AUTO EXPRESS PERSON OF THE PAST 30 YEARS
the Asian economic crisis. But by determination and a commitment to following a path towards reliability and quality it survived and has grown consistently ever since.
“The true challenge has been to move the Kia brand from the lowlands of ‘budget-brand’ to the current heights of stylish, aspirational, quality mainstream with some exceptional products such as the Stinger Gran Turismo showing just where our technological, engineering and dynamic ambitions lie.
“Delivering advanced quality products to a growing customer base demands consistency and commitment, and in every part of the organisation there is a shared hunger to change perceptions about Kia and to exceed the expectations of those motorists who put their trust in us.”
“The true challenge has been to move the Kia brand from the lowlands of ‘budgetbrand’ to the current heights of stylish, aspirational, quality mainstream with some exceptional products” Paul Philpott President and chief executive at Kia Motors (UK) Limited
ANDY Palmer is no stranger to the pages of Auto Express. In 2012 he was the first number one in the annual Auto Express Brit List, receiving a place in the Auto Express Hall of Fame as a result. Since then, he has arguably gone on to even greater things as the president and CEO of Aston Martin, reviving and repositioning the British brand as the maker of beautiful, luxurious sporting cars that are the envy of the world.
With his work at Nissan in helping to shape cars like the Qashqai and Leaf, plus his work at Aston Martin, he was the clear choice when it came to recognising the individual who has made the biggest impact over the 30 years Auto Express has been published.
Palmer’s career started out as an engineering student before moving on to Austin Rover. There he worked on everything from the Mini to the Rover/honda relationship, before joining Nissan in 1991. Over the next 23 years, he had responsibility for all of Nissan’s product development and marketing, as well as for luxury brand Infiniti.
It had to be something very special to tear him away, and it was – the offer to head up one of the great automotive brands: Aston Martin. In just over four years, he’s transformed its product lineup into a group of world beaters with exciting plans for an SUV, electrification, UK manufacturing, the revival of Lagonda as an all-electric luxury brand and motorsport success. Most importantly, Aston Martin is back in the black and profitable under Palmer.
Palmer himself is humble enough to stress that it’s all been a team effort, both at Nissan and Aston. But every team needs a leader and Palmer is a man, an engineer, who leads from the front with a combination of intelligence, astuteness and humility that has made him the most influential person in the motor industry over the past 30 years.
“With his work at Nissan in helping to shape cars like the Qashqai and Leaf, plus his work at Aston Martin, he was the clear choice”