If I were asked to make the perfect concoction for doom and gloom, it would be hard to come up with a better one than merging Washington, D.C. and an American auto industry that can’t seem to sell cars anymore.
If I wanted to be uber-dark I could invite some Wall Streeters to try for the bottom of the depression pit, but that could be construed as running up the score.
With that in mind, the Washington Auto Show got underway recently. Now I know what you may be thinking: First of all, the DC car show isn’t that big; second, most automakers are bankrupt or quickly approaching insolvency; so who in heck is showing up at this thing besides a couple of Japanese companies and maybe the local Boy Scouts with their soap box derby cars.
In actuality, the Washington Auto Show has provided an interesting glimpse into the new era for the auto industry. Gone are the days when the boys from Detroit snapped their fingers and the politicians fell in line. Now that the big domestic auto makers are debt to the Federal Government (and begging for billions more), the government is calling the shots and it’s open season on CEOs, bonuses, and other perks.
Welcome to the politics of envy and the centrally planned economy.
As for the cars themselves, everyone from Daimler to Ford is trying to show off its newest green tech. In particular, the Washing Auto Show exhibitors appear to be trying to impress the public and the politicians with just how carbon neutral they can be.
The important question remains however, how to get cars selling again.
Everyone from industry analysts to politicians has a take.
But one DFW luxury rental car agency GM has his own simple, yet poignant view: “Make cars fun again.” As GM of DFW Elite Car Club, Tom Warren has created a virtual toy box for the exotic car fans. The club’s collection includes everything from a sophisticated Bentley GTC to a lightning quick Ferrari F430.
Although these cars don’t make tiny footprints, they sell well to those who can afford them. Ferrari typically has a waiting list to buy its latest model.
(Image courtesy of fine photographer Zero One and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only license. See more pics from Zero One in his Flickr photostream.)
Sharing exotic cars gives people who crave them an economical way to experience a variety of exotic car driving experiences without facing maintenance and depreciation costs. “Everyone, even a potential Ferrari owner, is looking for ways to do more with less in the current economy,” said Warren. Car sharing is just the latest innovation is the luxury goods sharing industry that includes vacation home sharing, boat sharing, and jet sharing.
The Dallas exotic car sharing club has no large joining fees and a monthly memberships starting at only $750 per month. The club has meeting facilities and secure car storage in Fort Worth for its collection of two dozen vehicles. The latest addition to the club paddock is a 2009 Audi R8 coupe.
If you live outside DFW, find an exotic car sharing club at http://www.exoticcarclubs.com.