Tamzen Isacsson, the head of media and PR at London & Partners, is to leave the body in January to join SMMT as director of comms and international. London & Partners is seeking a replacement in her role.
SMMT has created the position to enable it to focus its UK and international communication activities on the promotion of the UK industry, helping to attract more investment in the sector.
The new role will allow the company to merge comms and international, after the director of international David Croxon retired and head of comms Keith Lewis moved on to a new role at Zurich Insurance.
Isacsson will report to chief executive Mike Hawes, who said: "The UK motor industry is enjoying a renaissance, which is creating significant growth and new business opportunities.
"We need to broadcast this success to a global audience, so I am delighted that in Tamzen we have someone with international experience and proven communication expertise. She will ensure the industry's voice is heard on the key issues and the sector has a global profile that its recent success merits."
Isacsson said: "Britain’s automotive industry is in better health than ever before with record exports and investment. It’s a vital sector for the British economy but one that operates globally so the challenge will always be to make sure it retains its competitiveness. The SMMT has a great reputation and I look forward to working with its members and the rest of the team to champion the motor industry at home and abroad."