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Rod Smith

Caesars Palace Opens Exotic Car Dealership

28 May 2004

LAS VEGAS -- Caesars Palace plans to open an exotic-car dealership in October, a marketing ploy industry experts say should help polish the resort's once-tarnished image and add to the attraction of Las Vegas as a visitor destination.

The new dealership, which Caesars Entertainment officials called a first for Las Vegas, will show off more than 50 rare automobiles, including such marquee lines as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bentley.

The move makes sense for high end companies such as Ferrari, whose $1.3 million Enzo will be featured, because of the changing demographics of Las Vegas visitors, said Jim Medick, chief executive officer of the MRC Group Research Institute, Nevada's largest market-research and public-polling firm.

"The advantage Las Vegas has, compared with any other metropolitan area, is that we attract more of the top 1 percent of affluent families. That is very unique for any destination so it definitely makes sense (to open an exotic dealership)," he said.

In addition, Medick said the association between Caesars Palace and the high-end luxury automobile market helps the holding company refurbish the image of resort as a cool and hip place to visit, a tactic that has been at the core of its renovation and marketing plans.

"And it's another move that helps market (all) Las Vegas as a destination. Where else can you look at Lamborghinis in your shorts with a bucket of quarters in your hand? It all fits together. Hail Caesars. It's a perfect concept," Medick said.

Richard Weisman, president of Exotic Cars of Caesars Palace, the company that will own and operate the dealership, said exotic dealerships are an attraction just like museums.

"Exotic cars are going to be a must-see attraction on the list of things people coming to Las Vegas have to see," he said.

Weisman, who also operates an exotic-car dealership in Pompano Beach, Fla., which has had similar effects in a smaller destination area, said he has worked on bringing a luxury-car experience to Las Vegas for five years and has been working with Caesars Palace on the development for more than a year.

In addition to being an attraction for people already coming to Las Vegas, he said the dealership will help attract more high-income visitors to Las Vegas.

"Our customer base is people who actually buy the cars we sell -- they cost over $100,000 -- and we will draw those people into Caesars Palace -- sometimes staying at Caesars Palace, and sometimes elsewhere, but they'll all come to Caesars to buy cars and they'll all play in the casino," Weisman said.

Mitch Simbal, senior vice president for Caesars Entertainment Retail, said the new dealership will add another luxury layer to the retail experiences Caesars Palace already offers with the Forum Shops at Caesars.

"This is a luxury retailer in an entirely new segment (for us). And it's also going to be a must-see attraction for Las Vegas, given the size and scope of what's being created here, that'll attract celebrities, athletes, rock 'n' rollers -- all these groups that have an interest in this kind of market," he said.

Exotic Cars at Caesars Palace, a 26,000-square-foot luxury automobile dealership and retail store, will feature a two-tiered showroom displaying the luxury cars.

Accessible from the casino entrance to the Forum Shops, the luxury car dealership will be adjacent to the shopping plaza's Atlantis moving statue show rotunda.

Visitors will be admitted free to see, and sit in, such new cars as a $220,000 Bentley Continental GT, the new, racy $500,000 Porsche Carrera GT, the $435,000 625-horsepower Saleen S7, a $375,000 classic 427 Shelby Cobra with only 9,000 original miles and the $1.3 million, 2003 616-horsepower Ferrari Enzo.

The dealership will feature private salons, a private rear entrance and a wood-paneled VIP Lounge, equipped with plasma-screen televisions.

In addition, the premium-car dealership will include more than 4,000 square feet of retail space, featuring luxury brand auto merchandise, highlighted by a "picture car area," where visitors can have their photos taken in an exotic car. Developer Steve Wynn is also planning to feature a Ferrari/Maserati dealership at his new Wynn Las Vegas resort, which is scheduled to open April 28.