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T.J. Donaghy runs a chauffeured car hire service in Orlando, Florida. It's one of those services that you can call up and a driver turns up at your door in a big black sedan to shuttle you around and you pay by the hour. The Lincoln Town Car has been the staple of such services for what seems like eons. In this age of $4+/gallon gas, Donaghy figured an alternative was in order, namely a Toyota Camry hybrid. Unfortunately for Donaghy, the way Orlando regulates such services is a bit overly bureaucratic. Donaghy's company falls into one of the five classes of hire car services that Orlando's city code allows. Apparently, that class requires luxury vehicles like the Town Car to be used but leaves it to city officials to decide if a car is luxurious enough to be put into service. Like defining obscenity, this is a course clearly rife with pitfalls and here they have encountered one. While cities like New York are mandating that all such services switch over to alternative drive/fuel vehicles in the coming years, some clerk in Orlando feels it would be inappropriate to make an allowance for the Camry hybrid to be used. This is clearly an area where the market should be allowed to decide. As long as Donaghy provides the level of service that customers expect, they should be allowed to determine if a car is suitable for their needs. If someone requests a larger car, they still can. But if they are content in the back of a Camry, have at it.

[Source: Orlando Sentinel]


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  • 13 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      it's not like the camry is their only option for a luxury hybrid. although i do think that a well equiped camry is equally as nice as a town car they still have other hybrid options. lexus has plenty of hybrids to choose from as well.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Chris M
      I was talking about the Towncar buddy.
      Its a Freaking CrownVic and everything i said about it is true
      • 7 Years Ago
      The quality of the seats in the back of a Town Car limo is greatly dependent on how much the Limo Company was willing to pay to have the interior done. The nicest seats I've ever sat in were in the back of a Town Car. The most disappointing limo I've ever been in was a Rolls Royce.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Um, I'd say a Camry done all the way up qualifies, certainly for car service duty.

      A GS/LS hybrid wld defeat the purpose a bit compared to the Camry as far as saving dino juice.

      In the tiny streeted places in the world, our Camry can be considered the rough equivalent of a town car.

      I wish these nitwits in NYC would start using them instead of idling away on every corner and curb in Manhattan with their Townies.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh, boy did stevefazek get it wrong! The Camry hybrid has been updated considerably from the '70s, and the Camry Hybrid uses the Hybrid Synergy Drive, a planetary geared electronic continuously variable transmission, with infinite gearing, not some old 4 speed transmission.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Town Car has really uncomfortable rear seats. I wish the car services used Avalons.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Um, Dave, they're not requesting a "town car", they are requesting a nice luxury car. Admittedly, the definition of "luxury" is somewhat subjective, but with the right amenities, a Camry could do well.

      Donaghy could state clearly on the ad that he uses Camry Hybrids, how could customers object to that? Some might actually prefer a comfortable reliable fuel efficient ride. Now if he was advertising a stretch limo and it wasn't a stretch limo, that would be false advertising.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Donaghy's company falls into one of the five classes of hire car services that Orlando's city code allows. Apparently, that class requires luxury vehicles like the Town Car to be used but leaves it to city officials to decide if a car is luxurious enough to be put into service."

      If someone requests a Town Car and gets a Camry, they have every right to be upset. And this sounds like reasonable consumer protection to me.

      A Camry masquerading as luxury transportation is misrepresentation, plain and simple.
      • 7 Years Ago
      He should just buy and an ES350 interior, doors fenders, hood, bumper, headlights, grill, and trunk.

      Boom its no longer a camry :-P
      • 7 Years Ago
      good, but still doesn't address the idling prob. There's way too many cars that just parked idling for extended periods of time here.

      Wasteful and covers up the nice urine smell the subway rodents have worked so hard to provide for us.
      • 7 Years Ago
      since when is a shitty town car a luxury car? Its chasis dates back from the late 70s and rides such. Its leather is as hard as a rock, The interior looks like its made of left overs from other cars.

      Nice 4 speed auto from 1980 as well
      • 7 Years Ago
      That is insane. I live in DC and I've seen a some great hybrid services begin to emerge, overdue if you ask me, in DC. One of which is a hybrid taxi service, first of it's kind, and the other a green sedan service called CoachRider.
      www.CoachRider.com
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