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ASTON Martin has appointed international product marketing executive Neil Hughes as its new regional manager for Australia and New Zealand.

Succeeding Kevin Wall, who is set to establish a luxury and automotive consulting business, Mr Hughes has moved from his previous role at Aston Martin Lagonda as senior manager of global product management and is now responsible for leading the regional strategy that spans “dealer, partner and client support, sales, marketing and operations”.

Mr Hughes has some 20 years’ experience in the automotive industry, the past five with Aston Martin where he has played a key role in developing its all-important inaugural SUV, the DBX.

He is currently operating from the British sports-luxury manufacturer’s headquarters in Gaydon, England, and will relocate to Sydney when COVID-19 travel bans are lifted.

Prior to joining Aston in 2015, Mr Hughes spent two years in Thailand as general manager of global product marketing with the RMA Group, which is an international supplier of modified vehicles such as ambulances, armoured cars, and off-roaders for mining and other industrial applications.

Earlier in his career, Mr Hughes worked for more than five years as product and training manager for Saab in the UK, and served for two years with Bentley Motors as global product marketing manager.

He also moved through various positions over a five-year period at General Motors’ Vauxhall brand in the UK, including VXR product manager, brand analyst and vehicle conversion controller.

Aston Martin Lagonda Asia-Pacific president Patrik Nilsson said he was delighted to welcome Mr Hughes into the leadership role for Australia and New Zealand, adding that he “boasts a wealth of experience in the luxury automotive sector and has built profound knowledge of Aston Martin’s products and services during his time at Gaydon”.

“I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to Kevin Wall for his remarkable seven years at Aston Martin, superbly supporting the region’s dealer network, partners and clients during his entire tenure while we grew our brand,” Mr Nilsson said.

Mr Hughes said: “I have been impressed with the strength of the Aston Martin regional team and the excellence of the local dealer network, and look forward to seeing the business through this next phase of growth as we bring DBX into the market.”

Mr Wall, who gave notice last year and has spent the past few months “ensuring a smooth transition for Neil”, said he was “truly grateful” for his time at Aston Martin, which began in June 2013.

“I often described my automotive role with Aston Martin as the best in the world – introducing people to the most beautiful cars on the market. Some of my proudest achievements and fondest memories have come from my time here.”

Prior to joining Aston, Mr Wall had spent eight years overseeing the Ferrari and Maserati brands in Australia, which were both part of Neville Crichton’s European Automotive Imports (EAI) – a separate company to Ateco Automotive – before the Ferrari factory took control of its operations here in March 2013.

Last year, Aston Martin sold 129 vehicles in Australia, down 23 per cent (or 38 units) compared to the previous year. Over the first four months of 2020, the brand has managed 28 new registrations, with first deliveries of the DBX still to flow through.

By Terry Martin

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