Women Who Made a Difference in the Auto Industry


The automotive industry isn’t known as a woman’s domain. Men are typically the ones associated with automotives, whether they’re designing vehicles, racing them or repairing them. However, women have had a greater affect on the automotive industry than most people know, and these 8 are just a few of the many who have changed the stereotypes associated with automobiles entirely.

1. Denise McCluggage

McCluggage shattered stereotypes during the ’50s and ’60s when she served as a sports journalist, reporting on auto racing, for the New York Herald Tribune in 1954. She began racing vehicles professionally shortly after that. After winning a couple of big-time races, McCluggage returned to journalism and founded the magazine AutoWeek. She remains the only journalist in the Automotive Hall of Fame.

2. Michelle Christensen

Christensen may not be a household name, but it could be someday. This bright-minded car enthusiast recently designed Honda/Acura’s latest NSX model. She is now the first woman ever to lead a supercar design team.

3. Danica Patrick


Danica Patrick is one of the most famous women in the auto industry. This model and renowned auto racer is known for her success in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as well as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Patrick became the first female to win the NASCAR Spring Cup Series pole in 2013.

4. Mary Barra


Mary Barra is the CEO of General Motors, and at 53-years-old, she has already been featured on the cover of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” issue. Even more, Forbes recently listed her as the 65th most powerful person in the world.

5. Elena Ford

The name may ring a bell, and that’s because Elena Ford is Henry Ford’s great-great-granddaughter.  She is now the Vice President of the Ford Company and the first female in her family to hold such a high position at the company.

6. Trudy Hardy

Hardy became the vice president of marketing for BMW of North America in 2013, and just a year later, she was named AdWeek’s Brand Genius Winner for Automotive. You probably saw her work during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia, as BMW designed the sled used by the U.S. bobsled team.

7. Jean Jennings


Most readers assume men are behind their favorite automobile magazines, but Jean Jennings proves that’s not always true. Jennings is a former editor for Automotive News and the former editor-in-chief and president of Automobile Magazine.

8. Bertha Benz

Many automobile enthusiasts have never heard of the first person to complete a long-distance road trip, but her name was Bertha Benz. Benz was also a key player in the production of the first automobile, as she helped the world-changing invention gain marketing momentum.

Here at Classic Chevrolet, we’re grateful for all of the women who shaped the auto industry’s past as well as its future. Stop in and see us to view our selection of the latest and greatest vehicles designed and produced by the influential men and women of the auto industry.

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