Why supercars are strictly for rollers

2010-11-19 12:07

Owning a supercar is like having a baby, it requires lots of maintenance and tender loving care each month. Paying a monthly instalment is not the only cost you have to endure.

Other than not being able to drive at the ridiculous speeds these supercars can reach, there are other factors to consider – like selling your soul to afford a Ferrari. Brett Cowell and Michael Braun, who both own the exotic car-leasing business called the Supercar Club of South Africa, gave us the lowdown on owning a very fast car. Cowell says supercars are occasional cars and though they can be used as daily drives, they’re not practical.

“You can’t go shopping in a Lambo or a Ferrari; there’s just no space. You could try and go away for a weekend and squeeze in a small bag, but if you want to go away for a week, you’d probably have to buy clothes at your destination,” he says, adding: “. . . and then give away (those clothes) before you come back home.”

Just driving down a suburban street can be tricky in these expensive babies. According to Cowell: “You can’t drive over speed bumps like you would in a normal car because they are very low cars. You actually need driver training to be able to use these cars properly.”

He also says most people think they can afford a supercar because their salary might indicate they can afford the premium. “Even if a car is paid for in cash, it still takes thousands of rands a month to maintain it and that’s the biggest factor that gets forgotten.”

Braun points out that the difficulty with supercar ownership in South Africa is that it caters to an elite buying power.

“Buyers are limited to the big metros like Joburg, Cape Town and Durban. This makes trading in a vehicle very difficult because the depreciation is astounding.”

For a R3.2 million Ferrari 458, you can expect to pay at least R50 000 a month in instalments and R10 000 a month for insurance – this after putting down a deposit of between 20% and 40%.

Investment Cars’ dealer principal Mike Bruce says exotic cars can be cheaper than a normal car when premiums are based on pro rata to value. “This is because sports cars are generally used less and at a time when there are less motorists to dodge on the road.”

And then there’s fuel. According to Bruce, supercars consume about 35% more fuel. “A R700 full tank might give you anything between 300km to 400km depending on your driving style.”

So, just in case you were praying for the Lotto windfall so you can afford a supercar, remember . . . buying it is only the beginning of constantly dipping into your pockets – so they’d better be bottomless.

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