30 People Who Count In The Auto Industry

Interesting | May 7th, 2010 by 6
bob lutz profile 750x500

The folks over at Motor Trend deliver an interesting article today: 30 Who Count: The Good, The Bad, and The Incompetent. First one on the …

The folks over at Motor Trend deliver an interesting article today: 30 Who Count: The Good, The Bad, and The Incompetent.

First one on the list, the very controversial, equally adored and disliked, BMW’s ex-Chief of Design, Chris Bangle. Before we jumped into their list, let’s take a moment to read some quotes from an article published last year by our contributor Jim B., shortly after Bangle’s resignation. (Read Chris Bangle – An Appreciation )

And so it was with Christopher Bangle’s cars during his stewardship of some of the most talented automobile designers in the world. We don’t know he if always chose the most avant-garde design that was proposed for a new model….what we do know is that there was always controversy surrounding the concept of beauty and proportion in every BMW that debuted during his 17 years at BMW as Bangle’s ideas and cars took many of us kicking and screaming into the future. For others, Bangle’s designs were the epitome of coolness- of being right in the moment and ahead of the distant crowd.

Bangle’s cars looked fast, aggressive and perhaps most importantly they were authoritative. There’s not a single BMW that has come out under his tutelage that alludes to wuss and compromise. And perhaps this is what ended it all for him at BMW.

chris bangle in meeting 655x409

“They made great cars. They made bad cars. They built great auto companies. They killed iconic brands. They changed the machine that changed the world. Meet the biggest auto industry movers, shakers, and newsmakers of the past 60 years.

BMW Design Chief, 1992-2009

Designed the Fiat Coupe, then went to BMW. Designed “flame surfacing” into everything from the Z9 concept to the 7 Series to the Gina Light Visionary Concept.
HE SAYS: “I do feel we’ve kick-started the industry. Now I look around and see other car companies are waking up and starting to do good.”
WE SAY: The most influential designer since Bill Mitchell.

bob lutz profile 655x916

GM to BMW to Ford to Chrysler to GM, Again

Influence on Dodge Viper, Pontiac GTO, Solstice and G8, Chevy Malibu, Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS. He’s been GM’s bigger-than-life chief “car guy” since Rick Wagoner hired him in 2001. At GM, he has pushed for better design, more rear drive, and BMW-like dynamics. His New GM post was not so well defined, which may be why he announced his second retirement from GM, effective May 1, 2010.
MOTTO: “Often wrong, but never in doubt!”

Continued at Motor Trend

6 responses to “30 People Who Count In The Auto Industry”

  1. bob says:

    Typical Motor Trend…

    Why isn’t Giorgetto Giugiaro on that list?!

  2. atr_hugo says:

    Oh man – Motor Trend at its finest. ; -) Granted they didn’t say this was the top 30, but I can think of a few more to include immediately; Harry Ricardo, Hans Ledwinka, Elisabeth Carmichael, Marc Birkigt, Harry Bennett, Dr Lanchester, Maurice Olley, Harry Miller (maybe we can build a list of 30 with the first name of Harry ; -).

    • bob says:

      Have all of them made their meaningful contributions within the past sixty years?

      • atr_hugo says:

        I suspect that you’re aware of all that follows in this post Bob, but here ’tis anyhow.

        Olley & Carmicheal are probably the only two that were working within the last sixty years. Carmichael represents the ‘ugly’, Olley was one of the unsung good ‘uns. Ricardo’s legacy continues through this outfit (which BMW uses from time to time): http://www.ricardo.com/ Miller of course spawned Offenhauser which was dominating racing in the US for decades (and not with ‘junk’ – check out how an Offy/Miller is built and you’ll be amazed at the engineering that went into those motors – the Offy engine was basically a reincarnation of a Miller Marine engine). Bennett was fired by Hank the Deuce (and Bennett represents the ‘bad’ in my list).

        Ledwinka and Birkigt contributions were substantial and Dr. Lanchester was actually working with direct fuel injection in the 1920s.

        Does the car name ‘Dale’ ring a bell? ; -) For more info on Carmicheal see this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twentieth_Century_Motor_Car_Corporation

        • bob says:

          atr_hugo, to be honest, no, I didn’t know all of that…Thanks.

          My point was that MT has the parameters of ’30/60′ -> 30 people, last 60 years (the length of time MT’s been around as a mag). So, people before then wouldn’t be considered.

          Yet, clearly within the past 60 years, they (presumably) chose Tom Gale over Giugiaro!

  3. Can says:

    How typical. Bangle-bashers can’t accept the merit of his work so they bash the people who selected him on the list. Here’s news. See through your lens of discrimination. Bangle has done GOOD work. Period.

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