2023 Automotive Hall of Fame honours six industry champions
GM CEO Mary Barra, Gentex founder Fred Bauer, legendary racer Juan Manuel Fangio, Honda co-founder Takeo Fujisawa, Ford designer McKinley Thompson JR and Hot Wheels cars designer Larry Wood inducted in 2023.
The Automotive Hall of Fame, the premier institution for honoring and celebrating individuals and their impact in the global automotive industry, hosted its 2023 Induction & Awards Ceremony on July 20, 2023, in Detroit, where 11 individuals were recognised for their contribution.
“Each year we are astounded by the contributions being made to today’s automotive and mobility industries,” said Automotive Hall of Fame President Sarah Cook. “This year’s class of awardees and inductees is no exception. Their innovative technical, cultural and societal impacts deserve recognition and celebration, and we are honoured to welcome them into the Automotive Hall of Fame.”
2023 Automotive Hall of Fame Inductees
The single greatest honour an individual can receive in the automotive industry, induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame is reserved for noteworthy individuals whose efforts have helped shape the automotive and mobility market. This year’s Inductees are:
● Mary Barra, Chair and CEO, General Motors
● Fred T. Bauer, Founder, Gentex
● Juan Manuel Fangio, race car driver
● Takeo Fujisawa, Co-founder, Honda Motor Company
● McKinley W. Thompson, Jr. Car Designer, Ford
● Larry Wood, Designer, Hot Wheels
Mary Barra, USA
Mary Barra became the first woman CEO in the automotive industry in 2014. Barra navigated GM through the ignition switch recall, established gender equity and equal pay, and is viewed as one of today’s most inspirational leaders. As Chairman and CEO of General Motors, Barra envisions a world with zero crashes, to save lives; zero emissions, so future generations can inherit a healthier planet; and zero congestion.
Fred T. Bauer, USA
Fred Bauer is a successful serial entrepreneur who has built two companies, both advancing automotive components. The first company he founded was Simicon Co., which made electronic controls for heating and air conditioning products. Later, Bauer launched Gentex. One of Gentex’s most important innovations was the world’s first electrochromic auto-dimming rearview mirror. In 2022, Gentex global revenue exceeded $1.8 billion.
Juan Manuel Fangio, Argentina
Juan Manuel Fangio is the greatest driver in the history of motorsports. During the 1940s and ‘50s, he overcame the barriers of age, geography, and the highest mortality rate ever in racing. Fangio’s mastery of the Nürburgring racecourse – considered the most challenging course in the world – earned him the nickname El Maestro. He created the Juan Manuel Fangio Foundation to support his charitable work and spent the final years of his life as a proponent for the rights of senior drivers.
Takeo Fujisawa, Japan
There would be no Honda Motor Company without Takeo Fujisawa. He matched founder, Soichiro Honda’s acumen, with marketing savvy, business sense and a keen ability to see paths to growth. As Soichiro Honda pushed engine innovation, Fujisawa focused on the operational imperatives of running an enterprise.
McKinley W. Thompson, Jr., USA
In 1956, McKinley Thompson made history by becoming the first African American industrial designer – landing a job at Ford’s legendary Advanced Design Studio. Thompson went on to a 28-year career at Ford Motor Company and was pivotal in shaping some of the company’s most iconic brands – including the Thunderbird, Mustang and Bronco.
Larry Wood, USA
Larry Wood is widely known as Mr. Hot Wheels. Starting at Mattel in 1969, one year after the line of diecast cars was launched. He went on to a 40-year career designing some of the most well-known and unique Hot Wheels cars. Hot Wheels completely upset the small diecast car model industry and forced competitors to completely rethink their concepts. Wood’s designs inspired generations of automotive enthusiasts.
Nvidia founder is 2023 Mobility Innovator awardee
The Automotive Hall of Fame grants the Mobility Innovator Award, which recognises those whose new technologies and services are redefining mobility. The 2023 Mobility Innovator Award recipient is Jensen Huang, Founder and CEO of NVIDIA, who is being recognised for his work in transforming the transportation industry through AI and accelerated computing. “AI and digitalisation are transforming every aspect of the automotive industry, from design and engineering to manufacturing, autonomous driving, and customer experience,” said Huang. “It’s a thrill to make a contribution to this most vital of industries and a great honor to be recognized among its trailblazers.”
2023 Industry Influencer awardees
The Industry Influencer Award recognises individuals who influence and lead through their actions, innovations, and visible positions on issues pertinent to the automotive industry and its future. They are admired by their peers and respected by key decision makers. The 2023 Industry Influencer Awardees are:
● Mary Joyce, Global VP and GM of Mobility and Critical Systems, UL Solutions
● John Murphy, Head of North American Automotive Research, Bank of America
● Beth Paretta, Founder, Owner and Team Principal, Paretta Racing
● Steve St. Andre, Chairman and Founder, Shift Digital
Founded in 1939, the Automotive Hall of Fame has honoured 762 individuals from around the world that have impacted the automotive and mobility industry. The Automotive Hall of Fame is located at 21400 Oakwood Blvd in Dearborn, Michigan, and is open to the public for tours. One can also visit the Automotive Hall of Fame online at automotivehalloffame.org
(Lead graphic uses images from Automotive Hall of Fame)
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