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Renting Luxury Cars is Becoming a Fad
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Renting Luxury Cars is Becoming a Fad

The fad for renting expensive luxury cars like Maseratis, Mercedes Benzes and BMWs is growing in Tehran. The luxury car boom and its offshoot businesses seem to be doing well. “Even the less economically privileged classes are not far behind in sporting high-end cars”.
There are over a hundred car rental companies in the country, of which “only a few are legally operating.” The rest are either auto dealers who benefit from the trend or ‘freelance businessmen’ who rent their cars to customers they can trust. The rented vehicles are used for a variety of missions; from bridegrooms wanting a fancy ride on their wedding day, to tourists and youngsters who want to enjoy the short-lived experience, the Persian-language daily Shargh reports.    

  Cars Make Men  
Sometimes a high-end car is rented to impress a prospective business partner. The scenario can thus be pictured: First he makes sure that his expensive car has been “noticed.” Then he steps out and shakes hands with an air of affluence with the prospective partner who immediately greets him with the honorific ‘’engineer.’’
 Deal closed, and farewell said - this time the man is called ‘’doctor’’ - the latter hurriedly calls the rental company to say he is on his way to return the vehicle!
“The main reason for renting luxury cars is because they believe that impressing their clients or partners gives them more prestige and ups their chances of clinching a deal,’’ says one car rental company owner. ‘’That is how some people seek to build their reputation in a society that values people’s accouterment more.’’
The rental varies from company to company and is calculated on an hourly or daily basis.  Renting out a Porsche Boxter or a BMW Z4 can cost $400. The daily fee for an E350 Mercedes Benz Sedan is $ 660.

  Variety of Services
Hired vehicles are often used by people “who want their share of the thrill enjoyed by the super-rich” even for a night. A bridegroom who has rented a fancy car for his wedding says it is important for him to make his nuptials “special from other days.”
While car rental companies are a recent phenomenon, they offer a variety of services: cars with or without drivers or for special ceremonies; and to foreign companies as well as tourists.
A rental firm manager says care is taken to ensure that the cars are used for legal activities. He and his colleagues have set up a group on mobile social apps to update each other and to monitor the vehicles to prevent any “double-dealing” by customers. To make business safe, GPS systems have been installed so they can be tracked all the time.
‘’We even aimed to put the company’s logo on the cars to indicate they are rented but then we saw that no one would want to rent such cars,” he says. ‘’But we are mindful of the deception by persons pretending to own the car.’’

  Collateral
The process for renting a luxury car however is not easy. Most companies will ask for a valid driver’s license, a check proportionate to the car’s value and a valid title deed as well as the customer’s ID card and National Card before entrusting the vehicle to the client. If the client is not known to the owners, there are even stricter requirements since greater risks are posed: such as damage to the vehicle, it can be stolen or even used for fraudulent purposes.
“GPS can keep track of the cars,” a rental company manager says. ‘’ We tracked a car in which an attempt was made to steal it,’’ he said.
Arash Heydari, a social researcher says the trend is another chapter in the story of a section of the people who are caught in the “uphill struggle of trying to be like the upper echelons of society.”
‘’There are desires and ambitions on one hand and on the other there is no hope for the fulfillment of the desires and hence the desperate struggle to appear like the top social classes.’’ Heydari believes this struggle only causes more frustration.

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