Focus on Marque II
Graham Beswick, founder of supercar Marque II takes some time out of his day to discuss Marque II and the wider supercar club market.
How would you sum up Marque II?
Marque II is a full-service high performance sports car club that gives access to a fleet of luxury sports cars to our members when they want them 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The level of satisfaction and flexibility and ease of service is a priority. Memberships are flexible to suit a members needs and having fun with the cars is the only important thing for the members. Maintenance, taxes, cleaning, depreciation etc. is all taken care of by Marque II.
The positioning is that we have a range of top-end sports cars for those who wish to use them for luxurious events and weekends away and for different purposes such as golf or sporting weekends. Arriving in style is a fantastic way to enhance the experience.
Car club membership is something that makes economic sense. Our fleet allows us to provide the cars at a sensible membership price starting at £4000 (up to £8000 for a whole year) and also for the maximum days possible - an average of 58 driving days a year across all marques and throughout the year. The whole idea is that a member can have a choice of cars all ready and available without the hassle and expense of ownership especially now in this time of massive car depreciation and escalating maintenance, storage and insurance costs. What better to be able to have a fleet of luxury sports cars when you want them and not when you don't!
These are tough economic times and obviously potential members are concerned about putting their cash into any business at the moment- how would you reassure those who are considering joining Marque II and what plans do you have in place in order to safeguard the future of Marque II?
Marque II was started in late 2007 and we were fortunate enough to be planning for the financial down turn. We are lucky enough such that our bank financing is minimal and we own the fleet of vehicles through our own investment and efforts. Not only is the business model a financially sensible one for the recessionary times but our finances were established with this in mind. We are always seeking investment capital for expansion as any growing and successful business should be but we are not suffering from the economic climate and the misfortunes of the banking industry.
What are the future plans for the club, particularly your focus for the next six months?
We have just been lucky enough to acquire the beautiful and very rare Alfa 8C. This car is stunning and we paid cash - no extortionate bank financing. The Alfa has caused a small storm and membership activity is now growing. We are also ready to change some of our fleet, keeping the selection of cars of interest to current and future members. The focus is upon growth and not survival.
We are also expecting to build and add to our connection with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH) which has resulted in our members automatically becoming "Friends of Moet Hennessey". This is a selected group of individuals whom Moet Hennessey exclusively give access to their cellars and also their guest-only events. This new association was only launched at The Cinnamon Club on the 26th November 2007 and promises to provide a whole range of goodies for Marque II members. There are reported to be only around 150 selected individual members of the "Friends of Moet Hennessey" in the UK. A truly exclusive luxury. More associations with exciting luxury brands such as Moet Hennessey will be welcomed - anything that benefits the members.
What is your most popular level of membership?
Our most popular level of membership is hard to say as we have a complete mix. We have just as many full members and week-day only members as we do international members, female members and country members. I am sure as we grow one type of membership will come to the fore but at the minute they are roughly equal. The common feature of each is the high level of service that they each receive. We are friendly and flexible. We get accused quite often about being far too happy!
Marque II is all about the supercar experience- which cars are firm favourites with your members and what are the cars that they can look forward to in 2009?
Firm favourites are the Alfa 8C, the two Maseratis (Gran Turismo and Gran Sport) and the Audi R8. Having said that, as our members take the cars out for different uses the Range Rover Sports Supercharged is popular for golf, horse racing and polo events (as well as dragging the kids away for the weekend and moving house apparently!); the Noble M12 GTO is great for a mid-life crisis; the Ferrari Spider 360 just for the experience; the Jaguar for calm and luxurious trips to Michelin Star hotel and restaurants; the Mercedes SL55 AMG for speeding to weddings; and the Audi RS4 for golfing and shooting as it can carry the clubs and guns. The popularity depends on the occasion that the car is planned for.
What value-added extras does Marque II offer its members?
On top of the 24 hour service, Europe-wide delivery and happy smiling faces, we also have Airport VIP Meet & Greet at London airports (free and unlimited to International members); a UK-wide Safely Home Service for those that find an alcoholic drink just happens to go down their throat; and a full concierge-style service where we can organise anything event or weekend away for each of our members, bespoke or otherwise.
As an example, at the end of November 2008 we organised an exciting bespoke weekend away for some of our members at their request which we able to pull-off through our association with Moet Hennessy and our personal connections into the horse racing industry. The lucky members were treated to a great weekend which money cannot buy. A two Michelin private dinner with Maurice Hennessey and John Francombe started off the racing weekend of luxury, accompanied by the magnificent Alfa 8C, the majestic Maserati GranTurismo and the powerful Range Rover Sports Supercharged.
The Range Rover found its perfect niche in the morning through a once-in-a-lifetime drive alongside the horses on the gallops at Lambourn. The Range Rover raced only 5 metres away from the beautiful horses who worked hard to impress their audience. After a private breakfast as guests of John Hills, the flat race trainer, they drove to the Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury with the Alfa 8C taking centre stage for the race-goers. The day was spent as VIP guests of Moet Hennessy and even resulted in some of our members being on Channel 4's The Morning Line. A truly unique experience organised by Marque II. If a member requests something we will endeavour to organise things for them.
Graham, thank you for your time.
Further information on Marque II can be found by visiting their website at www.Marque2.com