Ever dream of driving a sports car? Now you can...for a day at least

Hundreds of sports cars cruise down the Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence every weekend, tooting their horns and revving their enormous engines. 

Car rental companies will soon be offering the Mustang, above, and other sports cars on lease. Lee Hoagland / The National
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Hundreds of sports cars cruise down the Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence every weekend, tooting their horns and revving their enormous engines.

Previously reserved for those wealthy enough to own a sports car, change is afoot as car rental companies are set to begin offering Porsches and Ford Mustangs to lease for periods as short as a day.

Both Thrifty Car Rental and Budget, two of the biggest players in the rental market, will begin offering sports cars to lease or rent.

The move is the first time any of the major car rental companies have offered such a service.

"Do you want to drive a Mustang, impress you're girlfriend for the weekend? Well now you can," said Soumitra Sinha, the sales and marketing manager at Thrifty.

"We always thought it's good to have variety. We are now trying to offer cars in all categories."

Thrifty and Budget are offering slightly different schemes for sports cars, with the former looking to attract people to use the vehicles on a short-term basis and the latter for up to a year.

Thrifty will offer Ford Mustangs and Dodge Chargers to customers on a daily rental basis, at about Dh550 (US$149).

Budget will start marketing sports cars during Ramadan when customers can sign up to lease a sports car for a year. After a year customers can renew or take another sports car for a year.

For consecutive months following Ramadan, Budget will offer a different sports car to lease and is currently negotiating to offer brands such as Porsche, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger.

"There's a lot of people working in the UAE who want a sports car for the weekends," said Tony Hinder, the general manager of sales and marketing at Budget. "People who like sports cars change their mind like the wind. They like this car one week and then like another so we didn't want anyone signing for a car longer than a year."

Mr Hinder said Budget would not offer Ferrari and Lamborghini because the investment in the cars was too high. Each car Budget offers on lease will be bought for that particular customer and sold back to the dealers a year later.

"We are not here to make money on this," said Mr Hinder. "We are here to give a type of service for our customers."

Both companies will offer cars that are insured but said conditions might apply, depending on the circumstances of the customer.

Given a huge increase in tourists to the UAE in the past year, other car rental companies are also coming up with innovative schemes to win business.

Dollar Rent A Car announced it would offer customers cars for rent on an hourly basis, and would market cheap weekend package deals to encourage rentals by visitors.

"The demand is there in the market," said Marwan Al Mulla, the general manager of Dollar Rent A Car.

"People are coming in to the country for as little time as half a day. The potential is there."

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