THERE ARE plenty of wealthy people in the car business but who are the five richest people in motoring?
There are probably no guesses for who tops the charts: this week, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, became the second richest person in the world after his wealth surpassed that of Bill Gates. The only person on the planet with more money than Musk is Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon, worth approximately $182bn (£136.3bn). We could soon be including him, too, with Amazon acquiring self-driving startup Zoox earlier this year.
1. Elon Musk — £96bn
Unlike almost everyone else in the world, Elon Musk has had a great 2020. The Tesla boss’s personal wealth has risen in tandem with the success of the electric car juggernaut, which he had a hand in founding 17 years ago, and which earlier this year was declared to be the most valuable car company in the world — even more so than Toyota. The Californian company’s shares have risen more than sixfold this year, soaring 33% in the past week.
In one day last week, Musk’s personal wealth increased by a staggering $7.2bn, to $128bn. While that is still $60bn off Bezos’ fortune, the performance of Tesla stock is putting Musk on track for a huge windfall in eight years’ time. If the CEO can make Tesla into a $650bn company by 2028, he will be entitled to a bonus of $55bn — approximately the equivalent Uruguay’s gross domestic product.
Musk’s other company, SpaceX, which he founded in 2002, has also had a highly successful few years. In May the company made history with its first manned space flight, sending Nasa astronauts into orbit and to the international space station.
On a more personal note, Musk also welcomed a new baby daughter, whose name we’re still not sure how to pronounce, into the world.
And with a fortune now somewhere in the 11 figures (12, if you look at it in dollars) Musk’s smile probably just gets wider when he logs into his banking app. Or calls his financial adviser. Or whatever it is billionaires do to review their wealth.
2. Bill Gates — £89bn
The name Bill Gates is basically synonymous with wealth. He is a person whose name pops into your head when the conversation about the world’s richest people comes up. It is, however, admittedly surprising to find his name lurking in a list of the five richest people in motoring.
He’s here because he owns around 22% of AutoNation, a US car dealership that has around 325 outlets. His shares in the company have presumably not done so well this year, though, with the company reporting a loss of more than $230m in the first quarter of 2020, due to the disastrous effect of Covid-19 on car sales.
That probably won’t have Gates too worried, though — according to Bloomberg, only 0.9% of his estimable wealth comes from AutoNation, with the rest coming from Microsoft and Cascade, an investment company.
3. Larry Ellison — £51bn
Larry Ellison is the second largest shareholder in Tesla. He joined the board of the company at the end of 2018, purchasing approximately 3m shares in the electric car company, worth just under $1bn.
In the middle of 2019, it was looking like a bad investment, with Tesla stock falling nearly 43% in June. Since then, though, it’s been nothing but up for the company, and by this January, Ellison’s stocks had made him a profit of more than $1.6bn.
That’s nothing, though, compared to what his shares in his own company, software firm Oracle, made him in the same year. Although its stock rose by a comparatively measly 20% (compared to Tesla’s 68%), Ellison has a bigger slice of the Oracle pie — he owns approximately 35% of the company, representing a gain of more than $11bn.
4. The Porsche/ Piëch Families — £48bn
When Ferdinand Porsche, the designer of the VW Beetle among other icons of the motoring world, died in 1951, he split his rather sizeable fortune between his two children, Louise Piëch and Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche.
Since then, under the watchful eye of a number of men called Ferdinand (most recently Ferdinand Piech, pictured, who died last year), the Porsche family has, as well as lending its name to a fairly successful sports car company, become the largest presence on the board of the Volkswagen Group, the conglomerate that owns brands including Audi, Lamborghini, Seat, Bentley and Bugatti.
As well as its stake in VWG, the family has a number of other investments. Just goes to show how rich Elon Musk is, though: he’s got around double the net worth of the Porsche family.
5. The Quandt Family — £35bn
The Quandt siblings together own nearly half of BMW AG, and are worth a combined $46bn, according to Forbes. They are the children of Herbert Quandt, who is credited with bringing BMW back from the brink of bankruptcy in the post-war era, before turning it into the massive company it is today.
The biggest slice of that rather substantial pie belongs to Susanne Klatten (pictured). With a reported wealth of £19.4bn, she is the second richest woman in Germany.
Her brother, Stefan, is also — unsurprisingly — very rich, owning a 23.7% stake in BMW, and a few other assets, for a combined worth of more than £15bn.
Enjoyed reading about the five richest people in motoring? You might be interested in the top 5 cars owned by Hollywood legends.