On March 23, 40 to 50 well-heeled local auto enthusiasts gathered at Nott Autocorp — by invitation only — for the opportunity to become charter members of Winnipeg’s first ever fractional Exotic Car Club.
Nott Autocorp president Trevor Nott compares the Exotic Car Club concept to that of the better-known time share wherein vacationers buy part ownership of a holiday apartment or condo. “Essentially,” Nott explains, “our car club members are paying to lease eight different exotic cars.”
The models include a Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari F430, Audi RT Spider, Maserati GT Coupe, Aston Martin Vantage, Porsche 911 and Tesla Model S. (Nott Autocorp is the Canadian distributor for Tesla.)
“Everyone who came was really excited about the concept,” Nott says. “We played up the sounds of the different models’ exhaust systems over our audio system.”
There are three membership levels ranging from $595 to $1,400 a month, Nott notes. “Some members will be paying corporately and sharing an exotic experience as a perk with select staff and clients,” he adds.
The new exotic car club is actually a joint venture between Nott and Glen Buhler, the founder and president of Today’s Executive Network Inc. (TEN), Manitoba’s premier executive networking organization.
“We do movie premières, high-performance driving experiences, conferences with celebrity keynotes and other group activities intended to provide through unique networking experiences and learning opportunities and have fun while growing your business,” Buhler explains.
Last summer, Buhler organized a TEN event at a race track with a number of race cars acquired for the occasion. “We had a phenomenal time,” he says.
“I happen to have one of the cars sitting in my driveway,” he recalls. “A neighbour came over to admire the car and, while we were talking, he mentioned that he had a Lamborghini in the garage but said that he never drove it because of the insurance and maintenance costs. It occurred to me that there are probably other people in that situation.”
Buhler did some research and learned about fractional exotic car clubs in larger centres such as New York and Toronto. He says that he at first thought that he would start such a club locally on his own.
“I talked to Trevor (Nott) about it and he really liked the idea,” Buhler says. “I have been buying my cars from Trevor for years. I was one of his first customers. I felt that he would be the perfect partner.”
“It really makes sense,” adds Nott of the fractional exotic car club concept. “It can be difficult convincing your spouse that you want to buy a luxury car which is mainly going to sit in your garage because of the costs associated with running it.
“We will store club members’ regular cars here while they are driving our exotic models. We will deliver the models to your home or office and pick them up when you are finished driving them.”
Nott notes that the exotic car club models will be separate from Nott Autocorp’s regular inventory. The models will also be available for rental by other customers when not being driven for exotic car club members.
“We have about 20 people committed so far to the club,” Nott reports. “We are planning another introductory session in a week or so. We are capping club membership at 50. We begin club operations on April 1.”
Nott adds that Nott Autocorp enjoyed its best sales results ever over the first couple of months of the year. “I normally encourage staff to take time off over the winter,” he says. “Not this winter.”
Nott has also added a couple of new sales staff. Della Larson has been in auto sales for more than 12 years, while Valter Cardoso is brand new. Cardoso started on the sales floor at the beginning of March.
“I have a passion for cars,” says the former project manager and systems analyst. “It made sense to me to combine my previous experience and my love of cars. I think I bring a different perspective to auto sales.”
Larson notes that she had a good friend who worked for Nott Autocorp. “I wanted to try something different in auto sales,” she says. “I did the right thing coming here (in mid-March). This is an amazing place. I am enjoying getting to know all about Mercedes and Infinitis and Audis. I love them all.”
Dealer of the Week
Sales Rep: James Davisson
Dealership: Birchwood Chevrolet Buick GMC
No. of Years: 18 months
Favourite Model: 2017 Chevrolet Malibu
Why: “The Malibu is the right size for me,” Davisson says. “I have friends who are six-foot-three and six-foot-four. There’s lots of room for them in the front and back seats. And I think the Malibu looks great.”