Cryptocurrency traders love Lamborghinis. Hang out in the parking lot of any Bitcoin conference or scroll through Instagram, and you’ll see plenty of evidence for this. So, with cryptocurrency prices plummeting and high-profile exchanges like FTX collapsing, used car lots are believed to be flooded with six-figure Italian supercars, right?
It’s a nice theory, and while there is some evidence that the exotic car market has seen a slight uptick in valuations and used models for sale, it may be too early to definitively attribute this to the cryptocurrency crash.
Yes, I know. Buzzkill. But that said, there’s some interesting information in there, so let’s dive into it.
I reached out to three sources to comment on the matter, and they all told me that there are too many factors to say definitively that cryptocurrencies are a massive escape from expensive car assets.
Autotrader’s data team did an in-depth study of used cars that retail for more than $100,000 and found a slight increase in market share this year compared to the previous three years. Here’s what they found.
“The data team really looked into this,” Brenna Buehler, senior manager of public affairs at Autotrader, said in an email. “While this is true, there are too many variables and the data team has a hard time attributing the growth to anything, especially when it comes to cryptocurrency.”
He added: “The trend is upwards, but there could be many reasons for this.”
Auto sales resource firm Edmunds told me basically the same thing. Thinking it would be a little early to detect any movement in used car sales and inventory, they pulled some data from Edmunds’ valuation tool, which people use to value their current cars with the intention of selling them. They have compiled a list of about 70 brands, including Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Bentley and Ferrari.
The results were surprising. According to Edmunds, valuations have risen slightly in the weeks leading up to major announcements of trouble in the cryptocurrency market. While it’s impossible to jump to conclusions, it has left the firm’s experts scratching their heads as to what other possible reasons could be behind the rise in valuations.
“The trend is quite interesting.”
“The trend is quite interesting as our valuations have increased in the weeks leading up to major announcements of trouble in the cryptocurrency market,” Edmunds director of insights Ivan Drury said in an email. “I hate to jump to conclusions as to why (or postulate about possible conspiracy theories that ‘insiders’ knew before the announcements and wanted to unload assets), but I think the data surprises you.”
“We’re not 100 percent sure it’s indicative of what you’re hearing,” Drury added, “and it would be better to see these cars on the used market before jumping to conclusions, but it did raise some eyebrows.”
Drury isn’t the only one raising eyebrows. I contacted the alias CarDealershipGuy to wrap things up Account on Twitteror CDG, which operates a high-volume independent dealer group and strives to be a trusted source for online car buyers.
“The exotic market is improving in a big way.”
He says he has seen “significant” increases in exotic inventory levels, particularly the Lamborghini Urus and Mercedes G-Class. Specifically, G-Wagons that sold for around $300,000 a few months ago are now fetching around $200,000 to $220,000 on wholesale markets.
“The exotics market is improving in a big way,” said CDG, “and sellers are accepting offers that would have been unimaginable a few months ago.”
Given Twitter’s status as a real-time schadenfreude machine, it can be hard to gauge whether the glee of cryptocurrency’s biggest braggarts being forced to sell their coveted luxuries is real or just wishful thinking. But after reaching out to data experts, it appears that there is some truth to this phenomenon, but more analysis is still needed.
Earlier this summer Bloomberg reported that the cryptocurrency crash has flooded second-hand markets with other luxury goods, including Patek Philippe and Rolex watches. But the publication also recently examined the exotic car market and concluded that “Lamborghinis are doing well.”
Maybe it’s time to check again.