The Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan, is an industry sanctuary where the industry pioneers and legendary figures from its rich and diverse history.
But next month, the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn and board of directors, plans to make space for and put up a plaque dedicated to Ralph Nader, a long-time nemesis of the world’s carmakers. Nader’s 1966 critique of the Chevrolet Corvair, “Unsafe at Any Speed” is still considered off base by a lot of old-line Detroit executives.
But Nader’s impact on the auto industry is undeniable and continues today with the industry’s emphasis on safety. In addition, Nader’s critique also helped lead to the creation of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and tighter regulation of the industry.
“Ralph Nader is a renowned automotive safety advocate. Fifty years ago, as a young lawyer, he shook the auto world with his book ‘Unsafe at Any Speed’ that would change the auto industry forever. Less than a year later, Congress created the Federal safety agency that became the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency whose stated mission was to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce collisions,” the Automotive Hall of Fame citation noted.
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The other 2016 inductees include Bertha Benz (1849-1944), the wife and business partner of automobile inventor, Karl Benz (1844-1929), was the driving force behind the invention of the automobile. She was neither an engineer nor an inventor, but she must be mentioned at the same time as her husband. They will become the first husband and wife to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Karl was inducted in 1984.
Another automotive figure that will be honored with induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame is Alan Mulally, the former Ford Motor Co. chief executive, who is credited with implementing a plan that changed the fortunes of the Ford Motor Co.
“Alan Mulally is credited with one of the greatest turnarounds in American business history and has spent most of his career disrupting the status quo. At Boeing, he led the team that created the first all-digital airplane, the Boeing 777.
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“He then took an epic gamble at Ford by approving the first all-aluminum pickup truck. Mulally guided the Ford team in working together on a compelling vision, comprehensive strategy and relentless implementation of the One Ford plan to successfully guide the company through the U.S. financial crisis and restore Ford’s status as one of the world’s leading automakers,” the citation noted.
The fourth inductee for 2016 is former Ford and American Motors executive, Roy Lunn.
“Roy Lunn is an engineer with a role in numerous historically important cars. He is the Godfather of the world-class GT40, which swept first, second and third places at Le Mans 50 years ago, ending Enzo Ferrari’s domination of endurance sports car racing.
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“At American Motors, Lunn developed what would become the lighter and stronger Jeep XJ (Cherokee and Wagoneer), which remained in production for 18 years with total production of nearly 3 million,” the Automotive Hall of Fame noted in its announcement of Lunn’s upcoming induction.