It’s what you’ll need for your car if money’s no object.
"When I drive the Lamborghini, I need space, I need road and I probably need my own runway," says Roy Andres with a knowing smile. "The only concerns that people have is they don't have enough road. Probably somebody's been trying to go up there at a 120 miles per hour on the H-3." Not that Andres would encourage that.
Andres is the manager for La Collezione Nicolai, a division of the JN Automotive Group that specializes in luxury cars. At any given time, visitors to Andres' Nimitz Highway showroom can gawk at a Lamborghini kept safe behind maroon velvet ropes. The model there today is shiny and red, a new apple ripe for an owner's first bite. But this reporter can't quite get past the fact that someone could buy a new home or feed a small island nation, instead of plunking down from $242,000 for a Lamborghini SV to $287,500 for a Lamborghini Roadster. Want a different shade of paint? That'll be $11,000 more please.
When you mention the average price of a single family home in Hawaii, Andres nods with a twinkle in his eye, "Exactly! The issue of these things is if you have too much money and if you have a lot of money, the money is not the issue. It's just the prestige. They just want to get their hands on it."
Andres says he has no problem selling his allotment of four Lamborghinis a year. He won't identify his customers, but says they also come from out of state. He's observed that once someone gets hooked on an exotic car, he or she can never get enough. "They call me up and say, 'Roy, I have to change my car,' and they had it only six months—like changing underwear or something."
Gerald Schoch, who sells Ferraris for Jardine Hawaii Motor Holdings, Ltd., has also heard the refrain. Ferraris start around $140,000 and can go as high as $500,000.
"It's more like selling art than it is a car," muses Schoch, "So I would say that what makes a half-million-dollar car is the fact that no one else has one as well as how it's built." He likens the process of building a top-of-the-line sports car by hand to Michelangelo creating one of his masterpieces.
Schoch gets from four to 10 Ferraris a year. He says they sell everything they get and could sell more. "If we get four to six to eight, whatever it is, then we're delighted. We have orders for quite a few." He knows where the next dozen are going.
Schoch also declines to name customers but does offer an observation: "Enzo Ferrari said that the only thing he regretted was that by the time you could afford his car, sometimes people were too old to enjoy it. But now that we have Microsoft and people and money that comes much faster, I guess younger people get satisfaction quicker today. I don't know if they can appreciate it as much. Most of our buyers are well-established business people that have been around a long time."
Schoch drives a Jaguar (another of Jardine's franchises). He says the market for luxury cars in Hawaii has always been good, regardless of how the economy performs. "I think the luxury market has always been there and it will always be there, because people will always like the finer things," he says. Even if you could feed an island nation for the cost of a car.
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