Many Chinese travelers returning home for the Spring Festival this year preferred to swap flights and training for cars, especially luxury cars.
Forecast from leading online tour operator Trip.com last month show that luxury car rentals during the holidays increased by 63% compared to the same period last year. The majority of customers were men between the ages of 20 and 40 who, according to the tour operator, rented luxury vehicles – including Audi A6Ls, BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Porsche 718 – to “gain face while driving a fancy car home.
“Renting a luxury car home for Spring Festival is a highlight for these ‘workers,'” Trip.com said in its Vacation Travel Report, referring to internet slang used by young Chinese people to lament their work-related frustrations and aspirations.
While some travelers may have rented luxury cars – already a growing trend in major national tourist destinations – to impress family members, others preferred to rent them to escape holiday crowds and security protocols. travel restrictions amid sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks.
Chen Yanjun, who works at a market research firm in Shanghai, told Sixth Tone he rented a Mercedes Benz to visit his parents in neighboring Jiangsu province. The 32-year-old said he was careful not to take public transport amid virus outbreaks, and it was also an opportunity to display his success among those close to him.
“Nobody would ask if it’s a rental car or mine,” he said.
Residents renting luxury vehicles for nearby getaways — like glamping during the National Day holiday week in October — and vacationers renting limos to welcome the Year of the Tiger in the island province of Hainan are proving increasingly popular.
A Shanghai-based luxury car rental manager surnamed Xu told Sixth Tone that his customer base mainly includes high-income people who prefer to rent Lamborghini, Ferrari and McLaren vehicles for the Spring Festival. Many have also rented them for trips around Shanghai during the holidays.
“It’s not a bargain to buy luxury cars,” Xu said, adding that a Lamborghini costs about 100,000 yuan ($15,700) a month to rent, while buying cars from Similar sports would cost around 4 million yuan. “They are not suitable for drivers, so people can rarely use them after purchase.”
Publisher: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: View of a car rental agency in Sanya, Hainan Province, 2017. People Visual)