Previously SMMT vice president, Jones officially takes office on January 1, 2022, replacing Dr George Gillespie OBE, chairman at Horiba Mira chairman, thereby becoming the SMMT’s first female president.
Gillespie steps down at the end of 2021 after completing his three-year tenure, the normal two-year term having been extended amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mike Hawes, chief executive at the SMMT, said: “Alison’s many decades of automotive industry experience will be vital as the sector navigates a path to recovery from the pandemic while at the same time dealing with the rapid shift to electrification and global supply chain challenges.
“The fact that she is the first female president after 120 years is significant but indicative of just how much more we need to do to improve the diversity of our sector.
“I’d also like to thank George Gillespie for his extended tenure during the pandemic. Seldom has there been such a difficult time to be SMMT president and his expertise and support have been invaluable both to me and the entire SMMT team.”
The announcement was made at the SMMT’s 104th Annual Dinner, which took place in London.
Jones FCCA MCMI was appointed senior VP and Stellantis country manager UK for Peugeot, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Abarth, Jeep and Alfa Romeo in March 2021.
Previously, Jones served as group managing director UK and senior vice president at Groupe PSA from February 2019, having joined from Volkswagen Group, where she held the position of managing director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars.
Jones has previously held a variety of senior management positions within the Volkswagen Group, including Group aftersales and customer quality director across Audi, Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles; sales director for Audi UK; financial controller (director equivalent) for Volkswagen UK; and aftersales and customer services director for Volkswagen UK.
She worked her way up through the Volkswagen group business over 21 years, moving between different disciplines, building her automotive knowledge and leadership skills, driving results through large teams, the SMMT said.
Jones is also VP for the Institute of Customer Service, a role she has held since 2013, representing the automotive sector.
Jones said: “It continues to be pivotal and exciting times for our industry as we drive technological developments and customer experiences, respond to regulatory changes, and adapt to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and post-Brexit world.
“2021 has continued to be challenging and demonstrates why it is key we have a strong trade body such as SMMT to represent and drive progress for us all, advancing our interests with governments and organisations, and to ensure we have a positive impact for our members, industry, country economy and people in our communities.”
Jones was also the 2020 recipient of the Barbara Cox Woman of the Year Award, which is run in partnership with Bauer Media’s B2B titles AM, Fleet News and Smart Transport. Nominations have now opened for 2022.