BMW heirs claim to not be driven by wealth: report

The billionaire siblings who together own almost half of German luxury automaker BMW said inheriting wealth wasn’t all fun and games.

Susanne Klatten, 57, the richest woman in Germany, who is worth an estimated $19.8 billion, according to Forbes, owns 19.2 percent of BMW.

“Many believe that we are permanently sitting around on a yacht in the Mediterranean,” Klatten told Germany’s Manager Magazin in an interview that was published Thursday, according to Bloomberg. “The role as a guardian of wealth also has personal sides that aren’t so nice.”

Klatten is also the owner and deputy chairman of Altana, a chemicals company. She holds stakes in wind power company Nordex AG and graphite-maker SGL Group, according to Forbes. Her father, industrialist Herbert Quandt, helped bring BMW into prominence.

Klatten’s brother, Stefan Quandt, 53, who owns 23.7 percent of BMW and is worth an estimated $16.7 billion, said it wasn’t the money that drove them.

“For both of us, it’s certainly not the money that drives us,” Quandt said in the interview with his sister. “Above all, it is the responsibility of securing jobs in Germany.”

The siblings both have seats on the automaker’s supervisory board. Quandt is the deputy chairman of the board and also has holdings in homeopathic medicine company Heel, Gemalto and Logwin, according to Forbes.

Quandt said he had a hard time when he was given a high-level position at the company and wished he had started out at a more “simple” position such as a product manager.


“My starting point was never: So, now I come and show everyone how it’s done,” he said. “Instead, it was a constant questioning, associated with self-doubt.”

BMW announced in March that profits in 2019 would be “well below” last year’s and that it planned to cut $13.6 billion in costs by the end of 2022 to offset spending on new technology.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.