• Oct 12th 2006 at 2:28PM
  • 13

Think captains of industry are all driving top-of-the-line luxury sedans like the Mercedes S-Class or Jaguar XJ8? Think again. Business Week theorizes that most CEOs just want a simple set of wheels that will reliably get them to and from the corner office and to their next appointment with a minimum of fuss.

According to a pole conducted jointly by Cars.com and CareerBuilder.com, the average CEO spends less than $25,000 on a car, while only 19% of those poled drive luxury cars. The largest portion is driving run-of-the-mill passenger cars (29%), followed closely by SUVs (24%). Some, like the heads of construction companies, prefer the utility of a pick-up truck (13%) or vans (9%), while a small percentage opt for sports cars (6%). (The size of the companies whose CEOs were surveyed was not specified.)

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[Source: Business Week via StraightLine]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Why would you spend your own money on a personal car when your stockholders are ponying up for a limo or some other chauffeured conveyance? A better survey would be 'What does the CEO's wife drive?" Don't think you'll find too many Hyundai's or Honda's in that crowd.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Once you know what's important, impressing others isn't a priority anymore.
      • 9 Years Ago
      This poll was done on Careerbuilder.com. Not Careerhaver.com. No CEO I know would waste his time filling out a 'tarded questionnaire. They asked a bunch of wannabe CEOs what they drive, so of course they got these answers. CEOs don't need to build their careers, they're already there, looking down and laughing their asses off at us.
      • 9 Years Ago
      CEOs spend less than $25,000 becuase a car allowance or company car is usually a part of their compensation package.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I definitely agree with previous posters (PuffyC, MattB). Once you're crack the Director level and above in a decent company, most guys I know have either a minimum of $700 (CDN) car allowance, an a company vehicle that is considered better than average, and is usually a fullsize. Mid Level Sales managers are already getting 30kplus cars as part of their package. My CEO's company vehicle is a BMW 750il, and E-level VP's are getting 5 Series or Audi A6's, and I work for a smaller company. The proper question here, is to definitely ask what the person's wife or mistress is driving.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Hey Steve, before you go correcting people, maybe you should proofread your own comments. I believe that you meant that you enjoy being polled OCCASIONALLY.
      • 9 Years Ago
      What's more important is what do self made millionaires drive?

      Read the book "The Millionaire Next Door" brilliant all around, lots of very insightful tips to save the average individual lots of money over their lifespan. And it details what wealthy people tend to drive. The most important thing people need to realize is that you are not what you drive.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Well, I'm a COO and cheap on cars. I've never spent more than $15k for a daily driver, though I have a number of collectible cars worth more than that. That said, I'm also a bit of a car nut and get a kick out of finding nice cars for really cheap.

      Most CEO's and other execs I know have access to a car service, so most of the 'business' driving is not done by them. It's more productive to be in the back with your laptop and cell phone than it is to be driving...

      There is a category of CEOs (Charles Schwab, for example) who are car nuts and who drive themselves everywhere, and they tend to have really nice high-performance cars, but most have pretty generic cars. Venture capitalists around here, for example, generally drive either a Prius or some sort of four door Mercedes.

      The real question is not what their wives drive (mine has a Mini and an Audi, but most seem to have luxury SUVs), but rather what is their play/weekend vehicle. That's where you'll find the exotics, but they are generally not practical for taking people to lunch.

      Oh, and, contrary to the statement above, I don't believe that a car allowance is generally part of compensation packages in the US. That's because the IRS makes it very difficult to do that (you have to keep a logbook and pay taxes on the pro-rated times you use the car for personal use). In the UK, where the tax structures are different, it's pretty normal to have a company car. In the US, car service is the norm, hence the ubiquitous black Lincoln Town Car.

      Chris (in Silicon Valley)

      • 9 Years Ago
      OUCH! I sure wouldn't want to be poled! That's gotta HURT! I would enjoy being polled accasionally, however.
      • 9 Years Ago
      From my IT experience, the more senior the executive, the less they know how to operate anything that has more then an on/off button.
      • 9 Years Ago
      US automakers should put more effort in this segment of the market, the vehicles offered are just to boring.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Many MANY years ago, my mother and I were attending a party thrown by a friend of my grandmother's. I have no idea why I was asked along as I was by far the youngest person there. But I heard an interesting comment from the host.

      He had mentioned he had bought a new car. We all filed out to the garage to admire his brand new 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix. As we were looking it over, one man piped up and asked why he had not bought a Lincoln or a Caddie. "Do you know that I'm rich?" "yeah!" He asked several others "am I rich?". All answered in the affirmative, because he was. Quite rich. He answered "YOU know that I'm rich, he knows, she knows, I KNOW. Who else has to know?"

      This was in a room full of people with Jag Mark IXs, Caddies, Imperials.

      It was an interesting lesson: he bought what he wanted and liked; he didn't feel it necessary to "put on a uniform" just because he was well off.
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