Lamborghini Miami Strikes Gold With Foreign Rich
Brett David has been selling Lamborghinis in Miami since he was 14 years old.
But never before has he sold so many super-cars to so many overseas buyers.
"I haven't sold a Lamborghini to somebody who spoke English as their primary language in months and months, " said David, the CEO of Lamborghini Miami, founded by his father. "It's been months and months."
The flood of overseas wealth pouring into the United States is remaking many corners of the economy, from the Manhattan condo market to the market for Abstract Expressionist paintings to wine, jewelry and fashion. But nowhere is the impact of foreign riches more noticeable than in Miami, and especially at Lamborghini Miami – one of the nation's largest sellers of super-cars.
Lamborghini Miami's showroom – which boats more than $15 million worth of super cars – hosts a steady stream of super-rich Brazilians, Argentines, Mexicans and Venezuelans, not to mention the occasional Russian and Chinese buyer. (Read more: Welcome to the New 'Russian Riviera')
"The markets between Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil are blowing up," David said. "They are all coming here to live a lifestyle that they can't live back in their hometown."
Of course, Lamborghinis, made by Volkswagen, and Ferrari, a Fiat subsidiary, have long been associated with the flashy Miami lifestyle. But Lamborghini Miami's clients represent a demographic shift. While the traditional Lamborghini buyer used to be a middle-aged Floridian in a suit, today that buyer is more likely to be a young Brazilian in shorts and a T-shirt. And a growing number of them are women.
"People that walk in in flip-flops, shorts and a t-shirt, those are the real buyers," said David. "They walk off their boat and are just coming in to look for a helping hand and talk about some exotics."
Aside from buying the new $400,000 Lamborghini Aventador, the foreign wealthy are also coming in to rent – especially if they already own a sports car in their home country. The Aventador, for instance, rents for $5,000 a day. And David said he's got more demand than rental cars. (Read more: Russian Billionaire Builds World's Biggest Sailing Yacht)
"It's crazy, we see guys coming in and dropping $15,000 to $20,000 on a credit card and enjoying a weekend in South Beach with that vehicle," he said.
To market to a more global audience, Lamborghini Miami has also created a car called the AU79 – a gold-plated Lamborghini that has its own Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram presence. It also stars in a series of short films. He said most of the car's followers live in Latin America or Europe.
Asked it if the AU79 might also be for sale, David said: "Like my father said, some cars are meant to be sold, not driven."
-By CNBC's Robert Frank
Follow Robert Frank on Twitter: @robtfrank