The Prestige: Airport Replaces Handicap Parking With 'Lexus-only' Spaces

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
the prestige airport replaces handicap parking with 8216 lexus only spaces

We’re all familiar with the concept of executive parking spaces, and surely most of us know someone with a sign hanging in their garage that reads “Mopar Parking Only.” Both are annoying concepts highlighting one person’s perceived superiority over another but without any real consequences. After all, it’s not as if they’re stealing someone else’s space.

Thinking it might be a good idea to combine these two scenarios as part of a marketing ploy, Lexus teamed up with the Calgary Airport Authority to convert five primo parking spots into branded spaces. However, the locations they ended up replacing were designed for handicapped patrons. While that understandably didn’t go over well with travelers, you have to admit there is a certain level of prestige associated with displacing people who actually need something just because you want it for yourself.

Obviously, most of the publicity the campaign inspired has been negative — forcing both the automaker and the airport to explain the misstep. And what a mistake to have made. While the campaign concept is harmless in itself, the fact that an agreement was reached where dedicated Lexus parking would replace handicapped spaces is a pretty massive error in judgement.

Details on who is to blame are a little spartan but, based on reporting from CBC News, the airport claims to have made the final call as to where to implement the Lexus-only spaces. It released an remorseful statement on Monday night.

“YYC Calgary International Airport would like to apologize to our passengers impacted by the decision to change the location of the accessible parking stalls at the airport; it is clearly out of touch with our commitment to being an accessible facility,” the statement read. “The Calgary Airport Authority would also like to apologize to Lexus Canada.”

“For clarity, The Calgary Airport Authority was solely responsible for the selection of the stalls identified for the parking campaign. Lexus Canada did not play a role in selecting, and was not aware of, the locations for the campaign.”

A spokesperson from the automaker confirmed this, stating the company had no idea of the airport’s plans to utilize disabled parking spaces.

“Lexus Canada would like to offer our heartfelt apologies to anyone who may have been affected or offended by a recent marketing campaign at the Calgary airport. We were not aware that accessible parking spaces would be used for this campaign, and have asked the airport to correct the situation as quickly as possible by returning these parking spaces to their intended use,” read a statement from Michael Bouliane, manager of corporate communications at Lexus Canada.

“In the future, we will more carefully scrutinize the details of these types of marketing campaigns. We were truly embarrassed by this mistake. It shouldn’t have happened and we are taking steps to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Calgary Airport Authority spokesperson Jody Moseley said selling the spaces as advertising would have been a good way for the airport to bring in extra cash. “We’re always looking at different ways to diversify our revenue stream,” she said.

“I think it was one of those communication fails, from the YYC perspective. We really were in the process of moving and accommodating the new advertising space at the same time, but what we really should have done is let them know in advance that this was happening.”

[Image: CBC Calgary]

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  • Mike Beranek Would you cross this man? No way!
  • Skippity I kinda like styling. There’s plenty of lookalike boxes on the road. Nice to see something unique.
  • Make_light I drive a 2015 A4 and had one of these as a loaner once. It was a huge disappointment (and I would have considered purchasing one as my next car--I'm something of a small crossover apologist). The engine sounded insanely coarse and unrefined (to the point that I wasn't sure if it was poor insulation or there was something wrong with my loaner). The seats, interior materials, and NVH were a huge downgrade compared to my dated A4. I get that they are a completely different class of car, but the contrast struck me. The Q3 just didn't feel like a luxury vehicle at all. Friends of mine drive a Tiguan and I can't think of one way in which the Q3 feels worth the extra cost. My mom's CX-5 is better than either in every conceivable way.
  • Arthur Dailey Personally I prefer a 1970s velour interior to the leather interior. And also prefer the instrument panel and steering wheel introduced later in the Mark series to the ones in the photograph. I have never seen a Mark III or IV with a 'centre console'. Was that even an option for the Mark IV? Rather than bucket seats they had the exceptional and sorely missed 60/40 front seating. The most comfortable seats of all for a man of a 'certain size'. In retrospect this may mark the point when Cadillac lost it mojo. Through the early to mid/late 70's Lincoln surpassed Cadillac in 'prestige/pride of place'. Then the 'imports' took over in the 1980s with the rise of the 'yuppies'.
  • Arthur Dailey Really enjoying this series and the author's writing style. My love of PLC's is well known. And my dream stated many times would be to 'resto mod' a Pucci edition Mark IV. I did have a '78 T-Bird, acquired brand new. Preferred the looks of the T-Bird of this generation to the Cougar. Hideaway headlights, the T-Birds roof treatment and grille. Mine had the 400 cid engine. Please what is with the engine displacements listed in the article? I am Canada and still prefer using cubic inches when referencing any domestic vehicles manufactured in the 20th century. As for my T-Bird the engine and transmission were reliable. Not so much some of the other mechanical components. Alternator, starter, carburetor. The vehicle refused to start multiple times, usually during the coldest nights/days or in the most out of the way spots. My friends were sure that it was trying to kill me. Otherwise a really nice, quiet, 'floaty' ride, with easy 'one finger' steering and excellent 60/40 split front seat. One of these with modern mechanicals/components would be a most excellent highway cruiser.
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