Autocar names top 100 British female rising stars in the car industry

Autocar has revealed the top 100 female rising stars in the car industry, with the list topped by Emma King, an EV pioneer advancing Ford’s electrified plans.

The list was compiled by judges from Autocar and the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The full list can be viewed here. 

Outstanding individuals rising through the ranks of their respective sectors were recognised across nine categories: purchasing, aftersales and workshop, marketing, sales, people development, vehicle development, operations, manufacturing and PR and communications.

Two further categories – apprentices and new digital and mobility solutions – sit outside the top 100 and exist to celebrate and encourage the next generation of automotive talent.

King, senior purchasing manager of EV battery cells for Ford, was chosen from the nine category winners as 2019’s overall winner, having made a significant contribution to the company’s $11bn electrification strategy.

King began her automotive career as a commercial vehicle buyer at Ford’s UK base in Dunton, later transferring to its Indian HQ in Chennai to lead powertrain purchasing for Asia. She now manages the sourcing of EV batteries across the US, EU and China. 

Autocar editor Mark Tisshaw said: “Emma’s impressive rise at Ford is the perfect showcase for everything we are celebrating here today. 

“The car industry is always experimenting, pushing boundaries and looking into new technologies, and Emma’s role perfectly highlights how exciting it is to be part of. The ambition and success of all our top 100 rising stars demonstrate the breadth of exciting career opportunities within modern automotive.”

King said: “The work I do with Ford is a really exciting area to be involved in. Investing heavily in an electric future means our work is at the forefront of the migration to new technologies and services.

“It is a huge privilege to have been chosen as this year’s winner of Autocar’s Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars, and I would like to convey my sincere thanks to the entire team at Autocar and the SMMT for this honour.”

Run in partnership with the SMMT, Autocar’s Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars is supported by headline sponsors CDK Global, Nissan and Toyota, and support partners Peugeot and Volkswagen Group.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “We are delighted to continue to support this fantastic initiative, which rightly celebrates success while working to encourage more women into the industry. There has never been a more exciting time to join the motor sector, with developments in electrification, digitalisation and AI resulting in a seismic shift in innovation.

“With such a widening range of exciting roles, it is more important than ever to attract talent from across all backgrounds, abilities and genders. The calibre of nominees this year was exceptional and once again highlights the women excelling in our sector and the crucial role they play now and in the future. This can only inspire more women to join our industry, helping shape the future mobility of the UK.”

The Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars initiative is celebrated today at an event in central London. The audience will hear keynote speeches from Aston Martin president of the Americas Laura Schwab and former Fed Cup captain Judy Murray.

The list of winners by category is below.

Overall Winner

Emma King, Ford


Zoe Lawson, Marshall Motor Group


Olivia Kaye, Renault UK

PR & Communications

Camilla Scanes, Audi 


Emma King, Ford


Laura Brunker, McLaren Automotive

People Development

Nev Hart, Jardine Motors Group


Buki Okoro, Ford

Vehicle Development 

Hilary Andrew, Aston Martin

Aftersales and Workshop

Charlotte Dafe, Jardine Motors Group

Additional categories

New Mobility and Digital Solutions