To fill the order, local companies partnered together, and came up with 70 Escalades, 70 Mercedes and a few dozen Range Rovers.
The recession didnt really affect the clientele we have renting the vehicles, Collado said. The money just kind of moves around at one point it is a lot of Russians, then a lot of Brazilians. The money doesnt disappear; it just moves. Right now, its the Russians, Brazilians and Venezuelans.
In fact, tourists of every ilk are driving luxury rental car companies revenue, and perhaps nowhere more so than in South Florida.
Anywhere where there is heavy tourist traffic is where you will see luxury travel rental companies, said Sharon Faulkner, executive director of the American Car Rental Association, based in Albany, New York.
The concentration of luxury car rentals, she said, is in Florida, California, Las Vegas, and, for the less sporty vehicles, New York.
It just follows that since the economy is getting better, so is the demand for luxury items, Faulkner said. The consumer cant afford to own it, but can still afford to rent it.
Even Hertz is getting in on the game. The company has been slowly adding high-end vehicles into its fleet in the past year, said spokeswoman Paula Rivera. The cars are only available at select destinations, including Miami International Airport.
When you see a major company like Hertz growing that part of their market, it would say the demand is there, Faulkner said.
In Miami, Hertz now offers about a dozen luxury cars, including a Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari F430, Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT and Aston Martin Vantage. Just in the last two months, it has added several Porsches: a 911 Carrera, Boxster, Panamera, Cayenne and Cayenne Turbo.
We have seen solid demand for our high-end cars, and weve been very pleased with how customers have been receiving them, Rivera said. During peak season it is common for us to hit capacity for reservations. And when there are cars available that havent been rented ahead of time, they are quickly snatched up at the counter.
Hertzs luxury rentals range from about $250 to $1,500 a day, plus insurance, taxes and airport fees, she said. A lot of folks will say they dont have these types of cars where they are from so it makes it even more appealing. Rivera added.
Among other rental car companies, Lou La Vie has operated since 2010, first in Lake Park, in Palm Beach County, then through a partnership with Warren Henry Leasing in Bal Harbour. Last month it expanded, opening a retail showroom at 1444 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami.
The timing was right, with the economy improving and demand for luxury and exotic cars rising, said Temerian, who has seen a 20 percent increase in demand in sports and exotic car rental just in the past six months.
With white walls lined with art for sale by Leonardo Hidalgo, Lou La Vies showroom is filled with shiny luxury and exotic cars, like a red Ferrari 458 Spider, which retails for about $400,000, said Temerian, 28, whose family has been in the luxury car business since the 1960s. His grandfather owned an exotic car dealership in Springfield, Mass., and his father was a mechanic for exotic cars in Lake Park.
In all, Lou La Vie (French slang for Rent the Life,) has a fleet of 20 cars, worth $3 million, all of which it owns and insures.