Business / Motoring video

US luxury car rental gains heat

( Updated: 2013-03-15 10:00

Driving an expensive, luxury car never fails to achieve a man's dream. While owning a high-profile car may not be realistic amid economic downturns, car rental fills in the spot. Don't turn away from the expensive price tags, as the cars may not cost as much as you think. 

It was once said that the wealthy man's lifestyles are full of champagne wishes and caviare dreams. If that's the case, then the working man's life dreams are filled with "Viper visions" and Ferrari fantasies.

"I guess I would get a Maserati or Ferrari. They just look great if you want to just drive around Vegas in a hot sports car."

But these days people are buying into that lifestyle by renting stylish rides. As a result - say experts - the luxury sector of the rental car industry is rapidly growing.

"But what is that fantasy ride worth? For a Lamborghini or Ferrari it could be upwards of $3,000 to $6,000 a day. For a Bughatti: $25,000. But perhaps this is more in the realm of reality, a Mercedes SLS AMG, price tag $1,200 a day and a $10,000 deposit. But is it worth it to you?"

"$1,500 is enough to go on a trip, get a plane ticket around the world. I don't think it would be worth it for me."

But increasingly for other drivers, it is. In fact, Hertz rental car is aggressively marketing that opulent lifestyle with its luxury line: The Prestige Collection. And it's working. Hertz says luxury rentals increased 15 percent between 2011 and 2012. Enterprise Rental Car recently expanded its exotic car collection - now offered at 13 locations in 6 US states.

"The thing about exotic cars is that they're very hard to maintain, may have an exotic car that nobody rents for a month."

But Rex Luxury Car Rental Management says while profit potential is huge for luxury rentals like - Mercedes and Porches - exotic auto rentals, like a Ferrari or Rolls Royce, have more risk and less return.

"So I'd say the luxury car business is much more profitable because it's much cheaper to maintain the cars, much cheaper to get the cars and then it's much cheaper to rent the cars."

And in the event of an accident - it's much cheaper to repair the cars, which is much better for the bottom line.

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