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Group 20 supercar club wound up by court

Fri, 05 Jun 2009 00:00:00 -0700

By Peter Adams (third photograph by Medway Messenger)

Motor Industry

05 June 2009 14:54

Another supercar club has reached the end of the road, joining a growing list of top-end supercar rental businesses that have collapsed in the recession. Group 20 has been wound up by the courts, along with sister car finance companies Vehicle Options Ltd and Vehicle Options Fleet Ltd.

All three companies were investigated by the Insolvency Service after complaints, CAR can reveal.

Group 20 supercar club: what went wrong?

The supercar club started trading in 2006 and used a network of franchisees to sell membership to the club. Over time, Group 20 expanded to boast a rental list of exotica worth around £2 million; local newspaper reports in the Medway Messenger reveal Group 20 boasted a Lamborghini Gallardo, Porsche 911, Bentley Continental GTC and, most impressively, a Zonda F Roadster on its books.

However, the Companies Investigation Branch of the Insolvency Service found that Group 20 and its parent company had numerous ‘misleading business practices’. In particular, it had misled potential franchisees, as the supercar club’s owners sought to expand and talked up the potential, but hiding the high failure rate of other franchises.

Why did it happen?

CAR Online has tried to contact Gary Franklin, owner and boss of Group 20, but without success. One person familiar with the supercar rental business told CAR that Group 20 had invested too much, too early – building the infrastructure for the business before it had a strong enough market.

‘Most supercar clubs start small and expand,’ said our source. ‘But [Group 20] set up four depots with 16 cars. You typically need a ratio of around eight members to one car. With 16 cars you’re going need over 100 members. I think that was the fundamental flaw.’

But Group 20 also had a confusing mix of models on its rental lists. ‘It had a very diverse range of cars, from a Mini to a Zonda. The customer who wants to drive a Zonda isn’t the same customer who wants to drive a Mini.’

Other supercar club failures

CAR recently reported the failure of P1 International, the supercar club set up by ex-F1 driver Damon Hill. He petitioned the high court to wind up P1 after falling out with his former racing manager Michael Breem.

By Peter Adams (third photograph Medway Messenger)