Houston Auto Show spotlights impressive exotics
Looking for a car with a little pep?
Well, there's always the Lamborghini Aventador, a 700-horsepower two-seater that goes zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds. It's yours for $407,000. If you can't afford the Aventador you can still admire it and other exotic cars at the Ultra Luxury Boutique at the Houston Auto Show which runs through Sunday at Reliant Center.
Making its auto show debut, the Boutique offers car enthusiasts the ultimate in power, prestige, elegance, flamboyance and craftsmanship.
The low-slung, sharp-angled Aventador looks like it could be Batman's weekend car.
Other dream rides include a two-door Aston Martin DBS, also known as the James Bond car; Ferrari race cars; a stately Rolls-Royce Phantom Sedan with its iconic grill; and the only Porsche GT3 RS 4.0 in Voodoo blue in the U.S. Other brands on display include Lotus, Bentley and Maserati.
There are 30 cars in the boutique, ranging in price from $76,000 for a Porsche Cayman S to $640,000 for a Ferrari 599 GTO.
The dealer reps exhibiting the cars said they are in the market for new customers.
"I'm not here to be a museum," said Mike Berray, general manager of Post Oak Motor Cars, a franchisee for Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Being at the Houston Auto Show is a way to reach out to people who haven't considered Rolls or Bentley before and a good way to get out in front of people, he said.
The super premium car segment is recovering from the recession, said Rebecca Lindland, industry analyst at IHS Global Insight.
Distribution for exotics is changing, she said. "A lot of these vehicles are going to China and Russia. If you are wealthy in those countries, you are really wealthy."
Manufacturers of ultra premium exotics know exactly how many to build, she said. There's no such thing as inventory. "Often, you don't get on a waiting list - they put you on a waiting list. The manufacturer decides who will get one and who won't."
Business is "unbelievable," said Kelly Wolf, general manager of Indigo Auto Group, owner of Porsche of North Houston and Lamborghini of Houston. The Aventador went on sale at his dealership in December and he will get about one per month. He already has orders for 15, he said.
'Passion and power'
The Ultra Luxury Boutique is the idea of Houston Automobile Dealers Association president Wyatt Wainwright and the auto show's longtime chairman Tony Gullo. The two decided a nice stable of exotics could be a draw. Houston area dealers of super high-end cars then stepped up, he said.
On Wednesday night, the Ultra Luxury area was swarming with auto show attendees.
Sam Abdul and two friends hammed it up, taking photos of each other beside exotic cars.
Abdul was particularly taken with the Aventador. "Right now, it's my favorite," said the operations manager for a local health care company.
Abdul, 30, said he got hooked on exotic cars at age 7 when he first saw a Ferrari Testarossa in the U.K. He could sense its "passion and power." He hopes to own an exotic car before he is old.
Gabriel Goris, 9, pointed out two of his favorites, both bright red Ferrari racers. A resident of The Woodlands, Goris has been a car enthusiast since age 4 when he saw the animated movie Cars.
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