Are crypto bros really selling their Lamborghinis?

Cryptocurrency traders love Lamborghinis. Hang out in the parking lot of any Bitcoin conference or lurk around on Instagram, and you’ll see plenty of evidence of this. So with crypto prices plummeting and high-profile exchanges like FTX collapsing, it stands to reason that the used car lots would be overflowing with six-figure Italian supercars, right?

It’s a nice theory, and while there is some evidence that the exotic car market is seeing a slight uptick in appraisals and used models for sale, it may be too early to conclusively connect it to the collapse in crypto.

Yeah, I know. Buzzkill. But that said, there is certainly some interesting data out there, so let’s dive into it.

I reached out to three sources to get their take on this, and they all basically told me that there are too many factors at play to say conclusively that crypto bros are getting rid of their expensive automotive assets in droves.

Autotrader’s data team did a deep dive on used vehicles that retail over $100,000 and found a slight increase in market share this year as compared to the previous three years. Here’s what they found.

The market share of $100,000-plus vehicles is up this year as compared to the previous three years.
Image: Autotrader

“The data team really dug into this one,” said Brenna Buehler, senior public relations manager at Autotrader, in an email. “While there is truth to this, there are so many variables and the data team is having a hard time connecting the increase to any one thing, especially when it comes to crypto.”

She added, “The trend is moving upwards, but this could be for plenty of reasons.”

Auto sales resource firm Edmunds told me basically the same. Figuring that it would be a bit too early to detect any movement in used car sales and inventory, they pulled some data from Edmunds’ appraisal tool, which people use to price out their current car with the intent to sell. They compiled a list of nearly 70 brands, including Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Ferrari.

The results were surprising. According to Edmunds, appraisals went up slightly a few weeks before the major announcements of trouble within the crypto market. While it’s impossible to draw too many conclusions, it did leave the firm’s experts scratching their heads about what other possible reasons there could be for the increase in appraisals.

“The trend is rather interesting.”

“The trend is rather interesting as our appraisals went up a few weeks before the major announcements of trouble within the crypto market,” Ivan Drury, Edmunds director of insights, said in an email. “I’d hate to draw too many conclusions (or postulate on possible conspiracy theories that ‘insiders’ knew and wanted to unload assets before the announcements) about why, but I think the data does make you wonder.”

Edmunds chart

Appraisals in the exotic car market are trending upward.
Image: Edmunds

“We’re not 100 percent convinced this is indicative of what you are hearing,” Drury added, “and it would be best to ultimately see these vehicles appear for sale in the used market before jumping to conclusions, but it did raise some eyebrows.”

Drury’s aren’t the only eyebrows that are raising. To round things out, I reached out to the pseudonymous @CarDealershipGuy, or CDG, who runs a high-volume independent dealer group and aspires to be a trusted source for car buyers online.

“The exotic market is correcting in a big way.”

He says he’s noticed “significant” increases in exotic inventory levels, especially Lamborghini Urus and Mercedes G-Class. Specifically, G-Wagons that were selling for close to $300,000 several months ago are now hovering around $200,000-$220,000 in wholesale markets.

“The exotic market is correcting in a big way,” CDG said in an email, “and sellers are accepting offers that were unimaginable several months ago.”

Given Twitter’s status as a real-time schadenfreude machine, it can be difficult to assess whether the delight in crypto’s biggest braggarts being forced to sell their coveted luxury items is real or just wish-casting. But it would seem, having checked in with the data experts, that there is some truth to the phenomenon but that more analysis is still needed.

Earlier this summer, Bloomberg reported that crypto’s collapse has flooded secondhand markets with other luxury goods, including Patek Philippe and Rolex watches. But the publication also recently checked in on the exotic car market and concluded that “Lamborghinis, however, are doing just fine.”

Maybe it’s time to check again.