Do you know what kind of car your boss drives and how much it cost? Is your car type or color on par with others in your profession? According to a survey commissioned by CareerBuilder.com and Cars.com, perceptions are very different from reality. Not surprisingly, a majority (59%) of survey respondents think a typical CEO drives a luxury vehicle. The car most commonly associated with a company’s CEO is a black Mercedes-Benz. The CEO sample includes those with the CEO, Chairman, Executive Director, President or COO titles. The truth is more CEOs surveyed drive ordinary passenger cars and SUVs than luxury cars; in fact, those who drive Chevys outnumber those in Mercedes. And while most respondents think CEOs spend more than $70,000 on their cars, the average price CEOs in this study paid for their primary vehicle is under $25,000. One-in-four (26%) CEOs surveyed reported they spent less than $20,000 on their primary vehicle. The following is a breakdown of the types of vehicles CEOs in the survey report they own:
“When it comes to the perception of what CEOs drive, the respondents surveyed who believe a black Mercedes-Benz is the car of choice for CEOs aren’t the only ones,” said Patrick Olsen, Managing Editor of Cars.com. “A similar majority of CEOs who responded to the survey thought their peers were mostly driving expensive luxury cars as well.” Looking at specific industries, the survey found that respondents working in banking and finance are more likely than workers in any other career segment to drive luxury and sports cars, followed by engineers. Healthcare professionals who completed the survey say they are most likely to drive SUVs and construction workers surveyed say they are most likely to drive pickup trucks. Although reliability, price and value for the money are the top factors for both CEO and general population respondents, related to the car-buying process, the CEOs in this study say they are more likely than the other respondents to be influenced by exterior styling, interior roominess and engine performance, while the general respondents are more likely to be concerned with price, value for the money and fuel economy. Surprisingly, a vehicle’s perceived status plays an insignificant role in the decision-making process for both the CEO and the general public respondents. “Fundamentally, what a CEO of a company drives isn’t extremely different from what the general public drives,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.com. “The reality is that while there are differences between what drives a CEO to purchase a particular vehicle and what motivates the general public, the car parked in a CEO’s driveway isn’t as extravagant as most people believe.” Harris Interactive conducted the online study between June 21 and June 23, 2006 among a nationwide sample of 2,344 U.S. adults (aged 21 to 65) who have a valid driver’s license and are employed or looking for work. Of the 2,344 qualified respondents who completed the survey, 340 respondents qualified as a CEO, Chairman, Executive Director, President or COO of the company in which they are employed. The other 2,004 respondents are categorized as the general public segment. No weighting was applied to this data and therefore the results cannot be projected to the U.S. adult or CEO populations.