Awards News

The 2017 Power List – And the Person of the Year Is…

49 of the auto industry’s top players, plus our Person of the Year

49 of the auto industry’s top players, plus our Person of the Year

Introduced in 2005, the Motor Trend Power List recognizes those who have most made a difference in the automotive industry during the previous year. These are the people who have helped create, engineer, and market the cars, trucks, and SUVs we love to drive, the people who have entertained us, engaged us, and, yes, sometimes enraged us.

We recognized that, inevitably, automaker CEOs tended to hog the upper echelons of the list. So we changed things up a little last year, reworking the top 10 places to recognize those who have had the most impact on the industry over the past 12 months in terms of design, engineering, brand development, performance, product development, and overall company management. And because this fascinating industry never stops evolving, we’ve nominated our top disrupter, outsider, and futurist, too.

At the top of our list is our Person of the Year, the individual we believe has had the most impact on the industry during the year.

Perhaps because the automobile is now well into its second century as a consumer product, we tend to take it for granted. It’s easy to forget that the car is the machine that changed the world, shaped our cities and our lives, and made those generations who lived in the 20th century the most mobile and most free in history. But over the coming decade, as the industry moves into the production of autonomous vehicles, this machine is going to change our world again. Profoundly. These are the people who will make that happen.


50: Olivier François

Olivier Francois

FCA Chief Marking Officer, head of the Fiat Brand


49: John Malone

John Malone

Chairman, Liberty Media and owner of the Atlanta Braves


48: Stefano Domenicali

Stefano Domenicali

CEO, Lamborghini & former head of Ferrari’s Formula 1 program


47: Ken Block

Ken Block

Professional Racing Driver


46: John Krafcik

John Krafcik

CEO, Google Self-Driving Cars


45: Michelle Christensen

Michelle Christensen

Exterior Design Leader, Acura NSX


44: Russ Ruedisueli

Russ Ruedisueli

Director, SRT and Motorsports Engineering, FCA Group. The man behind the 707-hp Hellcats


43: Adrian van Hooydonk

Adrian van Hooydonk

Group Chief Designer, BMW


42: Gina McCarthy

Gina Mccarthy

Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; she was key in the negotiations that require VW to pay up to $15.9 billion


41: Nick Rogers

Nick Rogers

Engineering Director, Jaguar Land Rover


40: Herbert Diess

Herbert Diess

Chairman, Volkswagen Passenger Cars


39: Ralph Gilles

Ralph Gilles

Head of Design, FCA


38: Shiro Nakamura

Shiro Nakamura

Chief Creative Officer, Nissan


37: Andy Palmer

Andy Palmer

President and CEO, Aston Martin


36: Franz von Holzhausen

Franz von Holzhausen

Senior Design Executive, Tesla Motors


35: Wolfgang Dürheimer

Wolfgang Durheimer

Chairman and CEO, Bentley and Bugatti


34: Sergio Marchionne

Sergio Marchionne

Chairman and CEO, FCA and Ferrari


33: Sheri Hickok

Sheri Hickok

Executive Chief Engineer of Autonomous Joint Ventures and Fleet Execution, GM.


32: Gerry McGovern

Gerry Mcgovern

Chief Creative Officer, Land Rover


31: Mark Fields

Mark Fields

CEO, Ford


30: Mike Manley

Mike Manley

Head of Jeep and Ram Brands; Chief Operating Officer Asia, FCA.


29: Michael Simcoe

Michael Simcoe

Vice President of Global Design, GM


28: Tim Kuniskis

Tim Kuniskis

Head of Passenger Car Brands, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat, FCA


27: Dan Ammann

Dan Ammann

President, GM


26: Michael Mauer

Michael Mauer

Chief Designer, Porsche


25: Donald Walker

Donald Walker

CEO, Magna


24: Mary Nichols

Mary Nichols

California Air Resources Board, Chairwoman


23: Luc Donckerwolke

Luc Donckerwolke

Head of Motor Design Center and Prestige Design Division, Hyundai


22: Matthias Müller

Matthias Mueller

CEO, Volkswagen AG


21: Dave Pericak

Dave Pericak

Director, Ford Performance


20: Akio Toyoda

Akio Toyoda

CEO and President, Toyota


19: Ian Callum

Ian Callum

Director of Design, Jaguar


18: Carlos Ghosn

Carlos Ghosn

Chairman and CEO, Renault/Nissan


17: Raj Nair

Raj Nair

Chief Technical Officer and Head of Global Product Development, Ford


16: Jim Farley

Jim Farley

President, Ford Europe, Middle East, and Africa


15: Håkan Samuelsson

Hakan Samuelsson

CEO, Volvo Car Group


14: Ola Källenius

Ola Kallenius

Member of the Daimler Board of Management and responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales, Daimler


13: Thomas Doll

Thomas Doll

CEO, Subaru of America


12: Peter Schreyer

Peter Schreyer

President and Chief Design Officer, Hyundai


11: Mary Barra

Mary Barra

Chairman and CEO, GM


10: THE DISRUPTORS

Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilman

Jeremy Clarkson and Andy Wilman, The Grand Tour Presenter and executive producer


9: THE BRAND SPECIALIST

Johan de Nysschen

Johan de Nysschen

President, Cadillac


8: THE FUTURIST

Tim Cook

Tim Cook

CEO, Apple


7: THE PRODUCT DEVELOPER

Mark Reuss

Mark Reuss

Executive Vice President Global Product Development, Purchasing, and Supply Chain, GM


6: THE OUTSIDER

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

F1 World Champion


5: THE CEO

Dieter Zetsche

Dieter Zetsche

Chairman and CEO, Daimler


4: THE ENGINEER

Stefano Varisco

Stefano Varisco

Head of Vehicle Dynamics, Ferrari


3: THE DESIGNER

Robin Page

Robin Page

Head of Interior Design, Volvo


2: THE PERFORMANCE GURU

Tobias Moers

Tobias Moers

CEO, Mercedes-AMG


1: PERSON OF THE YEAR

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

CEO, Tesla Motors

A charmer and conjurer of dreams, Musk possesses a hypnotic voice and the ability to answer a question as if you are witnessing the answer being formulated in front of you. At times mercurial but also self-deprecating, he creates an intimacy and illusion of transparency rare in a CEO. Musk has cast a spell over tens of thousands of consumers willing to buy his self-professed imperfect products. Lines of would-be Model 3 buyers forked over $1,000 deposits and raised $400 million in instant capital for an electric car no one had seen. And despite some well-chronicled teething problems with the Model X—oh, those falcon doors—the order banks remain strong, and his followers remain true. You can endlessly debate whether Musk is the best or worst thing to happen to the industry, whether Tesla can maintain its capital standing, whether Tesla is actually profitable, or whether it has the capability to leap from manufacturing 50,000 up to 500,000 units in less than a year. Regardless, there is no other company or CEO generating more interest in the industry today. And he does this while running companies that launch rockets into space and attempt to convert America’s key energy source to solar.