Highway to HappinessLEFAIR
Like the romanticism and unattainability of the lost city of Atlantis, Atlantis Motor Group (AMG), is its own utopia- a utopia of luxury exotic cars. Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis- it is a toy store for billionaires. Located just across from the Boca Marina Yacht Club in Boca Raton, Florida, the showroom and dealership services the rich and famous. Owners Richard Weisman, a self-described car guy and Ken Gold have known each other and their general manager, Naz, for twenty five years. The three turned their passion for exotic cars into careers.
The exotic car business is different from regular auto retail in that exotic dealers are in the business of want, whereas those who sell Toyotas, Hondas, and run-of-the-mill automobiles, are in the business of need. When someone buys a car because they need a car and they are on a budget, going to the dealership is a chore and people often dread being up-sold or pushed into a purchase. When people come to AMG, they are looking for a new toy. The want business is way different from the need business, and it is a lot more fun, said owner Richard Weisman.
There are many reasons why someone might choose to purchase an exotic luxury car. For some people it is a sign of status. Maybe it is a way to look or feel more attractive. For others it is a way to reward themselves for their hard work and success. Some have dreamt of it all their lives, while others have been avid collectors for years.
A guy called today who sold his company for twenty million dollars and he wanted to reward himself. We have a lot of people who are collectors and own 20 or 50 exotic cars. AMG has one customer who has a collection of as many as 420 cars. According to Weisman, he probably knows around 30 to 40 billionaires. Those are the people who buy the cars we sell, he says. Weisman always asks his clients how they make their fortunes. I have heard every kind of way to get rich- 1,000 different ways, he said, That is what is so great about this country.
While AMG is located in Boca Raton, only 50% of their sales are made locally, and the rest are made all over the world. When it comes to serving their clientele, the AMG emphasis is on making things as simple and straightforward as possible. Convenience is key. We will pick them up from the airport and make the paperwork quick and easy, said Weisman. We will deliver cars to their house. And in this current economy, AMG is having a hard time holding on to their inventory. I have never seen time like this, Weisman said. Every time we get a car we sell it right away. Because there are only a limited quantity available in the world of some of these makes and models, the market is tight. Consequently, locating and sourcing inventory is a large part of AMGs business. AMG buys cars from private individuals and other dealers. They also accept trades. AMG pays top dollar, the most a dealer can pay, for exotic luxury cars and they try to make it as easy as possible for people to sell their cars.
Naturally, working in this industry provides many extravagant and remarkable experiences.
When I had my dealership in Vegas I had a client who lived in Lake Tahoe and he wanted to sell some cars, Weisman said. He has got 8 acres right on the lake. I pulled up his driveway and he pressed a button and his driveway lifted up and we drove into an elevator and underground he had 100 cars under his house.
Weisman explained that as an owner of an exotic car dealership, sometimes it is hard not to fall in love with the inventory, but you have to resist. Some I have been tempted to keep, he said. I had a 1998 Turbo S Porsche that was built in the Special Wishes department at Porsche. Special Wishes, or Sonderwunsch in German, is the premier department at Porsche that offers individual customization options. There were only two ever made with this specific set up, he said. I have also always been a huge lover of the Ferrari F40.
Speaking of Ferraris, Weisman was once discussing the sale of a Ferrari for 16 million dollars with a gentleman who came in to purchase collectable Ferraris. His people were there and my people were there, Weisman said, and he asked if he could talk to me alone for a second. So we stepped outside and he said, I do not want to give you the wrong Idea. I’m not some rich guy. My car budget is only five million dollars a year.
When it comes to serving their clientele, Weisman abides by a sales philosophy that he wrote: sell more by selling less. Everyone likes to buy but no one likes to be sold. …I am not here to sell cars, Weisman said. I am here to help people buy them.
Weisman puts his customers needs before his own. I want them to be happy, he said. I will not sell a car to a person if I do not think it s the right car for them. This is an industry that has ethically challenged dealers. We go out of our way to treat our customers fairly and correctly and we stand behind what we sell.
When asked why he goes above and beyond for his customers, Weisman said, Recently, we delivered a very special car to a customer and he sent me a video of himself driving the car on the highway. That is what drives me. It is rewarding to deliver a car and make someone happy.