Buffett's Cadillac Purchase Followed Ride With GM's Mary Barra

Image: Buffett's Cadillac Purchase Followed Ride With GM's Mary Barra

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 07:51 AM

By Nick Sanchez

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Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is known for being frugal, but sprung for a brand new Cadillac after getting a visit from GM chief executive Mary Barra.

Barra visited him in May, after Buffett — who is one GM's largest shareholders — announced his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, had cut its holdings by 25 percent. As they cruised through Omaha in his 2006 Cadillac DTS, Buffett inquired about the newer models.

"She really let me have it," the 83-year-old investor told Forbes. "She told me about 50 things that were better. By the time we got to lunch — and it’s only 5 or 6 minutes — she sold me."

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Being the world's third-richest man, Buffett was shy about visiting the local dealership after Barra departed, so he sent his daughter, Susie, in his stead.

A saleswoman named Madison Willers "couldn't have been more helpful," he described. On Tuesday, the 23-year-old Willers published her experience of helping Susie choose a car on GM's Fastlane blog, which was also Tweeted out to GM's followers.



After the purchase, Buffett wrote a letter to Barra, explaining how happy he was with the whole experience.

"My daughter said that her dad’s 'car-guy friend' (that’s you) said he should buy a CTS, but Madison said the XTS would be more appropriate. I think this reflects an evaluation on her part that from Susie’s description I must be hopelessly over the hill (a unanimous view among my family)," read part of the letter.

Thrilled that Buffett opted for a Caddy over a European or Japanese car, Barra sent back a hand written thank you note.

"Dear Warren, Thank you very much for buying a GM vehicle. The XTS is a great choice! If you ever have a question or concern, please let me know. It was great to hear that Madison and Brett [Brett Huber, the dealership's owner] demonstrated our company value — the customer is our compass. I will look forward to riding in your XTS the next time I visit."

Buffett reveled that he donated the old Cadillac to the charitable group Girls, Inc.

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