• Jun 15, 2008
Corporate clients have long grown accustomed to being shuttled around in the back seats of Panther-platform Fords. The throwback Town Car that most car services run doesn't exactly sip fuel, so T.J. Donaghy of Orlando, Florida decided a Toyota Camry Hybrid would be a good addition to his fleet at Aristocrat Transportation. City officials have denied Donaghy's attempt at greening his livery fleet, reasoning that the Camry doesn't fit any of the five classes of vehicles for hire that the City of Orlando regulates. The city contends that the type of service offered by Donaghy can only use luxury cars. Adding to the confusion, the city has no exact language defining exactly what comprises a luxury vehicle, but like Potter Stewart, they know it when they see it, and it's not the Camry.

There is a real concern that opening things up for the Camry could have Kia Rios running around as "limousines" if some line in the sand is not drawn, but the high price of fuel along with ongoing greening efforts may make the path easier for the Camry. Other communities in Florida already allow Camry hybrids, also setting some precedent. It seems that the crux of the dustup is the idea of what exactly a "luxury" working car is, and how to fit the Camry Hybrid in somewhere without stretching the definition so much that King Midgets could get a free pass. All of this could have been avoided if Donaghy had just coughed up the loot for an LS600hL, though the Hybrid Synergy Drive system in that vehicle is used to bolster performance instead of fuel economy. Thanks for the tip, Bill!

[Source: Orlando Sentinel]


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  • 8 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lincoln used to be luxury cars. I would not want to be seen in one these days. A diesel Benz would be a better choice. The sad fact that most Americans don't know much about cars, I'm sure a Lexus ES hybrid would be more acceptable than a Camry hybrid with more options. Just because it's big and expensive does not mean it's luxury. A car like that would be hated in Europe, they don't even like the new Caddy's over there and they are much nicer with the exception of the Escalade.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "The sad fact that most Americans don't know much about cars"

        I agree. Most Americans believe that foreign cars are more reliable and get better mileage than US cars. They're incorrect.

        "Just because it's big and expensive does not mean it's luxury."

        Being big an luxurious is what makes it a luxury car.

        "A car like that would be hated in Europe, they don't even like the new Caddy's over there and they are much nicer with the exception of the Escalade."

        So you're saying that Europeans have different taste? I'll agree with that too. That doesn't make one wrong and one right.

        The Town Car is inexpensive, roomy, safe, reliable, and luxurious. Not your taste? Fine, it doesn't stop it from being a good fit for many others.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seem to me that the Taurus is the perfect vehicle. It's as roomy as a Panther. It has good power. It's quiet. It's well built. It's not as efficient as a hybrid, but it does pretty well for its size & power.
      • 6 Years Ago
      From time to time when I was little, my parents got a "limo" (the generic name for a Town Car or Mercury Grand Marquis) to take us to the airport or into the City.

      I dreaded those times, cuz the ultra floaty ride made me want to puke. Or I should say, _made_ me puke... at least twice. The rear windows that rolled half way down were effective at ensuring the vomit stayed within the vehicle.

      I don't think these cars have changed all that much in the past 20 years, and I'd never choose to ride in one today. Do you guys really equate that floaty, cushy ride with comfort?

      I also remember that each door had an individual silver rectangular ashtray with fussy little rectangular silver clasps that I opened & closed during the entire journey, and the back area was so dark because the windows were skinny slivers. Do you think that 1970s/1980s-era interior ambiance is luxurious?

      If I had to choose a 'luxury' airport shuttle, I'd much prefer to ride in the back of a Benz E320 CDI. Isn't the E-Class a taxicab in the rest of the world?