Understanding the Exotic Rental Market

As founder and president of Gotham Dream Cars in New York City, Noah Lehmann-Haupt is surrounded by a fleet of cars befitting British royalty or a Saudi oil baron. And when the mood strikes him, he can take a Ferrari Murcielago, Continental GT or the relatively mundane Porsche 911 twin-turbo out for a Sunday spin.

It is one of the perks of owning an exotic car rental company. Yet those moments are tempered with ones like these:

On the day after Christmas, 2004, Lehmann-Haupt was lying in bed when he got a call from the guy renting his Lamborghini Gallardo. Lehmann-Haupt soon found himself staring at the back of a wrecker, with his $175,000 baby “crumpled into a little ball.” No one was hurt; knock on wood. However, “that started a six-month process of waking up every day wondering if I’d get my $175,000 back,” he says. “I had to fight him and his insurance company. They wanted to nullify the contract.”

Though Lehmann-Haupt eventually did get his money back, the story defines the nature of exotic car rentals: It takes plenty of working capital, extra attention to customer service and a healthy appetite for risk.

The Market for Exotics
Being rich is not necessarily the rule when it comes to wanting to tool around in an exotic vehicle for a couple of days. Yes, wealthy clients who own expensive sport cars want to drive a similar type of vehicle when traveling. But the majority of customers who rent specialty cars are those who can’t afford to buy one.

Although Gotham Dream Cars caters to a range of clients, Lehmann-Haupt says many are wives and girlfriends who want to get their husbands and boyfriends a unique birthday or anniversary present.

Another typical client is the 30-something, male small business owner who doesn’t have enough disposable income to purchase an exotic car, he says.

John Kiland, owner of Rent-A-Vette in Las Vegas and San Diego, says his Las Vegas location attracts mostly tourists. At San Diego’s Rent-A-Vette, local clients rent the cars mostly for weekend getaways.

CONTINUED:  Understanding the Exotic Rental Market
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  1. Frank Rawlings [ September 8, 2013 @ 12:27PM ]

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    Can someone suggest an insurance company that does cover Luxury exotic cars

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  12. lamont brooks [ December 20, 2014 @ 11:08AM ]

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  13. Vijay Singh [ January 18, 2015 @ 10:02PM ]

    I can relate to this article in many ways, I wish to start an exotic car rental busines myself. My location is perfect as I live in a growing city that currently has no big rental car businesses. Its not just an idea for me; its a dream that im putting a lot of thought into at the moment. If anyone has any advice about ANYTHING please contact me at: [email protected]

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  15. Mike C [ March 11, 2015 @ 01:52AM ]

    I really enjoyed reading this article, it educated me about the risks it takes to start an exotic rental company. I live in a none tourist area but a lot of wealthy people from overseas who own businesses. I think production sport cars (eg: BMW M cars, Mercedes AMG cars, and Audi RS Cars), and sport winter trucks (eg: range rovers, Audi, Porsche, etc..) might be a successful rental car business but I would like an experienced person to contact me about this idea. My email: [email protected]

  16. Mike C [ March 11, 2015 @ 01:52AM ]


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    Mom...looking for Shoffar rental of a celebrity car dont want to go through all of the huge deposits Insurance claims etc just really want him to go out in style take son an date to prom afterwards make few stops etc. Downtown Chicago or him an date to dinner drop date off at home an son home...please email me asap...Thank You

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  19. Scott [ June 21, 2015 @ 07:59AM ]

    Does anyone know what two insurance companies offer the policies for rental fleet insurance for exotic car rentals. It doesn't mention the names of the companies in the article. "Yet very few carriers insure the ultra-exotics such as Lamborghinis and Ferraris. (Petherbridge says only two companies in the country cover the very high-end exotics.)"

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    Does anyone know who will insure high end exotic car rentals in the south east states?

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