SYDNEY (Reuters) -- The credit crunch may have dented some motorists' dreams of owning a Ferrari but the rental market for luxury cars in many countries, including Australia, is gaining speed as the rest of the auto industry splutters.
Australia's Supercar Club, which makes luxury cars available to a pool of members, is drawing new clients every month who would rather borrow an Aston Martin or a Lamborghini on the weekend to release their inner James Bond than own one.
"I joined the club so that I could enjoy the benefits of the cars without the expenditure," said Rod Spencer, an IT consultant from Melbourne.
Luxury car clubs have become a popular alternative to the costly hobby of owning, insuring and maintaining high-priced hot wheels, giving car enthusiasts easy access to the keys of dozens of exotic cars.
Amid the financial crisis, sales of luxury cars have fallen sharply with Lamborghini, Bentley and Maserati this year reporting sales down more than half from a year ago in the United States alone. Sales for Ferrari and Porsche are down 30 percent.
The decline in luxury car sales has been a boost for clubs like Australia's Supercar Club which has sought to take advantage of this surge in interest by launching new ways to attract members seeking an auto adrenaline rush.
Earlier this year, it launched test drive days that are open to car enthusiasts happy to shell out A$1,320 (about $1,082) to sample a selection of their dream cars including a Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe, a Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale or an Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
The club has also started a Superbike club and is currently looking into marine and aviation projects.
James Morrison, an Australian jazz trumpeter and co-host of TV car show "Top Gear Australia," said the club's multi-location offers great benefits for someone like him who travels a lot.
On arrival in Melbourne this past weekend "waiting for me at the airport was an Aston Martin," said the Sydney resident.
Morrison, a self-confessed car fanatic who has owned 98 cars so far, said the club allowed him to indulge in his passion of driving different cars without any hassle.
"I don't have to sell it, buy it and look after it myself. I just turn up, it's there, I drive it and when I am finished I give it back," he said.