Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Cadillac Was Actually a Poor Investment
With a net worth of approximately $118 billion, 93-year-old investor Warren Buffett is in the top 10 wealthiest people in the world. To say he can afford to drive any car he wants is an understatement. He could comfortably afford a fleet of supercars or collectible classics and daily drive anything his heart desires. However, Buffett is famous for his frugality despite his massive wealth, which applies to Warren Buffett’s car-buying decisions.
Buffett is also the most famous investor alive, but he doesn’t appear to apply his investing genius to cars. He sees them as strictly practical rather than investment opportunities.
What does Warren Buffett drive?
Warren Buffett’s current daily driver is a 2014 Cadillac XTS. While this is a perfectly normal car for a 93-year-old Nebraskan to drive, it’s an abnormal asset for a celebrity with a 12-digit net worth. However, if you know Warren Buffett’s history of car ownership, it makes more sense.
Before his XTS, Buffet drove a 2006 Cadillac DTS. The DTS was the predecessor to the XTS, the brand’s full-size, front-wheel drive luxury sedan. When he upgraded to his XTS, Buffett gave his DTS to his non-profit Girls, Inc., which auctioned the car for $122,500.
Prior to the DTS, Buffett famously drove a 2001 Lincoln Town Car that wore a “THRIFTY” license plate. Warren Buffett clearly has a type when it comes to cars. He likes big, old-school, American luxury sedans.
Why does Warren Buffett drive an average car?
Warren Buffett says his office is only a five-minute drive from his house. He doesn’t do very much driving. It’s not a matter of not caring what he drives. Instead, he just doesn’t have expensive taste in cars. He prioritizes comfort and an American nameplate over opulent luxury, the latest tech, or stunning performance. Like most Americans (perhaps especially Americans in their 90s), Buffett wants a car that will comfortably get him from A to B.
GM CEO Mary Barra convinced Warren Buffett to get an updated Cadillac by telling him about all of the improvements the then-current generation of Cadillac models had over his aging DTS. Barra recommended the midsize CTS (which had entered its third generation in 2014), but Buffett upgraded to the bigger XTS on the advice of the saleswoman at the dealership.
What Buffett probably liked about the XTS was its spacious interior, comfy ride thanks to Magnetic Ride Control, and the fact that it was one of the only American sedans of its kind available at the time. If only he waited a few years, he could’ve gotten a 2016 Cadillac CT6 with Super Cruise.
The XTS is a poor investment
The Cadillac XTS is a fine sedan for an elderly and wealthy Midwesterner like Warren Buffett, but it’s not a good investment. A quick check on Autotrader shows 126 used 2014 XTS models for sale as of this writing, and about half of them have an asking price under $15k. Granted, Buffett’s is undoubtedly a low-mile example in excellent condition, but even the cleanest XTS models from this model year appear to sell in the low $20k range. For reference, the MSRP of the 2014 Cadillac XTS ranged from $44,600 to $69,095.
The Cadillac XTS also has above-average ownership costs. Maybe that’s to be expected for a luxury sedan, but RepairPal ranks the XTS in 11th place out of 30 full-size luxury cars. It has a reliability score of 3.5 out of 5 and an estimated annual maintenance cost of $875. However, Buffett’s repair bills might be lower since he puts so few miles on his Caddy.
Warren Buffett is better than anyone at investing in companies that go on to be successful and make him a ton of money. However, it appears that he doesn’t see cars as good investments. The depreciation of a Cadillac sedan is certainly a luxury Buffett can afford.