Millions of pounds’ worth of high end Lamborghinis, Porsches, Ferraris and Mercedes are being driven out of Sheffield showrooms thanks to the prestige car market undergoing a resurgence.
“People have got confidence back,” says Mark Holland, owner of John Holland, a luxury used car showroom established in Sheffield 40 years ago and based on Meadowhall Road.
“The car market for luxury, prestige and performance cars is very, very good. Our biggest problem is getting hold of enough stock. We’ve got the customers for the vehicles, it’s just getting hold of the cars.
“The market’s been very strong the last 12 months.”
It is a post-recession boost being felt across the city. At Top Cars, based in Hillsborough, owner Tony Singh says the high-end market has become ‘buoyant’.
“The recession did have a big impact,” Mr Singh adds, “because it’s a leisure business, and leisure businesses were affected. It’s not a necessity to drive about in a car like these. That lasted a few years, but the market has now become buoyant again as we come out the other end.
“We concentrate on selling the rarer cars, rather than doing numbers. Everything we buy is rare. It has to be in a special colour, low ownership, and genuine examples. That’s what people love. A lot of our customers will store their cars in garages and they want them pristine.”
The showroom currently boasts a lime green Lamborghini Murcielago as well as a McLaren MP4-12C and a Ferrari F430 Coupe.
John Holland Sales also currently lists a 550-horsepower Mercedes C63 AMG Black, one of only two in existence in the UK with under 10,000 miles on the clock, at £105,000.
So what makes a Sheffielder with a few bob drop north of £100,000 on a car?
“It’s a pension,” says Mr Holland.
“I think a lot of people are realising these cars are investments.
“People who have got money to invest aren’t getting a return in the bank, but these cars have been growing and growing.
“We sold a client a Ferrari 328 GTS in May 2013. That car’s retail price has more than doubled in the two years he’s had it.”
“People are putting money into cars as a pension because they’ve got something they can look at, they can drive, they can get enjoyment out of, but are also very good investments. I think it will just get busier and busier.
“We haven’t seen it for a long time, not to this level. There’s confidence in the classic and collectors’ car market.
“We sold a 1982 Ferrari 512 BBI in May 2013 for £275,000. That car in three years time will be worth half a million pounds.
“But it’s all a guess, it’s like the property market.
“I don’t see any slowdown, I think it will keep growing. The hardest bit will be getting hold of the stock.”
Both Mr Holland - a former mechanic turned showroom owner - and Mr Singh say their passion for cars has helped grow their businesses and guide them through the recession.
“Top Cars has been going since 2001. I founded the business,” said Mr Singh, who also owns a property development firm as well as nightclubs and bars.
“I have a passion for cars, I love cars, I love the beauty of them.
“Entrepreneurialism is what drives me. If you want to get anywhere you have to get up in the morning and work hard.
“I have had strong support from the banks as well, who have invested in me and other projects that I’ve done - they took me to meet Duncan Bannatyne.
“But staying grounded helps a lot. It would be easy to get carried away with all these nice cars but you’ve got to stay grounded, and I just enjoy doing what I do.”
Mr Holland forecasts his firm will keep growing as the market does, putting that down to strong customer service breeding loyal customers. He said: “The business has been growing over the last 10 years. It’s grown year on year.
“For us, it’s the way we’ve done our marketing. We’re a lot better known now, and if you look after your client base you get a lot of repeat business. We’ve got a lot of clients who have bought 10 or 12 cars from us.
“We have cars starting from £15,000 upwards and they get the same level of attention as the supercars.
“Four years ago we had seven staff. Now we’ve got 22.
“We won national car dealer of the year awards in London last year which has given us a big boost as well.
“I don’t see any slowdown, I think it will keep growing.”