Emma Hall meets the car chief whose heart is truly locked in the motor
‘Once a car man, always a car man,’ is how Steve Grey, the marketing
director of Chrysler, sums up his career.
He grew up in Buckinghamshire, but went to university at Aston, near
Birmingham. In the late 70s, that meant a move towards the heart of the
British motor trade.
After graduation, he got a job as a shopfloor supervisor at Range Rover,
where he was in charge of making gearboxes. ‘I was bored brainless,’
Grey admits, but the experience didn’t put him off cars.
Instead, he switched to become a marketing analyst for the same company,
where he ‘felt closer to the hub of the business and to the decision-
making processes’. Over the next three years, he progressed up the
career ladder, reaching product manager before striking out for a job at
As marketing manager and then marketing director, he got involved early
on with Daihatsu’s successful pitch for the distribution rights to
Chrysler in the UK. In August 1991, these rights had been secured and
Grey decided to stick with Chrysler, his ‘baby’.
He moved from the Midlands to a village just outside Canterbury to be
nearer the company’s Dover offices. He enjoys living in a close
community, but admits he dislikes the local parking problems.
In his new job at Chrysler, he recalls: ‘I had to start from scratch. We
did a lot of research and heart-searching before we came to the
He appointed Delaney Fletcher Bozell on the strength of some effective
dealer recruitment ads and did not hesitate to trust the agency with the
pounds 6 million launch of two new Chrysler marques this year (Campaign,
Grey is committed to advertising and insists: ‘At this embryonic stage,
there is no substitute for it.’ However, he declares that his vocational
fixation is with being answerable to the dealers.
He adds: ‘I don’t think there is a better challenge in auto marketing
today, and there is no more fun company to work for. Chrysler is in the
first flush of youth and our philosophy with dealers is to make money
with a smile.’