrum of New York life, from private black sedans purring on Park Avenue to the ubiquitous sight of the yellow cab, great equalizer of the varied urban tribe.

“These cars are a facet of people’s everyday experience,” said David Yassky, the city’s taxi commissioner. “Whatever takes their place will have a real and tangible influence on the city’s aesthetic.”

Passengers should prepare for a bumpier, more cramped ride. Forget roomy trunks that fit a French-door refrigerator; the older models are yielding to smaller gas-and-electric hybrid vehicles with knee-bumping back seats and flimsier frames.

The article might be overstating things a bit. Of course, the taxi business is changing rapidly in New York, and some of the new options are certainly more cramped. That said, the process of finding a new vehicle that’s roomy and offers better fuel efficiency should yield a solid replacement for the Crown Vic.

As for the luxury fleet car market, there should be plenty of options. The Lincoln Navigator has plenty of room as a large SUV, and there are plenty of larger luxury sedans that can be substituted for the Town Car. The new Lincoln MKS is a beast of an automobile, for example.

That said, we’re definitely seeing an end of an era. Ford wants to change the image of Lincoln, and they’ll never be able to do that by selling old Town Cars.


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