Which Vehicles Do America’s Wealthiest Drive?
While luxury makes are prevalent, the Toyota Prius and Honda CR-V are also popular.
Using a list of the 10 most affluent communities based on ZIP codes and data from around 1,000 federal tax returns for 2011, automotive data company Truecar.com looked at vehicle registrations in those areas to determine the cars that the wealthiest people in the U.S. drive. Interspersed with the usual suspects were some real surprises.
The $24,000 (base) Toyota Prius, for example, is high on the the list of wheeled status symbols for the well-heeled, jockeying for position with luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW -- at least among the most moneyed Americans on the left coast. Although Mercedes and BMW likewise maintain the top spots in many of the nation’s toniest East Coast ZIP codes, the Honda Accord and CR-V occupy spots in the top five in Manhattan, while the Prius is conspicuously absent among the right coast conspicuous-consumer crowd.
"For affluent buyers who live in places where environmental concerns reign supreme, the Toyota Prius is the ultimate status symbol in eco-luxury," Kristen Andersson, an analyst at TrueCar.com, said in a statement released by the company.
The 10724 ZIP code of Manhattan -- home to the likes of TV journalist Anderson Cooper and physician/author Deepak Chopra -- was the top spot, with an average annual income of $5.7 million. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the most popular car in that high-rent area of New York, followed by the BMW X5 SUV. The Honda Accord ranks third and the Honda CR-V is fifth, with the BMW 328 in between in the fourth spot.
Fisher Island, Fla., where Oprah Winfrey and tennis star Andre Agassi reside, is No. 2 on the list of the wealthiest U.S. cities, with a median income of about $1.5 million. There the list of popular cars is more typical, with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and E-Class occupying spots one and two, respectively, followed by the Land Rover Range Rover Sport, BMW X5 and Porsche Panamera.
Downtown Chicago, which singer R. Kelly and actress Tina Fey call home, is No. 3, with an average income of $782,000. But the Windy City has a fondness for more mainstream cars. Spots one through five, in order, are occupied by the Volkswagen Jetta, Honda CR-V, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota Camry and Honda Civic.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the most popular vehicle in fourth-ranked Atherton, Calif., where Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Standberg and former San Francisco 49er Joe Montana live and the average income is $768,000. The Toyota Prius follows the E-Class, with the Porsche Panamera, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and S-Class bringing up the rear.
The Prius took the top spot in No. 5 Century City, Calif., where the average annual income is $751,000. Truecar couldn’t name any rich and famous people who actually live in Century City, although several studios and talent agencies have offices in the ZIP code, and cars are likely to be registered there as part of a tax write-off. The Prius was followed by the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and C-Class, BMW 328 and Volkswagen Jetta.
In the only other California city to make the list -- Ross, just north of San Francisco, with an average income of $497,000 and residents who include singer Huey Lewis -- the Prius also was the top ride, followed by the Mercedes-Benz E- Class and GL-Class vehicles and BMW 335 and X5.
[Source: Los Angeles Times]
Which Vehicles Do America’s Wealthiest Drive;
Yes they do have fuel efficient cars, but you need to ask them what other cars are in their garage.
The eco car is there to make you think that they are not some selfish greedy A-hole, but in fact they are.
Honestly, I drove a Prius once and got a lousy 22 MPG highway. The thing is so darn slow that you have to mash your foot down just to get up to speed, not to mention the horrid ride quality, road noise and plasticky interior (don't be fooled by those fancy accessories, it's as cheap if not cheaper than a Yaris). The only reason they're popular among the wealthy crowd is because they're wannabe ecomentalists, showing off to the world how kind they are to the environment as they roam the isles of Whole Foods to fill the trunks of their Priuses with tofu burgers, all because they're trying to compensate for the ludicrous amount of greenhouse gases put out by their private jets and their Sunday-treat F430's.
Which is ironic, as manufacturing the batteries in the Prius contribute to more environmental damage than a regular car does in its entire lifetime. Not to mention there's DIESELS in Europe that are getting in excess of 70 mpg (imperial gallons, so that's 85 MPG in US gallons).
What am I reading? This is an article, for what market research?
All this tells me is how stupid the wealthiest in California really are. Political correctness has lead to complete stupidity. I live in California in a top 100 zip code, and frankly this tells me how much trouble we are really in as a nation. The fact I am not surprised that top Apple exes and other dotcom exes drive Prius’, explains much about why they are so quick to build product off shore. Save the environment of the US and plunder labor from other countries while you help put US manufactures out of business.
Kristen and Douglas thought they would share the left wing status symbol of a few left wing elitist, thinking this was news. Really sounds like two people pushing an average environmental idea, of a few left wing nuts to an all too easily swayed left wing populace.
Or be real, don’t be ashamed you earned it and drive that BMW/Mercedes/Porsche/Bentley/Rolls/Rover/Mustang/Cadillac and smile.
Me I drive a well engineered, great handling, plenty of power Teutonic non-appreciating asset half the time. Then I ride a hand crafted in America bicycle, with mostly hand crafted American components the other half. While smiling all the time!
“If you want to be an environmentalist Ride a Bike, if you want to look like one drive a Prius.”
Why in the world did I read this? I'm a multiple GTO, Impala SS guy!
I remember when cars were built for fun as well as transportation and self maintenence.
1966 GTO Tri-Power 4 speed Convertible, 1964 Impala SS 327/300 4speed H/T, 1967 GTO 400HO 4 speed H/T!
Live the dream!
Why in the world did I read this? I'm a multiple GTO, Impala SS guy and remember when cars were built for fun!
1966 GTO Tri-Power 4 speed convertible, 1964 Impala SS 327/300 4 speed H/T 1967 GTO 400HO 4 speed H/T!
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