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Autocar’s Drivers of Change initiative seeks to promote talent interested in entering three exciting areas of the automotive industry: technology, digital and retail. It is being delivered in partnership with executive search specialists Ennis & Co with the goal of energising the industry through innovative thinking. 

A winner will be selected for each category, receiving £5000, as well as the opportunity to attend the Society for Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) dinner, the biggest automotive industry event of the year.

The initiative is open to anyone who wishes to action change in any of the three categories. Experience of the industry is not required and entrants are expected to span from those starting out in their career to those who have worked for many years but are looking to join the automotive industry. Anyone already working in automotive with a relevant idea to challenge the status quo should also apply.

Age or experience is irrelevant: above all, we are looking for visionaries with brilliant ideas which can benefit this fast-paced industry, however big or small.

More details on the three categories are below. For full terms and conditions please see the entry page.

The Technology award

Connected cars, autonomous cars and more efficient cars - including but not limited to hybrid and electric cars - are the future.

But who will be answering the engineering-based technical challenges presented by turning these buzz words into reality?

Enter if you are at the forefront of an exciting, new technological world, whether through the design and vehicle development process or with a larger, industry-changing, technology-led idea.

The Digital award

Digital disruption is rife, improving our everyday lives, and at its best when it is making complex, time-consuming or expensive tasks simpler.

Can you envisage ways in which digital advances could be harnessed to the benefit of the car industry, from changes to how cars are created to how they are assembled, distributed, sold and owned?

Enter if your innovation advances the digital space in the automotive world - to the benefit of customers, retailers, manufacturers, start-ups or any other relevant party.

The Retail award

Everyday shopping experiences are changing at a dramatic pace, resetting customer expectations and redrawing the boundaries of great business practice.

Do you find yourself getting frustrated as you shop online, or see ways to improve the experience as you stand in line?

Enter if you have a bright idea to improve customer service or improve business practices in the retail space.

Our Partner
In partnership with Ennis & Co

Ennis & Co are trusted by many of the world’s leading automotive brands to appoint their senior leaders. 

We carry out executive search assignments for organisations across the entire automotive spectrum, ranging from manufacturers to national sales companies (high-volume through to prestige and luxury brands), as well as supply chain, retail, leasing/mobility providers, data analytics organisations and innovative technology companies.

We work with clients in the UK and globally. Over the past two years, 78% of our assignments have been for roles based outside the UK. 

Typically, we recruit Board Directors, CEOs and their direct reports, including business and functional heads.

Our clients are our biggest advocates. More than 85% of them are repeat customers.

Our team has decades of experience not only in recruitment and executive search but at senior levels of the automotive industry, giving us a profound and holistic understanding of the needs of our clients and the industry as a whole.

Our Sponsors
In association with The SMMT

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) is the voice of the UK motor industry, supporting and promoting its position to government, stakeholders and the media at home and abroad. UK Automotive is a global centre of excellence for innovation and engineering, and the shift to electrification, digitalisation, connectivity and autonomy means there has never been a more exciting time to begin a career in the industry. We need talent from across all backgrounds and disciplines to fill the widening range of roles, and we hope this new initiative will help inspire more of the best and brightest innovators to join us, helping to shape the future mobility of the UK. 

Other sponsors

Allianz Assistance

Allianz Assistance is a world leader in B2B2C insurance and assistance, offering global solutions that span international health and life, travel insurance, automotive and assistance. Customer driven, our innovative experts are redefining insurance services by delivering future-ready, high-tech, high-touch products and solutions that go beyond traditional insurance. Our products are embedded seamlessly into our partners’ businesses or sold directly to customers, and are available through four commercial brands: Allianz Assistance, Allianz Automotive, Allianz Travel and Allianz Care. Present in 76 countries, our 21,500 employees speak 70 languages, handle over 65 million cases each year, and are motivated to go the extra mile to help and protect our customers around the world.

APC - The Advanced Propulsion Centre

Our job is to ensure the UK remains competitive in the research, development and production of low carbon automotive technologies, anchoring and growing UK capabilities.

Through a team of hand-picked specialists we introduce those with good ideas to those who can take them to market, providing mentoring and access to funding along the way.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre funds a wide range of technologies. The key focus areas are:

  • Thermal Propulsion Systems
  • Energy Storage & Energy Management
  • Electrics Machine & Power Electronics
  • Lightweight Vehicle & Powertrain Structures

Born out of the collaboration between UK Government and industry, our organisation aims to save 50 million tonnes of CO2, safeguard or create 30,000 jobs in the UK and make £1 billion of match funding, committed by industry and government, available to research and develop low carbon automotive technologies in the UK.

