Katie Small, who insures footballers and bankers, tells all
Recession, what recession? If you peek into the underground car parks of the City’s glass towers, or peer over the gates of the capital’s football ground car parks, that is certainly what you will ask. Anyone who’s anyone in this town is sporting the latest and most exclusive vehicles, from McLarens and Astons to Ferraris and Maseratis.
The luxury car industry is booming, fuelled by an insatiable desire to be seen in the latest model.
Despite a global financial crisis, soaring taxation and a so-called feeling of austerity across the country, the ongoing craving for the latest car continues as strongly as ever. Rolls-Royce has just reported the best annual global sales in its history. In fact, it experienced a 31 per cent increase in car sales compared with last year. Bentley also announced the best annual sales since 2007.
Elements of these sales were admittedly boosted by demand from the Asia-Pacific region. Yet London’s thirst for super cars remains fervent. London’s wealthiest inhabitants are continuing to live the high life and lavish their wealth on the market’s hottest cars.
The most marked trends among London’s affluent can be divided between the financial sector and the sports elite.
What bankers are buying
The financial sector, consisting of bankers, investors, company directors, and such like, are demonstrating a taste for the latest in sporty supercars from McLarens, Ferraris and Maseratis as well as a desire for the newest Range Rovers available.
The latest top favourite luxury cars preferred by the financial sector, based on our most recent figures for insurance quote requests, are as follows:
Range Rover Evoque
Range Rover Vogue
McLaren MP4 12C
Ferrari 458 Italia
Maserati Gran Turismo
What sports stars are buying
Sports professionals, on the other hand, clearly adore the most luxurious SUVs and the latest Mercedes, while their longstanding fondness for Aston Martins and Ferraris (of course) continues to flourish.
The top luxury cars favoured by sports professionals are as follows:
Range Rover Evoque – see above
Range Rover Vogue – see above
Ferrari 458 Italia – see above
Aston Martin DB9
Luxury car trends in 2012
And it looks like the hunger for the latest cars won’t diminish in 2012. London’s wealthiest have already put in orders for some of the priciest and most exclusive cars on the market, including: the Lamborghini Aventador; the Bentley Continental GT; the Porsche Panamera Hybrid; the Aston Martin Virage Coupe or Volante and the Ferrari FF.
Interestingly, over the past few months we have seen an intriguing and growing trend of high rollers in the banking world swap[ing their supercars for classic cars – the only real impact the recession seems to have had on the luxury car industry. Older classic vehicles offer a solid investment against supercars which depreciate quickly, but in many cases still offer the same driving experience and the allure of additional exclusivity.
There are particular times of the year when we can always expect to see shifts in taste. In December and January, for example, we receive a high number of enquiries from professional footballers as it is the transfer window. They are either negotiating more profitable contracts or celebrating transfers by splashing out on the latest set of wheels in the show room.
Meanwhile in the financial sector we experience an increase in enquiries when the banks make their bonus payments – everyone wants to be seen in the newest super car.
We may be on the brink of a double dip but nothing will stand in the way of London’s wealthy buying the latest supercar to come off the conveyor belt.
Katie Small is executive director of Mercury West Associates, a specialist insurance broker for high net-worth individuals with clients including many sports and media professionals, Premiership footballers and business leaders. The company is one of the UK’s leading insurance brokers for affluent individuals and has established partnerships with associations including the Professional Footballers Association.