Krystal Coach - 1993-present - Brea, California
|Krystal Enterprises - Brea, California - 1993-present
Krystal Enterprises is proud to introduce our exceptional product lines. As the world's largest manufacturer of stretch limousines, and top producer of professional vehicles and mid-size luxury buses, Krystal remains steadfast in meeting our number one goal - Quality and Customer Satisfaction. Krystal produces over 2000 vehicles each year.
Our state of the art facility in Brea, California utilizes hi-tech systems and the highest quality workmanship to produce the finest specialty vehicles available in the market today. Armed with a serious reputation as an innovation leader in occupant safety, Krystal Enterprises will remain the solid force in the transportation industry.
In 1983, Krystal Enterprises set out to build a higher quality, innovative limousine with a manufacturing approach based on the principles of continuous improvement and quality control. Today, Krystal Enterprises operates out of an ultra-modern 200,000 square foot facility in Brea, California. Our facility houses three separate production assembly lines, six manufacturing operations, office and sales staff, a service department, parts warehouse, and a beautiful showroom.
Krystal's reputation as the premiere coach builder in the world is no accident. It is the result of our painstaking commitment to engineering and building the finest, safest luxury vehicles in the world. Krystal is one of the original Qualified Vehicle Modifiers for Ford (QVM) and among the first to attain Cadillac Master Coachbuilder status. We are the first coach builder to implement independent crash tests on it's vehicles and continue to lead the industry in occupant safety. This reputation, success and vision also helped Ed Grech earn the 1995 Orange Country Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Construction of each one of our vehicles begins in the Welding Department, where the vehicle is first stripped, then cut and separated into two halves. Next, the framework is extended and metal structures added and welded into place. Special alignment fixtures ensure consistent, uniform structure of the chassis. In the Mechanical Department, highly trained mechanics modify the drive shaft, suspension systems and add wiring to OEM specifications.
Next, vehicles move to the Body and Paint Department, where all parts are prepped, painted and baked in the spray rooms to an ultra-smooth gloss finish. Electricians in our Electrical Department install our patented charging system, route all wiring and insert vehicle fixtures, such as the standard bar, mood and opera lights, before sending the vehicle to the Heavy Duty Upholstery Department, where our limos are equipped with the superior quality upholstery and carefully sealed vinyl tops.
All vehicles undergo a demanding "water check" during which they are sprayed heavily and constantly with water to ensure that windows, sunroofs and door seals are free of leaks. Only after passing this exam, does a vehicle move on to the Interior Assembly Department, where technicians expertly install the comfortable, luxurious interiors.
To complete the conversion process, each vehicle must pass the Detail and Final Inspection department, where it is thoroughly cleaned to a mirror-like shine and put through a rigorous 225-point inspection, as well as road test and undercarriage inspection.
Ed Grech once made an idle comment to his workers about what would happen if that fire-damaged Cadillac Seville over there were cut in half and stretched into a limousine. Grech started work in the automotive business as a teenager and had worked his way up to shop manager and owner. After lunch that day, he returned to find the Cadillac lying in two pieces on the shop floor. From putting that car back together, albeit a bit longer than originally intended, Grech went on to build one of the largest limousine manufacturing business in the history of the limousine. In 2000, Krystal's limousine production ran at about 100 Lincoln Town Car stretch limousines a month, and its facilities have the capacity to treble that number on a single shift. The highest annual production numbers of the Cadillac Series 75's were approximately 2,000 units in 1969, and that between the sedan and formal limousine. Outside of that peak, the Series 75 generally ran at a cumulative production rate of l,000 to 1,500 cars a year. Every one of Krystal's limousines is formal, and every one of them is stretched.
Similar to most successes, Krystal's is based on a simple concept that is not so easy to master: continual improvement, or, in the language of the MBA, "total quality management." Krystal's director of engineering, Greg Beck, credits the success of the company to the simple notion of always trying to find a better way. Every few weeks, Grech is provided with a "demo" limousine. Aside from the unusual perk of having a dozen or more new limousines a year, Grech plays the joyous role of chief road v
tester. "The demo cars are trying something out that we're not already doing, perhaps a new canvas top or some other aspect of a new model. And he wants to show it off," says Beck.
Even the most custom of Custom Era coachbuilders strived for a product that could be reproduced in quantity, as Judkins and Fleetwood managed, without losing the prestige and quality of their work. LeBaron's incorporation into the less glamorous albeit big-ticket body assembly company, Briggs, was a twofold coup for both companies. The higher volume meant greater resources and profits for LeBaron, and the customizing skills of LeBaron meant more prestige and craftsmanship for Briggs. Krystal has found that balance, but without Edsel Ford's patronage. Beck says there is a "constant battle between sales and production: sales wants everything different, while production wants it all the same." Beck explains the benefits of the mass production techniques of the company-and the resources necessary to achieve it:
When you can afford the tooling. the machinery, the positive effect doubles itself. The more you sell, the more you can do. We can develop conversions ahead of time more than ever before. Because of the volume, the tooling, the metal stamping dies, the plastic molds, it makes it easier to build consistent quality.
What Krystal has uniquely achieved in the industry is the transition from body shop to production line. "This company has gone from a large custom facility to an auto manufacturing plant," Beck says. In 1989, "things got real competitive," he explains. The theory of constant improvement looks for advantage in such situations. Similar to the Chinese character for "crisis," a combination of symbols for danger and opportunity, Krystal faced a problem and came out the better for it. "That's when we came into our own," Beck says of the industry downturn. "That's when we grew from a one car at a time shop in '85 to the biggest volume manufacturer." Krystal emerged with ever greater efficiencies and quality, the foundation upon which the company has built its tremendous success.
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