Bentley Motors

At Bentley Motors we’ve been building cars that fuse luxury, craftsmanship and innovation for over 100 years. The cars we’re developing today provide our customers with a connected journey through intelligent services that seamlessly deliver a safer, smarter and more convenient driving experience.  As we continue to develop our future extraordinary journeys, we’re growing the digital and technical expertise which is now as core to our business as our talented designers, innovative engineers and artisan skills in wood, metal and leather.  


We are the originators of the automotive video industry and we’re specialists in it having been established as video experts since 2008. Partnering with over 43 car manufacturers, we are live in 53 countries with more than 9000 installations. 

We provide app-based video solutions to the car industry to create a more transparent and easier car buying, and owning, experience.  We enable automotive retailers to navigate the digital revolution and bridge the digital to physical customer experience. 

Our solutions improve the performance of dealerships by allowing sales execs to send personalised, branded video presentations of vehicles for sale. Workshop Technicians send personalised videos to evidence work and parts required. CitNOW Web provides an easy to use tool to manage the digital assets of new stock and dramatically reduces time to web and our Bodyshop app enable accurate condition assessments to be provided to the customer. 

CitNOW’s applications are seen as an essential tool for automotive retailers and workshops, building crucial, transparent and effective touchpoints with their customers.


HORIBA MIRA is a global provider of automotive engineering, research and test services, with more than 70 years’ experience in developing some of the world’s most iconic vehicles. We work in collaboration with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers around the world, providing comprehensive support for technology development, integration and verification through to full-vehicle development and certification.

We’re traditionally known for our vehicle test services – we have more than 40 major facilities and 100km of proving ground – but we’re so much more than this. Over the past 10 years we’ve invested heavily in the evolution of our engineering capability, particularly in the fields of energy efficiency, connected and autonomous vehicles and vehicle resilience. We’ve also invested in the development of MIRA Technology Park, our automotive R&D cluster. 

Our vision is to positively influence every journey in the world and our engineers are utilising the latest test facilities and simulation tools to improve lives by making journeys safer, cleaner and smarter.

Jardine Motors Group

Jardine Motors Group represents some of the world’s most well-known, prestigious brands, providing an exceptional service that connects our manufacturer partners and our customers. Our mission “to be the best motor retailer as judged by you” applies to all of our internal and external stakeholder groups, particularly, and importantly, to our 3500-plus colleagues across 68 sites in the UK.

It is our colleagues that make us who we are and our people-first approach aims to ensure that we are creating an environment where our teams can learn, develop and flourish to enable them to perform to the best of their ability. Through various partnerships, including with the Automotive 30% Club, Retail Week, the Valuable 500 and Stonewall, we strive to challenge the perceptions of the automotive industry and are focussed on developing a fully diverse and inclusive culture where all colleagues are given the opportunity to grow, both professionally and personally.  

We are driven to deliver extraordinary experiences for all of our customers and our colleagues continually inspire us to challenge our ways of working to improve and progress.

JATO Dynamics

JATO Dynamics, founded in 1984, now has representation in more than 51 countries around the world. We’ve been providing the world’s most timely, accurate and up-to-date information on vehicle specifications and pricing, sales and registrations for more than 30 years. We’ve watched the world change, and consumer mindsets change with it. For the first time ever, our clients face a generation of customers who expect ultra-customisable product offerings on their terms and to their timelines. They demand an exceptional, tailored and instant experience every time, and when it’s not, they vote with their wallets. JATO exists to help our customers provide this experience. We’re able to react to short-term market movements, plan for long-term developments and ultimately to meet the needs of our clients.


By remaining true to the ethos of founder Colin Chapman, Lotus stands alone as a brand dedicated to pure driver’s cars. Innovative engineering, cutting-edge technologies and advanced materials ensure that every Lotus proves the value of achieving performance through light weight. Reducing mass remains the most effective means of achieving a true connection between driver, car and road – a quality shared by every car to proudly wear the Lotus badge.

Colin Chapman famously said: “Adding power makes you faster on the straights, subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.” More relevant today than ever, it’s a core principle that has been tested and proven at the highest level of motorsport. 

