David Ingram retired yesterday after 36 years in the Volkswagen Group, 34 years of which have been spent with Audi, where he was one of the original team at Milton Keynes which launched the brand in the separation of 1993.
A key product expert who has seen sales rise from under 20,000 cars in 1993 to exceed 142,000 in 2014, David was at Audi when the first quattro models were launched, when the first rallies were won and when the very first chapters in the remarkable Audi Le Mans sports car racing success story were written.
During his time with the brand, David has earned widespread respect for his detailed product technical knowledge and his genuine enthusiasm for cars and engineering.
These assets saw him build key relationships throughout his career with Volkswagen Group and Audi engineers, Board members, the brands’ various racing teams, drivers and members of the press worldwide.
Uniquely David served for many years as the UK Right Hand Drive representative for the Group’s international secret prototype testing. In this low profile, but key role, which he first took up in 1988, he has tested and approved almost all Right Hand Drive, pre-production cars in the Group. His work will leave a lasting legacy – ever wondered why Audi windscreen wipers are all configured for Right Hand Drive?
His final role for Audi has been in the Press and PR department, where he has been one of the industry’s most informed technical experts facing the media for 15 years. His understanding and insight have been considerable advantages in dealing with the motor press for Audi.
But there is one more skill which can be added to all of these – David was the Group’s inventor of ‘influencer relationships’, having worked in support of VIPs since the late 1980s. He still retains possibly the most high profile contact book in the industry, led mainly by major influencers and respected car enthusiasts who have always appreciated his genuine love of cars.
The first Audi launch team
As one of the original staff team which helped to orchestrate the rebirth of Audi in the UK in 1993, David has acquired a deep knowledge of the history and heritage of the brand. He has been the UK ‘Audi Tradition’ car collection curator and the font of all knowledge when it comes to historic facts and technical milestones.
Two more things you might not have known about the modest Mr Ingram: he was a fueller in the Le Mans pit crew in 1983 for the Jonathan Palmer, Richard Lloyd , Jan Lammers Porsche 956, and also helped to broker the relationship between Goodwood and Hannu Mikkola that created the design of the rally stage we all know today.
David will retire from the corporate world to tend to his classic cars, but he is certain to be seen at future Le Mans races which he wouldn’t miss for the world. This is all a far cry from factory ordering Volkswagens and Audis in the Ramsgate sales office, where his Group career began in 1978.
WGMW vice-chairman Robin Roberts said, “The quiet and efficient Mr Ingram personified all that’s best about Audi. His towering stature was a particularly useful marker at motor shows, while his product knowledge was reassuring and reliable at any event.
“As a dinner table companion his conversation would be enthralling and amusing as well as extremely diverse. The group wishes him well in his retirement”
Image by Matt Vosper