The booming car rental business behind London’s ‘supercar season’

The booming car rental business behind London’s ‘supercar season’

‘Supercar season’ has long been the domain of the super-rich – but more Arab visitors to the UK are now entering the fast lane by hiring luxury motors for a fraction of the cost.

Visitors from the Arabian Gulf are known for showing off their high-value motors over summer, with some spending up to Dh70,000 to fly their cars to London for just a few weeks.

Supercar marques ranging from Aston Martin to Bugatti were spotted in areas like Knightsbridge and Mayfair last year, sporting number-plates from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

Some local residents have complained about the annual “invasion”, saying that the cars are noisy, and that some drivers are dangerous or do not pay local parking fines and speeding tickets.

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The London-based Signature Car Hire, which has one of the largest fleets of luxury cars in the UK, says it has seen a “growing market” in bookings from Middle Eastern customers.

Dee Bhatia, the firm’s founder and chief executive, said his customer base has included royals from the UAE and Qatar, although he declined to specify names.

“They are discerning clients who know exactly what they want. We have been known to buy a car specifically because a VIP client requested it,” Bhatia said.

Rival UK-based rental firm Supercar Experiences also reports a steady increase in customers from the Middle East.

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It offers models like the Porsche 911 Carrera or Range Rover Vogue to hire for around Dh1,400 a day, while the Ferrari 430 Spider F1 goes for £595 (Dh3,300).

The Lamborghini Aventador LP700 — the firm’s most expensive car available for general hire — is available for a whopping £1,995.00 per 24 hours.

Nik Hardwick, managing director of Supercar Experiences, said the firm had seen a lot a clients from the UAE, mainly during the summer months.

“We’ve had the princes, the sheikhs, the billionaires,” he said. “They’ve all got cars back home. But a lot of people decide to hire rather than bringing their own cars over.”

Source: The National UAE

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