What cars do CEOs really drive? It's not what you might think

When Blackmores CEO Christine Holgate wants to grab something from her local hardware store, she jumps behind the wheel of her silver 2015 twin cab Hilux diesel.

"It's got Mickey Thompson wheels, a bulbar and it's raised by two-inches," Holgate says proudly. "I use it to throw stuff in the back when I go to Bunnings, because Bunnings is one of my favourite stores. Don't ask me why because I can't explain it. I don't cook and I don't iron, but I love hardware shopping."

Practicality first

Holgate, who was named 2015 CEO of the Year and who reputedly earns more than $1.5 million per annum, could afford to park anything in her garage, but it's the humble Hilux that takes her fancy.

"I just love it. I like the way it drives and it's just so practical," she says. "People are so much nicer to me on the road and tradies always let me merge. When I was driving a BMW Z4 everyone would try to push past me, or race me off at the traffic lights. I got really tired of it, plus it was totally impractical."  

Holgate, who has become famous for treating her staff generously, handing out lucrative bonuses, says the Hilux also sends a message to her employees that she isn't getting too self-important. "The Hilux is about keeping in touch with the people," she says.

Down to earth wheels

Holgate is not the first high-powered CEO to get around in an unexpected set of wheels.

Sam Walton, the multi-billionaire founder of Wal-Mart drove a 1985 Ford Pickup. When asked about his taste in vehicle he famously replied: "What am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a Rolls Royce?"

While IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, one of the world's richest men, drives a boxy 1993 Volvo 240 wagon to get his flat-packed furniture home.

Another CEO who loves his ute is Matt Jensen, the founder of MJ Bale. He drives a VW Amorok.


"My family and I live on a farm in the Southern Highlands (NSW) with a few head of cattle and lots of things to be picked up and moved around, including mountain bikes, so the Amorak is perfect for me," says Jensen.

"We can just throw anything in the back without being too precious. It's solid as you like, but nifty enough on the Hume Highway when I'm making my way to the office in Sydney."

Weekend dream machines

Despite his pragmatic choice, Jensen says his dream car is the Aston Martin DB10. "It's phenomenal. I also love the Maserati Quattroporte; it's a very interesting sports car with amazing provenance."

Grant Harrod, CEO LJ Hooker prefers things in the fast lane. While his everyday car is a fairly staid Audi A5, on weekends the real estate king lets loose in a launch edition of the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C; one of only 500 released worldwide.  

"This Alfa marks the move of the badge back to their heritage as no compromise sports car manufacturers, "Harrod says. "It features a carbon-fibre body, and has no power steering and just two seats. It's really very basic."

Harrod says the Alfa wouldn't cope very well with Sydney's traffic or potholed roads and so he only uses it on a racetrack.

"I've taken it around Eastern Creek and got it up to 240 kilometres an hour; that's what it's built for," he says. "The Alfa 4C is crudely referred to as the poor man's Ferrari. I've always liked unusual, more exotic cars; cars that are built for a specific purpose."