Supercars are inaccessible. It’s true, we all know it, and it’s even part of what makes them so alluring to most of us. But why. Why are supercars inaccessible to the average person? A variety of reasons contribute to their exclusivity, with cost and rarity two primary factors in their inaccessibility.
We’ve all been there. You’re on the highway, chilling safely in the middle lane and one of two things happens. Either you cruise calmly by the nicest car you’ve ever seen – a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or other rare wonder, OR on your left a similar supercar roars by, searing your eardrums. In both cases, you are in awe, imagining what you would do if that were your car. However, save for Xtreme Xperience or a similar bucket list opportunity, Imagining is as close as you’ll get.
Supercars are incredibly exclusive for a variety of reasons, many of which contribute to their primary factor, their cost.
- They are timely to create
- They are incredibly rare
- They are unpractical
Cost is the driving factor of the exclusivity of supercars. Most cost between 5 and 10 times the average new car in the U.S. ($37,000) with $200,000-$500,000 being an easy benchmark for a new supercar purchase. What is it though that moves the price tag from five figures to six?
To start at the beginning, purpose alone increases the price of a supercar. The goal is to make a car that is not merely relegated to the duty of commuting, but one that gets at the essence of driving. A vehicle that performs above and beyond in terms of speed, braking, and handling and that offers personality – whether flair, passion, elegance, or something else – rather than utility. The purpose drives the development of any supercar. Everything, engine, design, interior, brakes, suspension, et cetera, is designed not only to stand on its own as a worthy component, but as a contribution to the whole.
Next, cost (and so inaccessibility) rise due to the method by which supercars are built. The mass market, robot factory line of efficiency that produces the average person’s small SUV is replaced with meticulous and dedicated works, hand crafting each supercar with perfection in mind. A handcrafted car not only requires a greater number of people to make (read people that need paid) but requires a greater amount of time.
Lastly, the materials used on supercars, from rare leather, hand-carved wood, carbon fiber, and others, all cost significantly more than the materials that make up the average grocery getter. As a brief aside, when we look at the rising cost of the average new car, this component clearly plays a part as well! The general public’s tastes are getting fancier and car companies are happy to capitalize on that!
The time required to make a supercar ties together the high cost and rarity that makes supercars accessible. As the process of building a supercar takes longer, less can be made in a given year. Less cars to sell means less money made, and the only solution is to raise the price of the few cars being sold! However, at the same time, the rarity that exists as a result also drives up the price. Prestige and exclusivity is a price worth paying.
It’s fair to ask at this point, why not hire more people, produce more cars, lower the price, and lessen the inaccessible nature of these cars? Supercar manufacturers, for the most part, thrive on the exclusivity. It’s more than just owning the car, it’s embracing the lifestyle that comes along with it. The few number of cars that is produced means that manufacturers choose who gets to purchase their cars, effectively creating a club that they can form however they choose. For instance, say we created a new car brand that only produced 100 cars a year. We could decide that our cars were tailored perfectly to the qualities exhibited in left-handed people and as a result, we were only going to sell cars to those interested in our car who were left-handed. It sounds preposterous, but is what has sustained the recognitions of brands – most notably Ferrari – for years. Supercars are partially inaccessible because their creators want them to be!
Finally, supercars are inaccessible because they are incredibly impractical. First, insurance and maintenance mean that the cost of a supercar is not a one-time expense. That 5-10x ratio we mentioned at the beginning holds true for cost of insurance and maintenance in addition to initial purchase price. With all that money invested, having a secure and safe parking spot for a supercar is an absolute must – no driveway or street parking here. Speaking of streets, they tend to have things like speed bumps, cracks, buckles, and pot holes, all things that supercars are not designed to handle. Finally, while a variety of Youtubers may disagree, it is not practical to drive a supercar each day. Can you, sure, it’s possible. Will looking for a wide parking spot, worrying about the person tailgating you while taking a picture with their iPhone, and taking every new street with caution get old pretty quickly? Absolutely. The lack of practicality is the final nail in the coffin for supercar ownership.
You probably know where this is going. “Xtreme Xperience lets anyone drive previously inaccessible supercars on a racetrack.” Yes, of course. But also, think about it. Supercars are inaccessible and will be forever. They aren’t worth saving for or striving for as a life goal. Put something else in that place that you can enjoy every day and that makes life even better. Then rip around a racetrack every so often. Let us keep striving for our goal of making supercars accessible to anyone.