Unlocking the Secrets of the Luxury Car Market and Investment Strategies: Exclusive Interview Autovero

7 minutes read

Introducing Kalvin, the driving force behind Autovero, where luxury meets automotive passion. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the world of high-performance luxury cars and rare classics with a twist of sophistication. 

At Alexandra Wood, we understand that our clients appreciate the finer things in life, whether it’s impeccably tailored suits or hand-selected luxury cars. That’s why we sat down with Kalvin, whose dedication to quality, excellence, and personalised service mirrors our own ethos. 

Join us as we uncover Kalvin’s journey in the automotive industry, his unique approach to car trading, and his insights into investing in collectible automobiles. Let’s delve into the world of luxury cars, tailored to suit your passion for the extraordinary.

Tell us about Autovero, what you do and how you do it differently?

We’re a privately owned and independently-minded supplier of luxury, performance and classic cars. We’re not car traders in the normal sense of the business you may know – we come from a corporate business background and entered this sector to satisfy our own passion for all things automotive, sourcing and preparing hand-picked cars to the delight of their new owners. 

Whether it be an everyday classic, a modern performance car, or an off-market sale of something exceptionally rare and exotic, the cornerstones of our business are always quality, excellence and dedicated personal service, ensuring we build long-lasting and trusted relationships with our clients

How long have you been running Autovero?

The business began in 2008, just as a much wider audience began to realise that the classic car market was a great place to invest. We very much rode the wave of that consumer enthusiasm as prices rose exponentially, travelling the globe to find rare cars and importing them back to the UK for our eager home-market.

How’s the market changed since you started in the industry?

There’s now much more consumer understanding of the cars and the market. In the earlier days, clients believed that they could buy any red car with a Cavillino (a Ferrari badge) on the bonnet, and they were destined to benefit from an increase in value. But now they realise there’s much more to it.

The value of a car is less in its condition, but in its provenance. If a car has fantastic history, was produced in small numbers, has a rare specification, or perhaps has some racing history, these cars will always command a premium and be sought after. A car can always be improved cosmetically and mechanically, but the underlying fundamentals of a car’s past can’t be added or created.

What do you love most about the car industry?

The thrill of a deal, whether buying or selling is always a good moment, but the standout is when a client takes delivery of their new car. In most cases, we’re not just delivering a car, or ’shifting tin’ as the trade likes to call it – we’re delivering upon someone’s dream, as they’ve most likely wanted this car for a long time. 

Like myself, most will have grown up looking up at Athena posters of Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis on the walls of their childhood bedrooms, and now they have the real thing. Because of this, we take our obligation to surpass expectations very seriously, and do everything we can to ensure their dream is now their new reality.     

What do you not like about the car industry?

Not being from a car trade background, I’ve been quite shocked to see behind the curtain of the industry. The corner-cutting and under-handed tactics of some traders, including some well-known and respected industry figures, has been disappointing to see.

Can you talk to us a little more about embargoed cars?

An embargoed car is one that is produced in very low numbers and is only made available to a very few select people. These are the cars that money can’t buy – if you’re not on the list, then you simply can’t buy one… or so they say!

The reality is, these cars can be bought, and the investment potential for both seller and buyer is huge.

This process to do so is invariably very complicated, but it needn’t be with the correct due diligence and the right people involved. Having been doing this for many years, we’ve seen and experienced, every and all of the issues that can arise. Whether buying or selling, our process is simple, streamlined, and ultimately effective, with privacy at its heart.

Why is this a topic you particularly love?

It all comes back to my passion for making a deal and there’s a great satisfaction in delivering something so rare that many either fail at it, or say isn’t possible.

What are the top 5 things people should know before investing in a collectable car?

1.  Be realistic about how you will use the car

How you will use the car will help define the model of car you should buy. Is it an investment or something to drive on high days and holidays? What mileage do you envisage adding to the car? Will you keep it at home or with a concierge storage company? 

2. Do your research

This should be treated as an enjoyable part of the process. Get to know the market for the brand and model of car that interests you. With so much information now available online, you can easily gain insight into how the market and values have changed. Gain an understanding of what affects the prices of these cars, and what are its strengths and weaknesses  This will help refine the exact car you are looking for, and it will give you the confidence to pull the trigger when you have the right car in front of you.

3. Cars need to be driven

If you’re thinking of buying a car to treat as a piece of art, leaving it stationery and hoping it will increase in value, it’s important to note that cars don’t like to sit stationery. Not only is there a proper way to store a car, but when a car has stood still for a year ar more, they will need to be recommissioned before use. For certain cars, this cost can run into five figures and more.

4. Always buy the best car you can

If you can only afford one of the cheaper cars of your chosen model… Don’t!  It is always a false economy and the dream you have in your mind won’t materialise. The best investment is always the best car of its kind. If your budget won’t stretch to one of the best, revisit your choice of car.

5. The small prints with all investments, past performance is no guarantee of future performance. However, collectable cars as an asset class has continued to perform extremely well over the last 10 years, with the 2023 Knight Frank Index reporting returns of 25% in the last year and 185% over the last decade. As another bonus, cars are exempt from CGT.

What is the best tip for a car to invest in at the moment?

This is such a big question. The reality is that if you’re spending upwards of £1m, then there are so many to choose from. It becomes much harder when you’re looking at budgets of sub £200k.

My tip in this budget is a car that meets all of the car investment fundamentals. 

The Mercedes SLS Coupe – a car that features the last of the handbuilt AMG normally aspirated 6.2L V8 engines, and those fabulous gull-wing doors that mimic those of the £1m 300SL from the fifties.

It’s a car that was made between 2010 and 2014. Only 8,000 were produced, with a mere 250 for the UK. The data shows an upwards curve in these cars being SORN, suggesting collectors are beginning to store them as investments. Five years ago I was buying these cars for sub £100k, and now they’re approaching £200k. The manufacturer produced a similar car in the late fifties and those cars are now worth £1m plus. They have no plans to produce another version for at least the next ten years. And the car has one unique feature (party trick) that is only found on this particular model and its predecessor.

Added to which, they’re bullet-proof for reliability and servicing is very affordable at any Mercedes main agent, helping to avoid maintenance eating away at your capital growth. And they’re a superb car in very way. A modern day muscle car with tremendous theatre.

What are some absolute no no’s car enthusiasts are doing at the moment that make you want to pull your hair out (Kalvin doesn’t have any btw 😂)

I believe that people should do whatever makes them happy, but we do see some decisions of questionable taste – which is also why I shave my head instead of growing what little hair I have.

Where to find Autovero

Located conveniently next door to our Hertfordshire headquarters, the Autovero workshop offers the perfect complement to your luxury experience. Imagine stepping out of our bespoke suit fitting session and into a realm of exquisite automobiles, all within arm’s reach. 

Discover more about Autovero here

You may even hear the purr or rev of a classic whilst you’re having your consultation with us.

So why settle for anything less when you can elevate your day with the winning combination of tailored perfection and automotive excellence?

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