When you can have any car you want, choosing it, having people searching the market for it and enquiring if what they’ve found is to your liking can be more pleasurable than actually owning it.
Welcome to the weird world of supercar buyers, for whom having a Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren or Porsche on their driveway can be an anti-climax. It’s why, when at last they find their perfect car and are committed to purchasing it, the dealer typically has just 48 hours to finalise the sale before their enthusiasm cools and buyer’s remorse takes hold.
Key to getting the customer’s signature on the deal is having the finance deal nailed down. Yes, even supercar buyers borrow money – but not because they’re strapped for cash. Instead, it’s because they know it’s not smart to invest in something that will only depreciate. They prefer to invest in things that are likely to yield a higher return than the interest they would be charged on a loan.
In any case, rich people typically don’t have loads of cash lying about; instead, their fortunes are tied up in companies and assets, in which case a portion of their profits can be used to finance a supercar.
Understanding the mindset of wealthy car buyers and their financing peculiarities is a speciality of Darren Selig, founder of JBR Capital, a firm that lends money to people wanting to buy supercars, luxury cars and classic cars.
JBR never lends less than £25,000, and the most expensive car it has loaned cash for is a McLaren F1 that cost £15 million. Since being founded in 2015, it has loaned £600m, and it currently has £150m of loans on its books. When a dealer rings to propose a customer during that 48-hour ‘golden window’, Selig and his colleagues are on it like a shot.
Selig’s decision to launch the business was prompted by what he saw as a great divide in the finance market. He says: “On the one side were highly automated, massmarket lenders geared to serving the average customer; and on the other, commercial lenders financing trucks and heavy machinery with a deeper understanding of their customers but no knowledge of the sort of cars they liked to drive. I saw an opportunity to plug this gap with a specialist lending service.”
In fact, so specialist is this service that a conventional lender would, in all likelihood, turn down a typical JBR customer on the grounds that their salary is insufficient to meet the loan repayments.