Vito Paladino: Auto Pilot
As the president of Audi Canada, Vito Paladino is guiding his premium automotive brand toward electrification to ensure its “living progress” philosophy thrives into the future.
Car manufacturer Audi is one of those rare global luxury brands that immediately denotes the valued attributes of quality, performance and dependability. Auto enthusiasts know exactly what to expect when slipping into a stylish and technologically advanced Audi cockpit and fastening their seatbelts.
Those enthusiasts include Vito Paladino, president of Audi Canada since 2020, who is leading the company’s transformation to greener technology — by 2026 all newly developed Audi cars will be electric. His 25 years in the automotive business has been a natural progression for Paladino, who has been a car enthusiast since his youth.
“My father was in the car business for 45 years, and I grew up loving cars and have almost a sentimental attachment to the business because of my father,” said Paladino in a recent interview with Dolce. “I was the kid with a Lamborghini poster in my bedroom, loved playing with model cars, and I always pretended to be driving our family car from the back seat. So, it’s a passion from when I was very small to growing up through the business.”
Paladino is not pretending anymore, firmly driving Audi Canada forward as a “future-ready” company, taking care of today but with eyes firmly focused on the opportunities tomorrow presents.
Born and raised in Toronto, Paladino is proud to be the first Canadian to hold the title of president at Audi Canada. After graduating from York University’s Schulich School of Business, he started his career at Mazda in 1999 where he held various positions including product planning manager, director of marketing and director of sales. He completed an MBA from the Schulich School of Business in 2011.
Paladino moved to Audi Canada in 2013 as the director for sales, leading the company to new records as Audi Canada became the fastest- growing premium car brand, with an increase in sales of an astounding 75 per cent over a five-year span. He was promoted to the position of senior director for sales and after-sales and assumed the role of president in September 2020.
“IT’S VERY EXCITING AS WE’RE AT A NEW STAGE AND HITTING NEW LEVELS OF EXPERIENCES FOR OUR CUSTOMERS.”
“The three pillars of my role are people, the day- to-day business and the strategy going forward,” says Paladino. “We are blessed at Audi to have a great product portfolio, and we spend a lot of time building our team to execute our strategy, but it is also important that our brand have a great identity to achieve our goals of growth, profitability and the overall customer experience.”
The customer experience with an Audi is unparalleled, with luxury, performance and after-sales service among the best in the business. Next on Paladino’s priority list is accelerating Audi’s transition to e-mobility. As part of its strategic realignment, Audi has begun to gradually phase out the production of internal combustion engines, and beginning in 2026, the plan is to release only new models purely powered by electricity. The Audi goal is net-zero emissions by 2050.
“For us, ‘living progress’ is everything,” says Paladino. “Living progress means embracing everything. The Audi brand, whether through design or digitalization, is to really push to its fullest potential and constantly progressing that commitment to progress so you’re never stopping. This really resonates for me personally, as it is how I have conducted my career. The identity of Audi is that it is constantly progressing, including with self-driving vehicles, which can become mobile living rooms in some ways, allowing you to do more things and be more productive. It’s very exciting, as we’re at a new stage and hitting new levels of experiences for our customers.”
The transition to electrification is a historic time in the automotive industry, and Paladino is ready and excited by the possibilities on the horizon, with Audi planning to shortly have an electric vehicle available within every category of its product portfolio.
“Everyone is ready to make the transition over,” he says confidently. “What the transition means is a realization of our commitment to electrification, which obviously brings a greater commitment to sustainability because of the lower carbon footprint. Our vehicles will also be more connected because they’ll be more digitized — your car can then be connected to your home or your phone. Electrification really unlocks a lot of opportunities, and the market will transition quite quickly because the demand is already there. Canadians are ready. The shift is happening and it is happening very fast.”
Paladino has come a long way from that young kid sitting in the back seat pretending to drive his parents’ car. He is now driving Audi Canada forward to a fantastic future filled with unlimited possibilities of innovation and imagination, with both of his hands firmly on the wheel.