A spokesman told AM there have been two full days of interviews conducted by SMMT president Graham Smith.
“It’s an ongoing process; the head-hunters have been active,” he said.
“There are certain suitable candidates at a level where we’re selecting who have been approached and interviewed.”
He said the SMMT hopes to welcome the successor before year-end, but that depends on their current contract, which might require a three-month notice period.
Meanwhile, Macgowan is not coasting into retirement from the SMMT after firing a broadside against politicians jumping on the ‘green’ bandwagon.
The SMMT has protested against the green taxes being imposed on the motor industry and its customers, while other industries escape more lightly.
Macgowan said: “I will not tolerate politicians who point the finger at the motor industry saying that we are the problem and should be legislated to hell and back. The industry recognises that it is part of the environmental problem and has been addressing it. There are other industries with a much worse record.
“What we need is a carefully managed environmental strategy.”