JLR chief takes top award

The CEO of Jaguar Land Rover Ralf Speth has been awarded the top prize at the 2017 Autocar Awards, held in Silverstone’s iconic Wing building.

Speth was presented with the Issigonis Trophy, named after the creator of the legendary Mini, in recognition of his contribution to Jaguar Land Rover’s remarkable transformation following the sale of the brands to Tata Motors in 2008.

The Issigonis Trophy is presented to the individual who has contributed the most to the health, excellence and competitiveness of the European motor industry. Together, the British luxury marques now constitute Britain’s largest automotive manufacturer, with the company’s three UK manufacturing plants producing more than 544,000 cars in 2016.

Design supremo Peter Schreyer received the Sturmey Award for his work across the Hyundai-Kia Motor Group, which has included the continual evolution of both the Hyundai and Kia product ranges, in his role as president and chief design officer. Named after Autocar’s founding editor, Henry Sturmey, the award was created to salute innovation and achievement in the motor industry.

Joining Schreyer’s success was Kia UK’s CEO and president, Paul Philpott, who took an Outstanding UK Leader award as the brand continues to achieve record sales following its 25th year in the UK.

Prof Dr Ralf Speth said, ‘I am absolutely delighted to be given this very prestigious award. This award is something that I cannot accept just on my own. It is an honour I accept on behalf of all the incredible people who work at Jaguar Land Rover. Together, we have been on quite a journey over the last few years, rapidly expanding our workforce, recruiting and nurturing the best engineers and focusing on innovation, design and customer satisfaction.

‘We are the UK’s biggest R&D investor and are always striving to be better than the best. It is a privilege to be leading such an organisation. I expected to do this job for two years, but now it’s seven and I’m still enjoying it. I still find it amazing, contributing to this thing and helping shape it.’