Sitting behind the wheel of a luxury sports car rental on your next vacation might be easier than you’d dreamed, says Simon Heptinstall.
A smart young man from the car hire company is waiting as you step from your plane. He hands you some keys and gestures to your hire car, which is waiting a few feet away. Forget about a stock-standard Ford or Toyota. Today your ride is a Lamborghini Huracan.
This isn’t a scene from an unbelievably glamorous Hollywood movie; it’s just the latest trend in car hire. Extraordinary luxury sports car rental is now available at even some of the most mainstream, and tight-laced rental companies, especially in Europe and the US, land of the long open road.
Hertz will deliver a Ferrari F12 to the airport for your driving pleasure. Alternatively, jump into an Aston Martin DB11 from Avis. Alamo can provide an open-top Ford Mustang, while Enterprise can hire you a Bentley Flying Spur by the day. That supercars are now available through high street rental companies demonstrates how the world of prestige car hire is accelerating faster than the supercars they’re peddling.
These big car hire companies are following in the exhaust fumes of the specialist upmarket vehicle rental companies, who have started a trend for exclusive car hire. Some now offer a dazzling array of vehicles.
Former UK estate agent Phil Tobin launched Europe Luxury Car Hire nine years ago. His firm has grown to cover most destinations in Europe and the UAE. With ELCH you could step out of your terminal at London’s Heathrow airport and straight behind the wheel of a McLaren MP4. His company’s amazing catalogue lists exotic machines like the Zonda Revolucion, Lexus LFA, Ultimate Aero, and BMW i8.
Previously wealthier travellers chose to use a chauffeured limousine service to whisk them promptly away from the airport melée. Luxury car rental began at some European airports as a cheaper, more convenient – and more enjoyable – alternative. It soon took off.
“The high-end luxury car rentals started in a big way in Europe, and the US followed suit,” explains Zoe White from Hertz. At first Hertz offered just one sports car: the mid-engined Lotus Evora was available at selected European airports as an exciting alternative to the every-day Citroens and Vauxhalls.
It was such an immediate success that the supercar fleets have grown as fast as Hertz can buy the vehicles. This year’s Hertz ‘Dream Collection’ includes exotic vehicles like Lamborghini Gallardo Spiders, Ferrari F458 and gull-wing Mercedes SLS AMGs.
The exclusive car hire market is now spreading into the southern hemisphere and Far East. One of the forces driving the expansion is the huge profit possible for operators. They can quickly recoup the cost of any vehicle from the very high day rates.
How high? Here are some examples: A Porsche 911 Carrera from Avis at London Heathrow will cost US$556 a day including full insurance. but there’s a deposit of US$3,900 required and a mileage limit of 117 kilometres with a US$2.60 a kilometre surcharge. Hire a Lamborghini Aventador in Dubai for a day, and expect a bill of around US$2,145.
It all depends on you if you think a day behind the wheel of a sports marque is worth such a hefty fee.
For more How To guides click here.