The booming car rental business behind London’s ‘supercar season’



LONDON // ‘Supercar season’ has long been the domain of the super-rich — but more Arab visitors to the UK are now entering the fast lane by hiring luxury motors for a fraction of the cost.

Visitors from the Arabian Gulf are known for showing off their high-value motors over summer, with some spending up to Dh70,000 to fly their cars to London for just a few weeks.

Supercar marques ranging from Aston Martin to Bugatti were spotted in areas like Knightsbridge and Mayfair last year, sporting number-plates from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

Some local residents have complained about the annual “invasion”, saying that the cars are noisy, and that some drivers are dangerous or do not pay local parking fines and speeding tickets.

But while uber-wealthy Arab tourists have developed a reputation, for better or worse, over the annual parade of their $1 million-plus cars, many others are becoming part of the UK’s supercar scene for as little as Dh1,400.

The London-based Signature Car Hire, which has one of the largest fleets of luxury cars in the UK, says it has seen a “growing market” in bookings from Middle Eastern customers.

Dee Bhatia, the firm’s founder and chief executive, said his customer base has included royals from the UAE and Qatar, although he declined to specify names. More info