Why Not Rent?

If you only want a car every now and then, perhaps it makes sense to rent rather than buy or join a fractional car club. But, generally, rental companies are the more expensive route compared to the latter option.

If Mr. or Mrs. Smith is going to turn up at your rental outfit and drive away in £100k+ of sports car, it is reasonable to expect some usual (and some not so usual due to inexperienced drivers) wear and tear and the potential for the vehicle to become damaged. A fractional car club vets its members and the cars are generally better cared for due to the community aspect and the selection process-some even go as far as to attend other driving days so that members can familiarise themselves with performance cars before tackling the road.

Being purely selfish, you and I care not for the profit margins of the business owner; what matters to you and I is the bottom line cost.

One of the most desirable cars of the moment is the Ferrari F430 Spider, a drop-top drop-dead gorgeous slice of exquisite Maranello engineering and design. To hire this car from one of the leading rental companies for one week (7 days) breaks down as follows:

£4,200 for the actual rental
£5,000 insurance excess deposit

This is inclusive of a 450-mile allowance, with extra miles being charged at a heady £2.95 for each and every mile.

Compare this to London-based fractional club écurie25:

écurie25 membership cost:
£750 joining fee in the first year
£7,950 for full membership
Total paid: £8,700

If you then want to book the Ferrari F430 for a week at the height of summer, the equivalent cost is £3,074, inclusive of any mileage (within reason; a non-stop tour of Europe may rise eyebrows, but the mileage allowance for all members is 5,000 across the term of their yearly membership). The insurance deposit is the same.

Not to go into too much detail here as there are related articles on our site (here), but any term that includes weekends in the summer is going to be the most expensive way of getting behind the wheel at a fractional car club. If you change the term to be a 'winter' (xxx to xxx) week, then the cost drops to the equivalent of £2,146.

Further comparisons of other periods reveal the fractional option to be far and away the most economical.

Just one summer weekday in the same Ferrari shows that the rental option will set you back £1,195, whereas an écurie25 member pays a relatively piffling £261, less than 25% of the equivalent rental cost. Bear in mind also that, in line with almost all clubs, there is a membership fee only payable in the first year, so these costs will drop in the following years should you renew at the end of the first 12 months, as well as the fact that, when only renting the car for one day, your mileage allowance drops to 150, whereas it still forms part of your overall allowance at écurie25, so is unlimited to a certain extent.

So as not to limit this piece to one type of car, let us look to the classic end of the spectrum-the Jaguar E-Type, perfect for a cruise down to the coast with the top down on a summer's day.

The rental of this vehicle for three weekdays in August will set you back £550 with 300 miles inclusive. The Classic Car Club have branches at key locations throughout the UK, but in the interests of fairness, we will take the London branch's series III E-Type roadster, which, for the same period, costs the equivalent of £360 with no mileage restrictions, nor the £2,000 insurance deposit required against the rental. Once again, this includes a first-year joining fee (£750) that is not applicable in subsequent years.

See how to maximise your automotive enjoyment further still and maximise your time behind the wheel of your dream cars in the related article, "Getting the most out of your fractional ownership experience."

Although we have selected écurie25 and the Classic Car Club for this example, a full rundown of the UK and international car clubs is available here and prices will vary from rental company to company, but this, nevertheless, gives a flavour of the differences across the two options.

Rental prices are based on quoted prices from Bespokes, correct as at 25/10/06.

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