in and out."
That cash has led to a shadier side of the business: brokers who rent out cars that don't belong to them.
One such exotic car rental broker, Raimundo Modia, who owned Lifestyle Luxury Rentals, was found shot to death in a Florida warehouse in December 2011. The killing came after he reported that customers had run off with a 2007 Lamborghini Murcielago, a new Audi R8 and a 2011 Porsche Panamera.
Marotta has had crooked customers himself.
"We've had every type of problem _ stolen cars, stolen credit cards," he said.
To take precautions lending out a car worth as much as $400,000, Marotta said his company checks credit, asks for two forms of identification, car insurance and a security deposit.
Once in the driver's seat, luxury car renters in Miami have run into trouble with the law, too.
Collado, of Prestige Luxury Rentals, has had to bail out foreign customers, often Russians, who were unfamiliar with the laws of the road.
"They don't know the speed limits and they get arrested for reckless driving on the Beach, and they don't have anyone else to call so they call us," Collado said. "I've spent many hours waiting for customers and bailing them out. They get one call and who do they call? Their car rental place."
Collado said he helps them retrieve the impounded vehicle, "and they get back in the car, and they are ready to go." The company also refers them to a lawyer who will deal with the ticket after the client returns to his native country.
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Prestige started in Miami eight years ago with nine cars, mostly Escalades and Porsches, which were easier to insure. The company has grown steadily over the years to its current size: 50 luxury and exotic cars at its Miami headquarters, as well as 10 cars in Orlando and 50 in Atlanta. All the vehicles are owned by the company, Collado said.
"We've been doing everything by the book from the start," he said. "Some (companies) don't have insurance; some borrow cars. With us, we've been doing things the way they should be done."
In Miami, Prestige Luxury Rentals' cars include Lamborghini's Aventador, Murcielago and Gallardo; Ferrari's 458 Italia, F430, and California; as well as Aston Martins, Bentleys, Rolls-Royces, Porsches, Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Maseratis, Jaguars, Audis, Cadillacs, Mini Coopers, Corvettes and Camaros.
"Europeans love the Camaro convertible," Collado said. "They love all American muscle cars."
Daily rates range from about $200 a day for a "fully loaded" Mini Cooper convertible; $300 for a Corvette or Camaro; about $500 for a Mercedes, BMW or Porsche; $1,000 for a Maserati or Aston Martin; to $2,500 for a Lamborghini or Ferrari _ up to $5,000 for a Lamborghini Aventador, worth about $487,000.
Collado estimates that 70 percent of his business is from tourists, and while he declined to provide figures, he said business is up about 33 percent year-over-year.
"When you show up to a meeting in a Ferrari, everyone pays attention," he said. "If you have one back home you don't want to rent a four-door sedan. You want to show up in style."
Prestige often picks up customers at the airport, or delivers cars to hotels. And like Carefree Lifestyle, Prestige offers a variety of services that go along with driving a fancy car.
"When you are renting out luxury cars _ and for the price that people are paying _ it's not just renting a car, it's full service," Collado said. "Someone needs a yacht, or a villa; and we have an in-house concierge if they need a table at a nightclub."
(c)2013 The Miami Herald
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