May 8, 2014
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Is there any Influential Woman in the Auto industry? Can Women drive the future of the Auto Industry?

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The Year is 2014, and the Good Ole Boys Club still stands strong in the Auto Industry.  The limitations that this industry had set for women , is slowing  going away with  a significant amount of female influence coming from the top down, such as a rise in the amount of female engineers, involved with safety, design and styling. This is a natural fit because of women’s natural instincts to nurture and heal, it is crucial that women not only use their brain but also their heart in making corporate decision, and sometimes that cocktail does not mix in the auto industry.

Women hold only 13 percent of executive-level positions in the auto industry on the ground floor, inside the dealerships, according to a study released in July by the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation. Four large automotive companies in the Detroit area were surveyed: American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. and Yazaki North America Inc.

Poor work-life balance was the top reason cited for such low numbers of women in upper echelons; a slower rate of promotion than that of male colleagues was the second most cited reason, says Janice Krupic, president of Paragon Leadership International, the Wixom, Mich., consulting firm that conducted the study.

On the upside women made up just fewer than 21% of employees in car manufacturing in the United States, and 16% of executives and senior management on the manufacturing side, according to a 2010 Equal Opportunity Employment Commission report.

Huge advances have been made by women in the manufacturing side of the auto world, a place where they can combine their brains and their heart, and feel like they are making a real difference.  Women engineers have made huge advances in the auto industry, especially with safety, and the world has never been notified. Below are some amazing examples of the huge strides made and the millions of lives impacted by these incredible women.

Grace Lieblein started her career in a car assembly plant at the age of 18, and has been with GM for 36 years. She played a primary role in the creation of the amazing Buick Enclave in 2008. The car includes a dip in floor on the driver’s side for women wearing high heels.

Lieblein, states..”When we were launching the Buick Enclave or the Chevrolet Traverse, we did a lot of connection with mommy bloggers because we saw them as some of our key customers”.*

Marcy Fisher, Michele Lubin Henney, Susan Lampinen, Melanie Banker, are all responsible for the all-new Ford Mustang, from how the car sounds, how it feels when it drives, the fuel economy, if it’s comfortable for the driver and passengers and the like.*

Alicia Boler-Davis was the first General Motors plant manager to also lead a vehicle launch — for the Chevrolet Sonic.*

Gay Kent, General Motors’ safety vice president, also found the safety field especially rewarding. She helped design auto industry first— side air bags that deploy out of the driver’s seat above the center console to prevent injuries or deaths caused by contact with the car, or another head.*

At Chrysler, Chris Barman headed the team that designed the new Dodge Dart.*

Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne recently singled out vehicle line executive Chris Barman, 41, for her work developing the Dodge Dart, which he called “tangible evidence of how women are helping to lead the new Chrysler.”*

Rebecca Seiler and Jennifer Shaw helped develop some of Ford Motor’s advanced safety technologies that prevent crashes.

Shaw, 35, is the supervisor on an “active safety” team of 11, including two other women. She helped develop Ford features including the self-parking system that helps with parallel parking, technology that warns when a moving car is in your blind spot, and an alert that sounds when traffic is crossing behind a car backing up.*

Shaw also worked on Ford’s keyless entry and ignition, something that solves the problem for people who don’t like having to dig for their keys. Her own mother, who carries a big purse, was one of the big beneficiaries.*

Auto manufactures have had no option but to let women drive the creation, safety and design of the new and improved vehicles, because women buy more than 50 percent of all new cars and influence 85 percent of all new-car purchases in the United States.

From the looks of our newest safety additions and creature comforts provided by the women engineers, the decision by manufactures to foster this move is really paying off!

*Excerpts, taken from Jayne O’Donnell,USA TODAY February 15, 2013…Female auto engineers make marks while outnumbered

 

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