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Motoring Billionaires

On May 12th, the Sunday Times published its annual list of the UK’s richest individuals and families. Among them were several prominent names involved in various aspects of the motoring industry or motor trade.

Bernie ecclestoneLast year’s second richest motoring magnate, Sir Henry Keswick, now sits proudly at the top of the list, thanks to an incredibly successful 2018 which saw his family’s wealth rise by more than one and a half billion pounds to a staggering £6.35 billion. Keswick retired from his chairmanship of Jardine Matheson in 2018 after more than 45 years at the helm, passing the role to nephew Ben. The company’s diverse portfolio includes the Jardine Motors Group, which owns the franchises of many leading independent dealerships, especially those of premium car marques Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche among many others; the boom in sales of new and used carshas helped profits soar in recent years. The company employs almost half a million people worldwide in its many businesses.

The Perrodo family, last year’s top ranked among motoring empires, saw their overall wealth plummet by almost a billion pounds during 2018, but they still can call on some £4.6 billion. Francois maintains an active interest in endurance racing and participates in many notable events including the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race.

A very familiar face features in third place. 88-year-old Bernie Ecclestone, who sold his controlling interest in Formula One in 2017, retains his place on the list thanks to a combined personal and family wealth in excess of £2.5 billion. He holds onto third spot despite a strong year for Sunil Vaswani. The Indian-born tycoon owns the Stallion Group, which operates worldwide in several industries including car manufacturing.

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The top five in the 2019 rich list is completed by the owner of motorbike giant Triumph, John Bloor, with a personal wealth in excess of £1.6 billion. His net fortune is almost identical to that of the von Opel family, who come into sixth place on the back of a rise in their assets of almost 260 million pounds during 2018.

The remaining members of the ten wealthiest motoring-related families and business figures for 2019 include Jon Hunt, whose main wealth accrues from property, while the Issa brother’s wealth is estimated at around £1.2 billion thanks to their fuel distribution empire. The Clark family and Lord Edmiston complete the list, with fortunes also well into the billion pound plus region on the back of soaring car sales allied to their other businesses.

Other businessmen whose fortunes can be tied in some way to the motor industry include the owners of various insurance policy providers, such as Sir Peter Wood, the man who spearheads Direct Line and Esure and has amassed a net worth of some £700 million.