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You are what you drive?

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Typical business leaders spend £42,000 or more on their car: that’s what a great majority of respondents in a 2006 survey from CareerBuilder.com and Cars.com’s thought. When the survey asked the CEOs and business leaders themselves about their spending habits, they found that reality was that they spend less than £15,000 on average. Surprisingly to the public, only 19 per cent of business leaders drove luxury cars.

It might be rising prices, or an increasing belief that what we drive is what we are that led to successful CEOs from 2006 onwards spending a lot more money on their means of transport. 

Here are the varying cars, and their prices, that famous tech leaders – already firmly imbedded in their industry – use: 

  • Founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates: 911 Porsche convertible, £49,336;
  • Co-founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison: Lexus LFA, £225,346;
  • Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg: Acura TSX, £18,000;
  • Dell CEO, Michael Dell: Hummer H2, £25,000 – £28,000;
  • Co-founder of Napster, Plaxo, Airtime, Sean Parker: In San Fransisco he drives an Audi SF (£30,587) and in L.A. a Tesla of £60,000;
  • Both founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page: Tesla, £60,000 (partly due to their investment in the company).

Well, they can afford it. But what about business leaders of start-ups and SMEs?

In most cases, the type of car you choose depends on its practicality, linked with job, family influences and brand loyalty. While the economic climate is tough and funding for business is hard to get, has it become an extravagance for business leaders to drive expensive cars? And what about sustainability and being environmentally friendly?

We asked some UK business leaders about their cars, and could very well see them placing more value on reliability, and sustainability, rather than horse power and looks:

“We have had a BMW 6 series and a BMW X3 for a few years now, and didn’t do much driving when we chose those; not the cleverest of moves. Our next car will definitely be a diesel! Comfort and economy, as well as safety, with a 4×4 option are our priorities. I used to have a Lexus 200 Sport, which was brilliant – I might go back to that.” – Grainne Kelly, BubbleBum UK LTD

“I have a top of the range Nissan Qashqai+2, purchased new last year. I bought it because I do a lot of driving (more than 30k p.a.) and needed something comfortable, reliable, cost effective – it has a diesel engine – and importantly, with enough space for all the gear I am constantly carting around the country. My wife also liked the look of it.” – Kevin Gooding, OXEMs LTD

“I drive a Saab 9-3 anniversary edition. Why? Because I loved the company and its brand values, and the car was the right blend of practicality, fun and design. While there are many better cars now, it’s tough to transplant my brand loyalty – I need some engineer quirks in my car.” – Eric Mayes, Endomagnetics

“I drive a purple Audi convertible and I chose it because I love driving in the summertime with the roof off! Roll on summer, it’s freezing out there today!” – Helen Nathan, Flossie Crums

“I drive a Buick Enclave because I’m living the American Dream.” – Alex Rahaman, StrikeAd

“I drive a Citroen C3. For what reason? It’s economical, with low road tax.” – Brian O’Reilly, TreeGreen

“I drive a Mini Cooper Diesel and chose it because it’s a cool little car, hugs the road, is speedy, good on fuel and only costs £20 for the road tax per year. [Husband and co-founder] Jason drives a Mercedes ML – and chose it for the roomy space. It’s also a very nice looking 4×4, lovely to drive and can take all the suitcases. We also have two children and a dog, and can’t all get in the Mini at any one time.” – Elaine Foreman, KinetIQue

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