Five years ago, visitors to the Middle East International Motor Show, in Dubai, were asked, ‘What is your dream car?’
‘BMW,’ they replied. Mercedes followed, then Lamborghini.
Back then, these luxury cars were unaffordable. Even if you could afford them, there was still the car insurance to think about.
However, times have changed.
Luxury cars are still expensive, but in the UAE and the UK they’ve come into slightly closer reach than you might think. You just have to be in the know. When you are, the dealership might be the last place you’d look to buy a car.
Porsches, Chevrolets Camaros, Ford Mustangs, Dodge Chargers, Subaru Imprezas and Bentley Continental GTs: be prepared — and delighted — to see them on the UAE’s roads. Don’t expect the owner to let you behind the wheel —it might not be theirs to grant you permission.
With more and more expats entering the UAE, and more and more people doing business there, car rental companies have spotted a gap in the market. If you want to impress potential clients by pulling up in a fancy car, or just to get behind a Ferrari’s wheel, luxury car hire companies can make the dream come alive for a few hours.
It’s not only temporarily that dream cars are finding their keys in less affluent hands, though. While all was quiet on the UAE economic front, many nationals and expats splurged on the car they’d always wanted. Then the international economy had other ideas and is forcing them to abandon their vehicles because they can’t pay for them anymore.
The police tow them away, wait 15 days for someone to claim them, and, if nobody does, they auction them off. Put in the right bid and you can walk away with a Ferrari, Lamborghini or other luxury car at a price that has you laughing all the way to the dealership — or better said, at the dealership.
Dream-weaving in the UK
In an Auto Trader survey this year, the Lamborghini Gallardo topped the list of dream cars selected by participants from the list of options provided. No surprises there, then.
What is surprising is that two affordable cars made it into the top ten: the Smart for Two, and the Fiat 500. At starting prices of between £9 000 and £10 000, they’re not only affordable, but also cheap to run and insure.
If you earn a reasonable salary, the Lotus Elise may also be within your reach, at a starting price of £27 975. If you’re new to sports car ownership, the car handles well, whereas if you’re more advanced when it comes to sports cars, you can improve your skills and still enjoy the road.
Before the international financial crisis, the prospect of buying a luxury car was out of the question for many. Car consumers couldn’t have seen the crisis coming, and even if they had, they’d have ruled getting behind the wheel of a luxury car further still out of the question. On the contrary, the economic turbulence has made it a real possibility —if only for a while, which doesn’t matter when you’re living your dreams.
This post was brought to you by HSBC.