Currently reading: Autocar names top female Rising Stars in the British car industry
Hannah Denton from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is crowned the overall winner; record number of entries in sixth year of the competition

Hannah Denton, area fleet manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, has won Autocar’s Great Women: Rising Stars 2021 initiative, held in partnership with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

See the full list of Autocar Great Women winners here  

Denton also came top of Autocar’s Sales category, alongside 10 other category winners from the list of Rising Stars, which recognises the very best up-and-coming talent in the British automotive industry. Outstanding individuals across the categories, which include Marketing, Sales, Design and Manufacturing, are celebrating their achievements today at a virtual live event. 

To sign up to the virtual event, please click here

In addition, an Apprentice category recognises the rising stars at the beginning of their careers in the automotive industry.

Great Women winner Denton started at Volkswagen in 2011 as an area sales development manager for VW’s Trade Parts Specialists in Leicester and progressed to a head office role as key account manager just 18 months later. She moved to her current role in 2015 where she acts as a bridge between van fleet customers and the VW Commercial Vehicles brand, matching customer requirements with products and services.

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Autocar editor Mark Tisshaw said: “In a year of incredibly high-quality entries, it was really tough to pick a single winner. For the judges, Hannah stood out for her obvious drive and determination, coupled with superb results in her job as an area fleet manager at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. Even in 2020, Hannah's area hit its overall sales target. She's quite clearly an inspiration, both to current colleagues and in terms of nurturing other women in her area of the industry, and is a very worthy winner of our overall Rising Star 2021.”

Denton said: “To be nominated for the Autocar Great Women Rising Stars is, in itself, an accolade, but to win the category and the overall award is fantastic, and truly humbling given the competition this year. At Volkswagen Group and within the automotive industry, I’m surrounded by some incredible female role models, and I hope that in turn I can use this platform to inspire other women to consider a career in automotive sales.”

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Chair of the judging panel and managing director of Autocar and Haymarket Automotive, Rachael Prasher, added: “We were delighted with the number of entries we received this year, a clear indicator that Autocar's Great Women initiative is both well received within the industry and having a positive impact. The judging was one of the trickiest I've been involved in, with a remarkable talent pool of Rising Stars that bodes well for the future of the automotive industry."

Run in partnership with the SMMT, Autocar’s Great Women initiative is supported by sponsors Bentley, Bosch and Nissan.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes commented: “SMMT is delighted to continue its association with Autocar and the Rising Stars initiative. This gives recognition to some of the brightest and best in our industry and the fact that there was a vast number of entries to evaluate is testament to the increasing diversity we are seeing entering the industry and prospering.

Hawes added: “The automotive industry offers a wide range of opportunities, from design, engineering through to production and procurement and onto sales, marketing, customer services and a range of corporate functions. Initiatives such as ‘Rising Stars’ highlights the variety of career paths and recognises those who are making great strides within the industry, progress which we hope will encourage more people from all backgrounds to consider automotive as a future career path.”

This year’s virtual event features a number of speakers: Hildegard Wortmann, member of the board of management of AUDI AG responsible for Marketing and Sales, delivers the keynote speech. Paralympic gold medallist Dame Sarah Storey is interviewed about her role to encourage more women in sport, while McLaren’s Mandeep Dhatt and Ella Podmore discuss the strides that the British supercar manufacturer has made in diversification. Kim Costello, CMO of Pendragon, also joins the event for a discussion around the impact of Covid-19, as well as how the retail industry is changing to encourage more women employees.

You can view the winners by visiting The social media hashtag for the initiative is #AutocarGreatWomen.

Catch up on the new Great Women podcast series here.


Autocar Great Women: Rising Stars 2021 

Autocar's Great Women podcast: Stellantis's Alison Jones 

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