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Economy / Business

New Exotic Car Rental Company Revving Up in Sarasota

When South Beach comes to mind, you probably picture hot convertible cars going up and down Miami Beach roads in the warm Florida sun. But when you think about Sarasota, does the same picture come to mind? If one new business has its way, it soon will.

Sarasota is now home to AutoXotic-- a luxury car rental company that's launching Saturday. Its owners say Tampa’s southern neighbor is turning into the new hotspot for these high-priced ‘hot wheels.’

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Credit AutoXotic
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One of the choices AutoXotic offers as a rental.

AutoXotic's director of operations Fabio Ruiz says the owners of the company are already a part of a resort vacation business and offering a luxury vehicle segment just made sense. Ruiz points out that Sarasota is centrally located between Naples and Tampa.

"It's pretty much the center point between both places. We have lots of Fortune 500 retirees around here and it has become the new hot destination - vacation destination - in Florida, not so much as it used to be Palm Beach and Miami but more of the new upcoming Riviera, if you will," he said.

The demand for luxury vehicles is climbing. Sharon Faulkner, executive director of the American Car Rental Association, said there are more luxury rental companies joining the association.

"You'll find [luxury car rental businesses] especially in the vacation areas like Florida, like Las Vegas, and like California."

It's not just the affluent who rent these exotic beauties.

Ruiz said they attract a diverse range of people. "It goes all across the board. We'll cater to weddings and 50th anniversaries and graduations," Ruiz said. "It's pretty wide out there because it's not so much for the  'rich guy,' it's pretty much the dreamer or the car enthusiast."

And in Miami, it's no different. Roc Collado is the business development manager of Prestige Luxury Rentals and he said the client type does vary.

"You have the business type that come to Miami and they want to show up to a meeting in a nice car," he said. "You have the birthday, people who want to get something nice for their husband or wife or valentine. We also have celebrities who are accustomed to driving these types of vehicles."

Collado says that some of his clients already own these types of lavish vehicles.

"It's funny because these guys most times do own these cars they just own them at home and they might fly in to do business and they're not going to want to drive up in a budget car that's maybe not what represents them or who they are," he said. "It's really just who they are and they want to represent that and the best way to do is in a luxury car."

AutoXotic owner Larry Starr says sometimes it's beneficial to rent an opulent car even if you already own one. That's because many owners don't drive as much to keep from adding mileage onto the car which leads to depreciation.

"Under the innovative ownership program there is some irony that's baked into it," explained Starr. "So while our programs have mileage limits they tend to be far more generous than the owner of a car would give him or herself due to the fact that they're more of a 'garage art' than they are to be driven on the road."

So the next time you're looking to take a step from your usual, mundane ride maybe getting behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Gallardo can rev up your day.

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