How to Drive Your Dream Car by the Day

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you've always dreamed of driving a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Aston Martin, now's your chance to get behind the wheel of one of without shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to own it.

Hertz, the world's largest general use airport car rental company, has just announced the launch of Hertz Dream Cars, a line of ultra-high-end performance cars.

The company's rentable collection includes Audis, Bentleys, the Ferrari F430, the SRT Viper, Tesla Model S and Lamborghini Gallardo, among others.

They rent for between $1,500 and $2,700 a day.

"We thought, why don't we spice up the fleet with cars people would aspire to?" says Hertz's Paul Sheldon, vice president of rent a car operations.

That line of thinking is paying off. Not only has the company rented several hundred dream cars since launching the program in June; one couple actually bought a Ferrari after renting one, Sheldon says.

"A husband and wife in Phoenix rented one and upon return asked where they are for sale so they could go buy one," Sheldon continues. "And we found out later they did buy it. It's not everyday you hear that kind of story."

As you can imagine, the dream cars are not available at all Hertz locations. The company rolled out the program at 35 sites based on geographic studies of car ownership, Sheldon says, going to cities where there was already a significant level of ownership of such high-end vehicles.

"We thought if the consumers who live there own these, perhaps there's more of an interest in them," Sheldon says.

Some of the locations where dream cars are available include Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston and Las Vegas.

Hertz declined to reveal how much it invested in the program.

A large component is the accompanying white-glove, VIP treatment Hertz gives customers who rent the luxury cars, Sheldon says. The experience includes customers being greeted by a Hertz representative at the airport terminal with the dream car or picking the guest up and bringing them to the Hertz facility.

Before being allowed to drive the car, there's also a brief explanation of the car's workings, Sheldon says.

"These need explanations. They are not for the faint of heart," Sheldon says.

And for the real sports car enthusiast, it must be noted that all of the cars in Hertz's Dream Car collection are automatic transmissions — no standards available.

Still, Sheldon says, the collection definitely separates Hertz from the pack.

"I think it goes beyond being competitive," Sheldon says. "This is another niche for Hertz to have that the competition does not."

This isn't the first time Hertz has branched into specialty cars. The company already offers a line it calls the Green Traveler Collection — hybrid, electric and clean diesel vehicles that offer high fuel efficiency and are easy on the wallet.

Hertz operates in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and New Zealand.

— By Mia Taylor

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