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Knowledge base: Keith Timmins was a leading figure in the local automotive industry at both an OEM and retail level.

FORMER SsangYong Australia managing director and long-time industry identity Keith Timmins suffered a heart attack and died at his home in Cronulla, in Sydney’s south, on June 4. He was 71.

Mr Timmins was the managing director of the South Korean brand when it was under the control of independent distributor Rapson Holdings from 2002 to 2008.

In a tribute to Mr Timmins, motoring journalist Brad Leach said many industry veterans would remember him as far back as 1977, when he was team manager of Peter Williamson’s high-profile Toyota touring car race team.

He was also sales manager at Mr Williams’ Toyota dealership in western Sydney and in 1983 took on a senior role at Melbourne’s Calder Park, only to be soon enticed back to Sydney by long-time friend Phil Gilbert to become sales manager at his Nissan dealership in Lakemba.

The following year, the pair opened a new Nissan dealership, Phil Gilbert Nissan at Kirrawee, with Mr Timmins as dealer principal.

He later purchased the business outright and renamed it Sutherland Nissan, ensuring it kept a high profile in ‘The Shire’. At one point he was a director of the Cronulla Sutherland Football Club (NRL Sharks).

Mr Leach also notes that Mr Timmins was a strong supporter of Nissan’s motorsport team which was partly funded by dealers.

He sold Sutherland Nissan in 1995 and became a specialist automotive industry consultant to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), where he provided advice to dealerships and industry analysis to PwC.

Mr Timmins is survived by his wife Lana, children Claudine and Tristan and five grandchildren.

Tristan is former F1 aerodynamicist with the BAR Honda team and later became an area sales manager for Hyundai Motor Co Australia. He is currently general manager of the Suttons City multi-franchise dealership in the inner-city Sydney suburb of Zetland.

A memorial service will be held at the South Chapel of Woronora Memorial Park, Linden Street, Sutherland, on Tuesday, June 12, starting at 1.00pm.

By Terry Martin