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Chicago—July 25, 2006—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:
* 29% - passengers cars
* 24% - SUVs
* 19% - luxury cars
* 13% - pickup trucks
* 9% - vans and minivans
* 6% - sports cars
"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.
According to those surveyed, the most popular vehicle colors among select industries include:
* Government - red, white and blue
* Banking and Finance - silver, black, red and green
* General Business - black, red and blue
* Education - red, blue, white and silver
* Healthcare - silver, white and blue
* Retail - silver, black and blue
* Manufacturing - blue, green and red
* Food Services - silver, white and green
* Construction - white, blue and silver
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."
Methodology— Harris Interactive(r) 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.
With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 340 adults one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 5 percentage points, and +/- 2 with 2,004 adults. However that does not take other sources of error into account such as measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Partnered with more than 200 leading metro newspapers, television stations and their websites, Cars.com is the most comprehensive destination for those looking to buy or sell a new or used car. The site lists more than 1.8 million vehicles from 12,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Recently selected by Forbes.com as a Best of the Web site for car shopping, Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of car shoppers connect with sellers each month.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).
CareerBuilder.com is the nation's largest online job site with more than 23 million unique visitors and over 1.5 million jobs. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company (NYSE:TRB), and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), the company offers a vast online and print network to help job seekers connect with employers. CareerBuilder.com powers the career centers for more than 900 partners that reach national, local, industry and niche audiences. These include more than 170 newspapers and leading portals such as America Online and MSN. More than 250,000 employers take advantage of CareerBuilder.com's easy job postings, 18 million-plus resumes, Diversity Channel and more. Millions of job seekers visit the site every month to search for opportunities by industry, location, company and job type, sign up for automatic email job alerts, and get advice on job hunting and career management. For more information about CareerBuilder.com products and services, visit www.careerbuilder.com.