Friday, May 04, 2007

Club Sportiva - Partial Sportcar Ownership (Carsharing)

A business associate of mine, Markus, and I had a very good meeting yesterday. He owns his own printing and distribution company and usually makes a good impression in front of potential clients, tailored in Hugo Boss suits, Ralph Lauren shoes and the Breitling watch. He walks into every room with an aura of success: He owns the room.

But he usually does something in every meeting that makes it hard for me to fully concentrate: When he sits down, he takes his car keys out of his pocket and places it on the boardroom table in front of him. I cannot help to notice the keys... Yesterday it was Aston Martin keys. Strange thing is, at our first meeting back in January, the keys were those of a Ferrari and the time after that it was BMW. So obviously I started thinking the printing business must be doing reaaaaally good. Let's forget online, it pays to go offline!

But yesterday I walked him to the car. Yes, there stood a beautiful 2006 Aston Martin DB9 Vantage, its silver body gleaming in the hot sun. I said to Markus: "Beautifull car buddy. What happened to the Ferrari?" He smiled, slipped the Polo Sunglasses on his face and told me the secret... Carsharing. He was part of an exclusive carsharing club. The consortium owns a collection of cars and that both the Aston and the Ferrari were part of the collection. He reserves a sport car every time he wants to impress clients. He makes sure that he does not pitch up at a client with the same car twice! “Markus, Markus, Markus… The tailored suits are enough, buddy!” I thought to myself.

But if you would like to go Markus’ route; here is the phenomenon of carsharing consortiums.

Wikipedia describes carsharing as such:

“Carsharing is a system where a fleet of cars (or other vehicles) is
jointly-owned by the users in distinction from car rental or cars in private
ownership. The users are organized as a democratically-controlled company,
public agency, cooperative, ad hoc grouping. The fleet is made available for use
by members of the carshare group in a wide variety of ways. The costs and
troubles of vehicle purchase, ownership and maintenance are transferred to a
central organizer (the Carshare Operator or more familiarly CSO).”

I searched the net and came to site of Club Sportiva, the Bay area’s largest partial-ownership club. Instead of owning one sportscar and being responsible for all the maintenance of the car, you buy into the hassle-free consortium and instead of having access to only one sportscar, you can have a whole collection to choose from. On Monday you can drive the Lamborghini Gallardo to work, followed by the Porsche 911 Turbo on Tuesday, the vintage Ferrari 348 on Wednesday and so forth. Members do not have to worry about maintaining these bad boys, as they have a professional mechanic shop worrying about the cars’ well-being.

Club Sportiva has a $8 million car collection which includes brands like Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Lotus, Corvette, Jaguar, Bentley, Morgan, Maserati and Mercedes-Benz. The cars vary from new and vintage sport cars to luxury sedans. In some consortiums you car even drive away in the Muscle Cars of yesteryear.

The concept to me is sound. The benefits excellent, and the service that comes with these partial ownership worth the while. BUT, dear Markus, you do not NEED to drive a new car every day to make a deal, but it could help…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your friend might as well printing money too at his back office.

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