New president of GM Dan Ammann has a profile that is unusual, in that he’s a 42-year-old New Zealander, former banker and management consultant, claimed by his PR men to be quite handy behind the wheel.

My previous experience of bankers and industry cheeses tells me some would be hard pressed even to recognise a steering wheel, so I couldn’t help wondering if this guy had been oversold. But it turned out he did GM’s high performance driving course four years ago, was rapidly recognised as a wheelman of talent, graduated to the top level of a seven-tier course and is now rated as one of a dozen of GM’s drivers.

We stormed up Goodwood's famous hill in a Vauxhall VXR8 in fine style, touching the rev-limiter in third (100mph) before scything confidently through the hill's one treacherous corner, Molecombe, and on to the finish. Ammann himself turned out to be a really friendly, interesting bloke who was happy to discuss his real mission, a first official visit to the UK, GM’s fourth-biggest global market.

In bygone days, the GM presidency could only ever have gone to a grey-headed “lifer”, but Ammann won the job last January after only four years in the company, one of a new, youthful triumvirate comprising CEO Mary Barra, head of global product development Mark Reuss and himself.