High End Sports Car Makers Cut Back on Charitable Donations

While it's logical to assume that there isn't an industry that has escaped the global recession, I would have thought that manufacturer's of high end toys for boys just might be immune ('toys for girls' too -- but your spend vices are different). And when it comes to charitable giving, what better way to take a little income redistribution away from government and have it come by way of providers to the rich and famous.

But according to Bloomberg.com, I would be wrong. Late last week, Bloomberg wrote, East Side House Settlement, "a Bronx based charity that helps disadvantaged kids prepare for college ... held their annual auto auction and gala in New York ... [and] couldn't get an automaker to donate a sports car for its auction ... -- last year, a Porsche 911 GT3 was auctioned for $150,000." But all was not lost. Aston Martin displayed their new $200,000 Rapide and donated "a week-long test drive and a one-day driving lesson at Aston Martin's Performance Driving School in Detroit". It is noteworthy, however, that "The Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, which manages the [subsequent] auto show, lets the charity use the Javits Center for free."

Just in case there are any CPO's out there who are making far above the median salary: The new Aston Martin, according to Bloomberg, "comes with a hand-stitched leather interior and buyers can choose any color they want. Each Rapide is assembled by hand, a painstaking process that takes about 200 hours." And if that doesn't offend your frugal sensibilities, Sarah Durose, Aston Martin North America's brand communications manager is quoted saying "Our customers don't want compromises".

Maybe this is all on track. If you can't afford one of these cars for yourself -- or as a gift this year, like Aston Martin couldn't -- perhaps a trip to that Driving School will get your wheels spinning.

William Busch

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