Agneta Dahlgren has been named Woman of the Year 2016 by the independent organisation WAVE (Women and Vehicles in Europe).
The annual Woman of the Year award is based on a vote by automobile industry journalists of both genders. By singling out Dahlgren, Groupe Renault’s Head of Design for C-Segment (Kadjar, Mégane and Scénic vehicles) and Electric Vehicles, the panel wished to highlight the career of a woman who can serve as a role model for young women seeking work in the automobile industry, and whose position is key to her company and to the automobile industry as a whole. On both accounts, Agneta was a unanimous choice.
After studying design engineering in her native Sweden, Agneta Dahlgren moved to France in 1990 to round off her Industrial Design studies at Compiègne’s University of Technology (UTC). She has lived in France ever since, working exclusively for Renault which offered her an initial work placement opportunity in 1991.
She went on to join the Corporate Design’s concept car department where she gained a more prospective overview which she was able apply from 2000 as Project Leader working on the design of several vehicles, from trucks (within the framework of a partnership between Renault and Volvo Trucks) to small city cars. She held this position for almost 10 years.
Renault says it wasn’t long before her 'cross-functional vision, her ability to take technical constraints into account, her aptitude for negotiation and her work on the all-electric Renault ZOE were noticed.'
When Laurens van den Acker (also pictured) took over as Senior Vice-President, Corporate Design in 2009 with the intention of creating a new identity for the brand, he appointed Dahlgren as Head of Design for the strategically-important C-Segment. The all-new Renault Mégane, which was introduced at the beginning of 2016, and the all-new Renault Scénic, which is due to go on sale in October, were both designed under her leadership.
“The new Scénic’s ideal proportions and highly emotional styling have reinvented the MPV segment,” notes a member of the WAVE panel. “Agneta Dahlgren has worked on the design of models that have allowed Renault to express its new identity in a very natural manner. Along with the new Mégane, it is certainly a model that will help to drive the brand’s growth.”
Renault launched its Women@Renault plan in 2010 in a move to increase the proportion of women working at every level of the company. The scheme is founded on a human resources plan and an in-house social network.
As a result of this programme, women accounted for 18.8 per cent of the Group’s staff at end-2015 (compared with 10 per cent in 1999). This diversity is to be found at every level of the company, from the shop floor to the Group Executive Committee, and the current proportion of women staff is particularly high for the automobile industry, says Renault.