What is your first memory? Try to remember. I for one, remember my brother’s happy face when he first received a red toy car. And he kept complaining that the car wasn’t big enough. What was I doing at the time? Probably playing with my Barbie doll and “driving” her all around the house in a pink, yes PINK!, motorbike.
Now every time my family and I recall these memories we laugh it off, of course. But at the same time, we realize how much the toys we received as children have affected us and our choices as adults.
A fair mistake
Since most cars are built and designed by men, from Henry Ford to Elon Musk, we make the common mistake and generalize by thinking that all cars are designed by men. It is a fair mistake, and if you do think that, we forgive you. But the truth is, not all key figures in the history of the automotive industry are men.
So many women have been and continue to be outstanding innovators in the car manufacturing world. From the early days of the 20th century to modern times, women have pushed the industry to higher levels and have added a feminine touch to so many cars that in our eyes may look like “macho” made beasts.
Maybe to you, it doesn’t matter who has designed your car. But if you own a vehicle, take a good look at it. Can you tell if it was a man or a woman who designed it? I for one, cannot tell.
Today, we are going to take a look at some of the most popular cars designed by women. And who knows? You might even find out that your car was also designed by a woman. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
2015 FORD Mustang
Let’s kick off with the ultimate muscle car: The Ford Mustang. Who would have thought that a woman was responsible for redesigning this iconic car in 2015? Yet again, Marcy Fisher was asked to recreate the Ford Mustang for its 50th-anniversary edition. And man, did she do a great job!
Being the vehicle line director, Marcy Fisher has shown the world that women can succeed in an industry dominated by men. She is also coaching other women to follow her example by being more involved in the automotive industry.
When Helene Rother joined the interior styling staff of General Motors in 1943, she became the first woman to work as an automotive designer in the US. But it was Nash Motors that allowed her to grow and launched her career even further. Rother was responsible for the styling of elegant interiors of most Nash Motor cars from 1948 to 1956.
Nash 600 was the first vehicle she worked on, and that is why we have chosen this particular model to mention one of the key people in the automotive industry. In 1953, Rother even helped Nash Motors win the Jackson Medal for outstanding design. In a world that appreciated functionality and masculinity in a car at the time, she added a touch of warm and chic comfort. We hope to see more women like her join this challenging industry!
And here’s another car designed by a woman. And what car! Back in 2009, the BMW Z4 roadster was first introduced to the world at the Detroit Auto Show. The car looked like a dream come true for many, many men. But what they didn’t realize at the time, and maybe even nowadays, was that the brains behind this stereotypical sports beast were two women.
Juliane Blasi did the exterior design of the car, while Nadya Arnaout was responsible for its interior. These two women proved once again that women can design sleek masculine cars with strong edges.
Maybe it’s just the feminist in me saying this, but every time a woman invests her soul into something, that something turns into gold. And that is the case with Nissan Titan. Diane Allen was responsible for leading the design team of the first Titan that launched in 2002. Since then, she was looking forward to re-designing the full-size pickup truck and finally got her chance to do so in 2015.
The pick-up truck, indeed, looks neither stylish nor feminine. It has a “macho” look. And that’s exactly the look the automaker was aiming for with Nissan Titan.
Swedish multinational manufacturing company Volvo is well known for catering not only to men but also to women. In 2002, five women at Volvo Cars took the initiative to create the Volvo YCC (Your Car Concept) targeting professional women. The car appeared at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show. All the decisions for this project were made by women, and the three chief designers were also female. How did they manage to develop a sporty luxury car to meet the needs of the independent female professional?
They understood that women, like men, want the same thing when it comes to style and performance of the car. But they took a step further when designing Volvo YCC. They always kept in mind a woman’s perspective.
As women, they knew other women desire to own a car that offered smart storage solutions, a car that is easy to get in and out of, a car that is easy to park, and easy to maintain. And the result was just marvelous, don’t you think?
This expensive sports car was manufactured from 1990 to 2005. When the company decided to relaunch the second-generation NSX, they trusted Michelle Christensen to work on the interior. Acura NSX was first introduced to the world at the North American International Auto Show in 2015.
Christensen had been working for Acura since 2005. She has mentioned in several interviews how she grew as a designer with Acura. For the NSX she had to create a design that would not only make the car look stylish, but also enhance its functionality.
We are closing this list with Chrysler 200. Did you know that Winnie Cheung was responsible for the redesign of the Chrysler 200 sedan? This female automotive professional is currently the Interior Chief Designer for the Jeep brand at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Throughout the years she has designed the interior of many sleek FCA Fiat Chrysler vehicles. We think Chrysler 200 is one of her best works.
If your car didn’t make the list, that does not mean that a man MUST have designed it. You know better than that! The number of cars designed by women, be it the exterior or the interior, is immense.
Do you own any of these cars we have mentioned? Or did you know that any of them were designed by women? If not, we encourage you to dig deeper and research other cars that you haven’t realized were designed by women. In the meantime, read more about women who rock cars and the Damsels of Design.