The prestigious World Car Awards have a Person of the Year category, an award that is also voted on by its worldwide jury. For the second year running, Tata Motors finds on its own in the nominee shortlist, as Shailesh Chandra is named as a finalist.
An Indian is once again in the shortlist for the prestigious World Car Person of the Year. Shailesh Chandra, President of the Passenger Vehicles Business Unit at Tata Motors is one of the five candidates for 2022 World Car Person Of The Year. Each of the final five represents the best and brightest from the global automobile sector – or those having contributed to it. The reason they are all part of the final nominees, is because each of them did some standout work in the year passed. These accomplished women and men have made a difference to their company, the sector as a whole, consumers in a big way. Chandra is the second Indian and also second from Tata Motors to have been selected for this special list. In 2021, Pratap Bose (former head of design at Tata) had also been in the running for the same award. The award has been won by Hakan Samuelsson, Sergio Marchionne, Carlos Tavares, and Akio Toyoda in the past.
Shailesh Chandra has been at the helm of the passenger vehicle business in a year that has proved to be most challenging. And yet in that year, he has not only overseen a remarkable turnaround in the company’s sales and market share, but has also kept the momentum going on future product development. This includes the massive push that Tata has made in the EV or electric vehicle space. And remember, Chandra was the force behind the company’s electric plans for India, which is why we see two budget-friendly EVs from Tata. But the company has also hived off its EV arm into a subsidiary with a $9.1 bn valuation! His electrification strategy is also important, seeing the potential the products would have in other markets besides India.
carandbike congratulated Shailesh Chandra and speaking exclusively on Freewheeling With SVP he said, “It’s a very humbling experience. I represent a larger group who has been behind the stellar performance of PV, and of course, this is an acknowledgement for the entire team’s effort. Thank you for that.”
For the second year straight, World Car jurors have selected Luc Donckerwolke, Executive Vice President for Design and Chief Creative Officer, Hyundai Group, to be in the shortlist. Donckerwolke has been instrumental in bringing many highly innovative new models to market across the group’s three brands – Hyundai, Genesis and Kia. This includes the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Genesis GV60 and Kia EV6. He is also highly involved in the transformative work the group is planning with the newly acquired Boston Dynamics. And the enthusiasts have been thrilled with his attention to revive Korean auto heritage with the restomod Pony and Grandeur models.
Next up are two big names from the North American automobile industry. The first is the only woman on the shortlist – and one who has legitimately acquired a cult following. The Chief Engineer for the much-talked about Ford F-150 Lightning – the company’s first electric pickup truck, Linda Zhang. This much celebrated model builds on the company’s bestselling model-line. Linda has led the development of this F-150 EV, a model that is seeing revolution happen at the heart of the US market, by carrying truck buyers towards electrification. The vehicle is packed with tech, capability and a suite of new ideas, and is expected to play a game changing role in Ford’s future.
Executive Chief Engineer of the Corvette project, Tadge Juechter has been feted for the new generation if the legendary car. Juechter oversaw the launch of a completely re-engineered, mid-engine Corvette, a sports car that that captures the imagination of car enthusiasts and Corvette aficionados worldwide. That there will be more variants on the car – like the Z06 and even a hybrid AWD – only adds to his repertoire.
A most interesting nomination goes to the pair of James Gay-Rees and Paul Martin. They are the creators and executive producers of the Netflix show, Formula 1: Drive to Survive. The format has achieved not just tremendous success and viewership, but has also revived interest in a sport that was seen as dying out just a couple of years ago. Their work has seen the popularity of Formula One and motorsports in general, rise on a global scale.
World Car’s 102 strong jury nominates contenders they see as deserving of the Person of the Year honour – recognising contributions made by the individual within the eligible year. These names are then compiled, and those with the highest nominations and global relevance make the cut. It must be said that unlike past years, the World Car Awards were clear to make a distinction this year – so that no CEOs or heads of companies are nominated – allowing the work of other individuals to be recognised.