BUSINESS

[SUPER RICH] Superrich and their cars

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Sept 22, 2015 - 18:36
  • Updated : Oct 7, 2015 - 14:48

The superrich across the world have long been fascinated by supercars, which, even when not being driven, must be shown off.

Considered an exclusive product for the superrich, it is not uncommon to see billionaires in possession of luxury cars as a status symbol.

However, while most of the superrich do own supercars, some have opted for simpler vehicles, believing that they are no more than a mode of transportation. The Korea Herald Superrich Team looked into the different attitudes that the superrich hold toward car ownership.

Several of the superrich who have a passion for cars have purchased pricey, high-performance cars to suit their tastes. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, for instance, is known to be a fan of Porsche, particularly the Porche 959, and is reportedly said to have attempted building an exclusive circuit for his car when it did not reach permissible emission levels in the United States.

Gates frequently rides the Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriole as his vehicle of choice, which has an open roof and costs around $120,000. Although pricey, it is not much of a splurge for the richest man in the world with assets of $76 billion.

Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has assets of $4.5 billion, has modest cars such as the Volkswagen Golf GTW. However, he also owns Italian car Pagani Huayra, which was named the “Hypercar of the Year 2012” by Top Gear magazine and has been described as a work of art.

The Pagani Huayra has a maximum output of 720 horsepower, and goes from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 3.1 seconds, with a maximum speed of 360 kph. This car also has a starting price of $1.3 million.

Another superrich member with a luxury car is Evan Spiegel, cofounder and CEO of mobile messenger Snapchat. Currently 25 years old, he has assets of around $2.1 billion from the success of his company.

Spiegel has reportedly been a huge luxury car enthusiast from his childhood, and having grown up in a wealthy family -- with successful lawyer parents -- he could afford to drive them.

He rode a 2006 Cadillac Escalade bought by his father after getting his license at the age of 16, only to switch to a BMW several years later. Due to his love for luxury cars and frequent vehicle-switching at a young age, some have dubbed him a “spoiled” billionaire. According to media reports, Spiegel was last seen purchasing a Ferrari priced at around $327,000.

There are also billionaires who have gone against expectations and purchased more modest cars, despite their ability to afford more expensive ones. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, whose total assets are valued at $44.3 billion, is known for riding in his 1996 Honda Accord, which is currently thought to be worth about $4,000, possibly less.

Media reports note that Bezos’ car is but a small part of his frugal and straightforward personality. Although he has succeeded financially, he reportedly refuses to order expensive meals at restaurants. He is also well known for his “two pizza rule,” believing that a group meeting should not have more people than what two pizzas could feed (about 6-10 people), because then the participants would start agreeing with each other instead of voicing their own opinions.

Dustin Moskovitz, cofounder of Facebook and software company Asana, is also a more modest car owner. He has assets of $8.6 billion, but is said to own a Volkswagen Golf R32, worth around $30,000. Moskovitz is also known for commuting to work on his bike every day and flying economy class. Additionally, he has signed up for the Giving Pledge, along with fellow Facebook founder Zuckerberg, to donate most of his wealth to charity.

Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., has assets of $19.2 billion, but has kept his older car. His Hummer H2, a model by General Motors, is no longer in production. Dell’s Hummer is currently estimated to be worth $20,000 to $33,000.

By The Korea Herald Superrich Team (sangyj@heraldcorp.com)

Hong Seung-wan, Cheon Ye-seon, Bae Ji-sook, Yoon Hyun-jong, Min Sang-seek, Kim Hyun-il, Sang Youn-joo



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