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A red Ferrari or a turbo Porsche—or how about a yellow Ferrari? The choice is yours, and you can drive one each week if you become a member of Classic Car Club by paying initiation fees and annual dues of $7,000 to $23,000.  Consumers are leasing everything from cars to vacation homes to fashion to art, meaning that luxury items are no longer for just the elite. With trends and opinions changing so much, owning no longer seems a high priority for many people.The focus on owning such products has become less important than the experience of using them. If you can jet around in a luxury sports car during your vacation and then show up for an important meeting in a luxury sedan, then the options fill all your criteria.

Leasing luxury products involves more than just the product; it really provides a service. By leasing, consumers no longer need to commit to the hassle of ownership and can gain additional perks and benefits. For example, the Classic Car Club invites members to weekly happy hour events, offers special activities such as driving a race car around a track, and provides reciprocal privileges for renting in locations where the Club does not exist.

But even more luxury items are now available for lease. The Wardrobe company leases designer gowns from Dolce & Gabbana, Carolina Herrera, and Behnaz Sarafpour for 15% of the retail price. For frequent event attendees, this price provides quite the deal!  Bag, Borrow, or Steal also allows members to rent premium handbags and jewelry. The list goes on and on, to include even renting art for a house to make it more appealing to potential buyers.

The flexibility and convenience of renting ensures customers do not have to make big decisions about big products and yet still get to enjoy a fantastic experience. In this sense, the services are becoming just as important as the products themselves. Many customers avoid serious investments and their attendant risk, but they still appreciate the experience of carrying a Louis Vuitton bag for a week or driving a different Ferrari each month.

Discussion Questions:

1. What is the target market for the customers who might lease luxury products?

2. Why would a customer want to lease rather than buy?

Alice Park, “The Leasing Life,” Time, April 01, 2007.

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