Historical Figures Within the Automotive Industry

There are certain figures within every industry who have made their mark as iconic, thanks to outstanding contributions or memorable incidents. Ralph Lauren or Donatella Versace are two of the biggest names in fashion. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs made their mark in technology. Meanwhile Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks stand out, and stand up when one considers political activism.

Automotive Industry

These individuals will not only go down in their own generation as influential, but stand out in centuries to come thanks to the significant differences they have made to this world.

In a similar respect to each of the other industries in the world, there exist heroes and icons alike within automobile sector. The automotive industry exists as one of the world’s largest businesses. According to a report by OICA, 73.4 million cars were produced across the world in 2017, contributing to an average annual turnover in the automobile industry of £2.75 trillion.

With one billion passenger cars travelling the streets of the world every day, equating to approximately one vehicle per every seven people, it should come as no surprise that the industry is of such grave importance to us.

Here, with Vindis, who offer a wide range of Audi servicing we examine the names which dominate the world of auto.

Karl Benz

Mercedes-Benz is renowned worldwide for developing some of the most luxurious, lavish, and reliable vehicle models in history. Many people will be quick to jump to the conclusion that Henry Ford invented the world’s first car. But the German, born in 1844, had established three-wheeled petrol vehicle some seven years previous. The Motorwagen, patented in 1886, is now preserved in a Munich museum. Benz’s sheer determination to use the internal-combustion engine in a bid to replace supersede the horse as a method of transport changed the world forever, cementing his position in the automobile hall of fame.

Following the conclusion of the First World War, the financial environment in Germany was under particular strain. This had a considerable knock on effect. However, prior to the merger which saw Germany’s two oldest, largest, and most prestigious manufacturers join forces, DMG, the Daimler Group, and Benz & Cie., laid claim to the construction of more than 6,000 vehicles. Disputes between Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler over who actually invented the first ever car ensured that while both innovators were still alive, a merger would be almost impossible.

Although Gottlieb had passed away prior to the amalgamation of the two brands, Karl was alive to witness the launch of what was to become one of the world’s largest and most successful vehicle manufactures. Benz’s legacy lives on in not only the passenger vehicle, but in LGVs, HGVs, and F1, to name just a few.

Henry Ford

Born in July 1863, the story of Henry Ford’s progress in the automotive industry is rather remarkable. As a child in Michigan, Henry obsessed over all things mechanical.  Soon, his juvenile intuition for engineering paid dividends. At the age of 12, he began working at a small machine shop, before leaving home ins search of a career in the neighbouring city of Detroit. Excelling as an apprentice machinist, his passion for working within engines would not be quashed, despite numerous setbacks, including a departure from Edison Illuminating Company and the failure of his own business, The Detroit Automobile Company.

Henry finally landed a high earning role which allowed him to devote more time to mechanical ingenuity. So, in 1913, the inaugural Ford Model T rolled off the conveyor belt — something which the Michigan man had also established. The Model T was easy to operate, practical to maintain, and successfully handled rough roads, cementing its position as a fan favourite.

In the space of six years the company was worth more than $100m, and now, in 2019, it exists as the world’s fifth largest car manufacturer. Henry’s contribution will never be overlooked and can be seen throughout the motor industry today, in iconic models such as the Focus and Fiesta.

August Horch

Although not all of us could recall the German or Latin translation for the word listen, we are all aware of the word, Audi. Initially an engineer for Karl Benz, August Horch was a qualified shipbuilder, who in 1899, grabbed the reigns of his own fortunes and went solo. Along with his two sons, August established Horch & Cie. In Cologne. With business booming, August relocated to Saxony, reestablishing the firm as a joint-stock company. Following disputes with the board, however, Horch left the company. but because he couldn’t use his own name to start another firm, he used the Latin translation of ‘horch’, or ‘listen’— Audi.

Despite Audi existing as a small-scale operation, soon the name was resonating throughout Germany. Within a matter of years, the brand became one of the most popular in the country. The reputation that August had developed into one that focused on good, quality engineering. It is one which has aged particularly well! Now in 2019, Audi, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, is one of the largest in the world, and a common choice amongst drivers here in the UK.

The three figures in this article were significant pioneers within the automotive industry. Their contribution will never be forgotten. Now in 2019, there exists a new generation of crucial figures within the sector, including the likes of Elon Musk, Mary Barra, and Sergio Marchionne. However, it remains to be seen whether their contributions, particularly in regard to the electric vehicle, will have as much of a lasting impact as their predecessors.

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