Every Lotus benefit from the company’s dedication to engineering, optimising and refining at every stage of the design and construction process. Each car is built by hand and tested around the famous test track at the factory in Hethel. Immensely proud of its heritage, Lotus combines the very best of British craftsmanship with bold, distinctive, inspirational design.

McLaren Automotive

McLaren Automotive is a creator of luxury, high-performance sportscars and supercars.

Every vehicle is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, England.

Launched in 2010, the company is now the largest part of the McLaren Group.

The company has defined product families: Sports Series, Super Series, Ultimate Series and Motorsport which are retailed through over 80 retailers in more than 30 markets around the world.

McLaren is a pioneer that continuously pushes the boundaries. In 1981, it introduced lightweight and strong carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 with the McLaren MP4/1. Then in 1993  it designed and built the McLaren F1 road car - the company has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis since. As part of the Ultimate Series, McLaren was the first to deliver a hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1™.

Announced at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018, the company’s Track25 business plan will see it invest £1.2billion in research and development to deliver 18 new cars or derivatives by the end of 2025.


Polestar is the electric performance car brand jointly owned by Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding. Enjoying specific technological and engineering synergies with Volvo Cars, Polestar benefits from significant economies of scale as a result, facilitating the successful design, development and production of separately-branded, electric performance cars.

Polestar launched in 2017 with the Polestar 1 – a low-volume Electric Performance Hybrid GT with 600hp, 1000 Nm and an electric-only range of 93 miles – the longest of any hybrid car in the world. In 2019 the Polestar 2 was revealed as the company’s first fully electric, higher volume premium car. By opening Polestar Spaces in central locations, Polestar will change the face of traditional automotive retail with non-commissioned product specialists, no on-site stock and an experiential retail space alongside a hassle-free ownership model. In the future, Polestar 1 and 2 will be joined by the Polestar 3, a fully electric performance SUV.

Toyota (GB) PLC

Toyota (GB) PLC is the national marketing and sales company with responsibility for Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the UK market.  Based in Surrey, principal operations cover sales, marketing, after sales and the UK network of 180 Toyota and 46 Lexus retailer franchises.

Toyota (GB) PLC began importing vehicles into the UK market in 1965 and is now wholly owned by Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan. Since 2015, Toyota (GB) PLC has been listed in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list, achieving a ranking of 22nd place in 2019 among midsize UK businesses.

Toyota is the undisputed global leader in self-charging hybrid technology with sales of more than 13 million vehicles across the world since the launch of the Toyota Prius in Japan in 1997.


TrustFord is wholly owned by Ford Motor Company and operates as an independent national dealer group with its own board of directors and operating strategies. TrustFord also owns and operates a number of Parts Plus and Quick Lane sites meaning that collectively the organisation runs a network of 60 sites throughout the UK and Channel Islands. It employs 3200 colleagues all of whom are focused on Driving the Standard in Customer Care. Its board and leadership team is constantly driving the Diversity & Inclusion agenda and take pride in being actively involved in the Speakers For Schools programme and the 30% Club.

Volkswagen Group UK

Volkswagen Group UK is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Europe’s largest carmaker and one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers. 

From its UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, it controls the sourcing, marketing and distribution of all vehicles and parts in the UK for Volkswagen Group vehicles, including Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Audi, SEAT and ŠKODA. In 2018, the Volkswagen Group sold more than 550,000 vehicles in the UK.

The Group directly employs around 900 people in the UK, with many more working within its network of more than 1000 dealerships. The variety of roles within the Group range from sales, marketing, PR and technical to human resources, legal and finance among others.

Volkswagen Group UK is committed to building and maintaining a diverse workforce in which every individual’s background, skills and knowledge are valued and used, and where everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.


Volvo Cars began production of their automobiles in Sweden in 1927. Today they are a global brand with sales in around 100 countries. Volvo’s focus is on innovation and world-leading safety technology, which has led them to become one of the most respected and recognisable car brands in the world. Volvo’s award-winning cars continue to set new benchmarks in automotive safety and connectivity, and the company is committed to its aim of an all-electric future.

Volvo Cars is committed to equal opportunities within its organisation and recognises the importance of having a diverse and inclusive culture within all parts of its business. Giving every person the opportunity to be the best version of themselves is at the heart of Volvo’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy, and it is involved in a number of different pieces of work focused on parenthood, recruitment and promotion, female leadership and cognitive diversity amongst other things.