In honor of Women’s History month, we at Advantage Automotive Analytics would like offer a tribute to some of the outstanding talent and success of women in the automotive industry.
Back in 2009 two women made a huge splash at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit when they were introduced as the lead interior and exterior designers of the BMW Z4.
The two German nationals, Juliane Blasi, who designed the exterior and Nadya Arnaout, the interior designer, surprised many of the reporters and automotive experts since, at the time, few women had been charged with such a responsibility.
Adrian van Hooydonk, the director of the BMW Group Design at the time, expressed something dismay, citing the fact that women had played important roles in automotive design for a long time. Blasi was 32 and Arnaout was 37 at the time, young to head up design of such an important vehicle to the BMW lineup.
Hooydonk said BMW Design held a competition among their designers at BMW studios in Munich and at DesignworksUSA in Newbury Park, California. The designers submitted sketches and eventually full-size clay models. In order to dissuade any bias on age, gender, or personality the creators remained anonymous.
Interestingly, Blasi was surprised her submission was selected. It was her first full-size clay model she had created since hired at the Munich studio in 2003. Arnaout was surprised as well because she had only switched to interior auto design at DesignworksUSA. She had been a product designer since 2000 at the California studio that also does designed under contract for other companies. She had worked on things like vacuum cleaners and sports equipment.
Among the accolades earned by the 2009 Z4 were the: International Design Excellence Award (IDEA); 2009 Eyes on Design Award for best production vehicle; 2009 German Red Dot Design Award; and Scottish Drop Top of the Year 2009.