Rental of 'auspicious' luxury cars is hot this Chinese New Year

Rentals of Porsche (above), Audi and Volvo luxury cars are proving popular before the upcoming Chinese New Year period. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - At least one car rental company offering luxury car rental is seeing a near-sweep of vehicles such as Porsches, Volvos and Audi sports cars for the upcoming Chinese New Year period.

The vehicles, which can cost more than $4,000 for seven days' rental, are rented as "good omens", Lianhe Wanbao reported on Tuesday (Jan 3).

Managing director of luxury car rental company Ace Drive, Mr Jesse Tan, told Wanbao that some 100 cars it has for rental have nearly all been booked this year, even before the company put up advertisements for the Chinese New Year period.

The vehicles it has in its fleet include BMWs, Audis, Mercedes-Benz cars as well as a Maserati worth about $3.6 million and a $5-million Porsche.

It costs from more than $1,000 to more than $4,000 to rent a vehicle for a week during the Chinese New Year period, the first day of which falls on Jan 28 this year. Chinese New Year is a peak rental period as families visit relatives over the holiday.

Mr Tan told Wanbao: "Many of those who rent luxury cars from us are frequent customers. Some of them rent luxury cars or sports cars to drive their families during visiting, to 'pamper themselves'. Others do it to host overseas relatives who visit during Chinese New Year."

  • Here are some things to look out for when renting a car

  • - Compare prices from three different companies.

    - Be clear about the fine print and conditions before renting. If unsure, check with the dealer.

    - Find out whether the car can be driven overseas, if you are planning to travel.

    - Be clear on what the final payment is, and whether different components such as insurance, road tax and petrol costs are included before you sign the contract.

    - Make sure the headlamps and turn signals are fully functioning. Inform the dealer of any malfunctioning car parts.

Engineer Wang Zhengde, 30, who is renting a sports car for the first time this year, told Wanbao that renting the vehicle was a realisation of his dream of owning a car, and also a good omen.

"I have been saving up to buy a car, but I just can't afford it," Mr Wang said. "So, this time I decided to spend $2,000 to $3,000 to rent my dream car for visiting. Hopefully it will liven up the festive spirit and maybe I can fulfil my dream of owning a car in the new year."

A regular customer who did not give his name told Wanbao that he used to drive a Mercedes-Benz, but had to sell it as his business was not doing well.

"But I did not want to lose face in front of my relatives so I started renting a luxury car for Chinese New Year visiting," he said.

Mr Zeng Zhiwei, a manager at another rental company Dream Car Rental, told Wanbao that the firm has kept prices the same as last year, as they did not wish to lose customers in this bleak economy.

He added that customers this year are price-sensitive and are choosing the cheapest car rental sets.

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