Almost no one can afford a $494,000 Lamborghini Aventador. However, the price to drive it for an hour at a time is something different. The business of sharing the world’s most expensive cars has started to take hold in, among other places, China.
According to The People’s Daily:
Sharable BMWs, Lamborghinis, and other luxury cars appeared in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, on Aug. 25. The public can now enjoy driving some of the world’s most coveted cars for only 1.5 yuan per hour, China Radio International reported on Aug. 29.
The project started after a 277-day-long survey involving luxury car owners and fans all over China, and is intended to give more people the opportunity to have access to supercars, said Zhou Mingjie, sponsor of the sharing service.
The business model not only allows people to get closer to the dream of owning a car that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. It also opens a door for companies like Bentley, Ferrari and Lamborghini. Bentley sold 155 cars in the United States in July. Lamborghini sold 78, while Ferrari sold 216.
Another set of car companies that should benefit from the highest end car-sharing trend is the mainstream luxury car manufacturers that have a few extremely expensive cars at the top of their model lines. Mercedes has models that sell for over $200,000, particularly when they come with all the available accessories. Porsche makes production cars that are even more expensive.
According to a study by 24/7 Wall St., 10 cars sold in the United States cost more than $300,000. The McLaren P1 has a sticker price of $1.15 million.
One problem with the high-end ride-sharing business is that some of the most expensive cars are in short supply. A small number of people buy the cars as fast as they can be made. 24/7 Wall St. reported:
McLaren is first and foremost an engineering company, and it is a special event when a car such as the McLaren P1 appears on the market. When it was first introduced in 2013 as a followup to the McLaren F1 of the 1990s, all 375 P1s sold out in just eight months. It was the first time that McLaren Automotive — the manufacturing subsidiary of McLaren Group — posted profits. McLaren’s CEO Mike Flewitt was tempted to produce more cars but abstained to preserve the exclusivity that is so essential to the McLaren P1 brand. The P1 has a top speed of 217 mph, and accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds.
The top-end luxury car companies will just have to make more vehicles.