The DOs and DON'ts of Renting an Exotic Car

November 1, 2007

jalopy.jpgLet's face it -- there are a lot of crappy companies in the exotic car rental business. We have to deal with them every day - guys who post up pictures of $10M collections that all happen to be "rented out at the moment." Others who rent our personal cars, and still others who offer cars like the "2008 Ferrari 360 Modena Spider." So today we released a series of tips aimed at better informing consumers about ways they can avoid getting taken for a ride (figuratively) when renting an exotic car. Read on for details...



Gotham Dream Cars Offers Tips on How to Avoid Common Mistakes When Renting an Exotic Vehicle

New York, NY (November 1, 2007) – As the exotic car rental industry grows, more consumers are flocking to this exciting and accessible trend in the luxury automotive space. Gotham Dream Cars, a leader in the industry with locations in New York and South Florida, has released some useful tips for those enthusiasts who seek a “dream day” in a favorite luxury or super car. Unlike when renting from a traditional car rental company (such as Hertz or Avis), knowing what to ask of your exotic vehicle provider can help protect you from the unknown factors that come with renting an extremely expensive and powerful piece of machinery.

“As a car guy, I loved the idea of trying out the latest super car but I couldn’t find a reputable company to rent from! It was then that I decided to start Gotham Dream Cars and solve that problem,” states CEO Noah Lehmann-Haupt. “Renting a Ferrari or Lamborghini for the weekend is quite different from rental a normal economy car at the airport. It’s important for those thinking about taking the plunge to do their research and know what questions to ask up front.”

Lehmann-Haupt offers these important tips to discuss with any exotic rental company prior to utilizing their services:

  • Avoid the fly-by-nights: Make sure the car you are renting is actually owned/leased by the rental company and not a private owner's personal toy.

Several fly-by-night operators use privately-owned cars as ways to get around the legalities and difficulties of insurance and financing. If you rent a car that isn't legally insured as a rental, you could be held liable and possibly sued for damages by the owner – and your personal insurance carrier won’t cover you. Furthermore, private owners rarely respect customers’ reservations, and your car could be taken back from the owner at any time. Not a good thing to happen the night before your big rental!

  • Beware of the stock photo: Make sure the car you reserve is the car you're getting. Many small/start-up rental companies trade cars with other companies or list cars on their website that they do not own in order to appear bigger and more established. You may make a reservation based on a pretty picture online and get a different color, different model, or no car at all!

  • Ask for an on-site walk through of your car: Luxury/super cars are generally rare and exclusive vehicles and may have extremely advanced technology. Each can also have a unique driving personality and varied handling characteristics that can take hours, if not days, to get used to. Ask your rental company to give you a proper introduction to your vehicle and make sure you know how to use all the safety features, how to operate the transmission, and how to avoid a potentially dangerous drive.

  • Terms and conditions: Know the terms and conditions of the agreement prior to arranging for your rental: Exotic and super cars can be vastly different to rent than your standard rental. How many miles are included in the agreement? (Exotic rental companies rarely, if ever, give unlimited miles.) What happens if the car breaks down? What about roadside assistance? Are there refueling requirements?

  • Locations: Ask about delivery to your home or office and what the full service range of your rental provider is. Some rental companies offer different points for pick up and drop off as an added value.

  • Check the vehicle’s condition: Many startup and fly-by-night firms act only as brokers or middlemen, renting you a vehicle that’s been borrowed from another firm or a private owner. When this happens, the “buck never stops” and mechanical failures may not get fixed, tires may get dangerously worn, warning lights can get ignored, and the vehicle’s paint may get tarnished and dull from lack of care. Make sure your chosen exotic rental company has adequate staffing and someone who is responsible for the vehicles’ maintenance – both aesthetically and mechanically.

  • BUT, have realistic expectations: Even though the vehicle you’ve chosen to drive for the day may the be car of your dreams, it’s still a rental car and will inevitably have been driven by other enthusiasts, so normal wear and tear should be expected. Unlike the traditional rental companies, exotic rental firms rotate their fleets less frequently (usually every 2 – 3 years). The most reputable firms will give great attention to providing you with a great-looking and great-driving car, but be realistic about your expectations – just because the car is expensive doesn’t mean it will be coming straight from the showroom floor. And if the renter immediately before you puts a scratch in the bumper, there probably won’t be time to repaint it before it’s your turn, so you might have to face the choice of scratched car or no car.

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