Soneira has received the “El Abrazote de Manolo” award from the Spanish juries of the Car of the Year (COTY), in recognition of his professional career, his work in the automobile industry at an international level and the relevant role he is playing in the brand electrification process.
Fermín Soneira, born in 1972 in Gijón, began his professional career at Audi in 1998, in the Chassis Development department. in 2002 moved to Seatwhere for twelve years he held various functions in the area of technical development, being responsible for the chassis and complete vehicle development of all the models of the brand at that time.
In 2014 he returned to Audi AG as responsible for product and positioning for the models of the upper segments, in addition to directing the strategy of systems of propulsion and electrification of the entire Audi range. From mid-2016 he served as director of global product marketing at Audi AG, until he was appointed senior vice president of the product line. electric vehicles in August 2020.
His passion for cars it comes from familyia: in his father’s garage he began to feel fascinated by the world of motoring, fueled by the items he devoured in the car magazines. A passion that led him to study industrial engineering in Spain and Germany, where he began his professional career, in the Aud R&D Centerand in Ingolstadt.
From the Audi A2 to the e-tron
To this day, Soneira still has that first stage very much in mind. “I remember the first piece I projected: the supports of the springs of the rear suspension of the Audi A2. Since then, 24 years have passed, all in the Volkswagen Group, and I am still enjoying like the first dayparticipating in the development of the cars of the future, which will be cleaner, safer and more intelligent”. The Spaniard ended his speech by highlighting the importance of support the Spanish sector of the automobile “so that it continues to be a source of progress and social wealth”.
Jose Miguel Aparicio Director of Audi Spain, highlighted the figure of Soneira and her relevance within the Volkswagen Group: “We are very proud that the work of Fermín, one of the great names in engineering at Audi and the VW Group, and one of the pioneers and promoters of the transition towards electromobility for our brand, be recognized with this award.
Seven years ago, when he began his second stage at Audi, it was really difficult to anticipate a transformation of such depth as to stop producing combustion cars in 2033. But the Audi team, in which Fermín Soneira played a crucial role, decidedly bet for electromobility. Thus the Audi e-tron was born, as important to us as the quattro was in the 1980s.”
Xavier Ross, World Vice President of Human Resources and Organization and Member of the Board of Directors of Audi AG, he was Fermín Soneira’s colleague for a long time, first at Seat and now again at Audi. Fermin is one of the most brilliant spanish engineers. A true visionary and one of those responsible for shaping the future not only at Audi; I dare to say, without fear of being wrong, that even leading the way to the sector.
Carlos Sainz, Just landed from Morocco, he had time to congratulate Soneira in person and dedicate a few words to her. In fact, Sainz knows first-hand the depth of this award, since he received it in 2015 for his sporting career and the twenty-fifth anniversary of his first world title: “It makes me very happy that Soneira receives this award from the Spanish members of the European Car of the Year Jury. Back in the day, it was a very special moment for me; and I think it’s more than deserved that this year the award has gone to him, for his excellent work and career”.
As a representative of the Spanish juries of Car of the Year, Juan Carlos Payo highlighted: “On this occasion we have decided to award the ‘El Abrazote de Manolo’ award to Fermín for his impressive professional career, first at Seat and now piloting the ‘e-tronification’ at Audi; In addition, we would like to highlight his always cordial and open relationship with the specialized press of our country. The thing seems to be from Asturians, because just like Fermín boasts about his land, he also did it our beloved Manolo Doménechwhich unites the motor sector through its memory, giving this award its name”.
This award, established by the six jurors members of the Car of the Year in Europe since 2014, it has already fallen on important personalities such as Rafael Prieto, José Vicente de los Mozos, Agustín Martín, Walter De Silva, Carlos Sainz, Luca de Meo, Rafa NadalEmilio Herrera or Enrique Lorenzana, all of them recognized for their exemplary career.