Top 5 most powerful women in the world automotive industry


Posted by: Oluwaseun Solomon

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They are very influential women in the history of the global automotive industry that you need to know about. See their photos and brief background of these inspiring figures here!

Naijauto believes that; as much as great men are celebrated in the global automotive industry; special women should also get praises for their contributions. This is why we are once again putting out another article this time to honor the most powerful women in the global automotive industry.

It is undeniably true that; walking down memory lane in the global automotive industry, one would find more names of great men that have reshaped the entire industry at one point of the other and only a few women in the history. But that doesn’t nullify the fact that over the years, the industry has been seeing an increasing number of special women that are climbing up various ladders of success in the industry and also motivating younger ones to do the same.


The designs of cars like Nissan 350Z, Ford Probe, Volvo YCC, & BMW Z4 all had female inputs

In recent times, many giant automakers have handed over leadership mantles to few women and so far, the progress rates have been amazing to the world. Many people will be surprised to know that the Nissan 350Z, Ford Probe, Renault Scenic, Volvo YCC, and BMW Z4 got their much-loved designs from either a woman, a female-only team, or a female-led team. Yes, that’s right!

As a matter of fact, some reports of a recent survey in the global automotive industry reveals that;

  • Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA) leads in the industry by having 38% female executives and 27% female directors
  • General Motors (GM) follows by having 11% of female executives and 50% female directors
  • Other giant automakers like Nissan and Toyota are the poorest in terms of female leadership. Nissan has got only 2% of female executives with no female directors while Toyota does not currently have any female executive or director at all.

Below are some of the top 5 notable women that we find very special in the history of the global automotive industry;

5. Danica Sue Patrick

Who says only men could survive the profession of being a racing driver?

Danica Sue Patrick is an American woman that made a really big impact during her time as a professional racing driver. She is honoured until today as the most successful female in the history of the popular American open-wheel racing.


Danica Sue Patrick – the first and only woman driver to win the IndyCar series race till date

Danica Sue Patrick still holds a yet-to-be-broken record of being the first and only female driver to win the IndyCar Series race. She got broke this record with her victory at the Indy Japan 300 event held in the year 2008.

Quite a shock, right?

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4. Jessica Winter Stafford

It was a beautiful leap for women in the automotive industry back in 2017 when Jessica Winter Stanford got declared as the new general manager and senior vice president of Autotrader.


Jessica Winter Stafford – Current Senior VP and General manager of Autotrader

Her success story could even be traced as far back as 2007 when she started out as Autotrader’s digital marketing department’s associate manager after which he began moving unto several higher positions from there.

3. Barbara Jean Samardzich

Barbara Jean Samardzich spent 26 years working with the popular American automaker – Ford.


Barbara Jean Samardzich – former COO and VP of Ford Europe

Barbara Samardzich also held leadership positions of being Ford Europe’s Vice president and Chief Operating Officer for three years between Nov. 2013 and Oct. 2016 before her retirement.

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2. Pamela Fletcher

In case you don’t know; the successful launch of the Chevrolet Bolt EV was made possible by a team led by no other than Pamela Fletcher. Yes, now you know!


The team that made the successful launch of the Chevy Bolt electric vehicle was led by Pamela Fletcher

Pamela Fletcher has always been very passionate about the auto industry and she was recorded to have been working for 15 years at General Motors before getting her current leadership position of being the Vice president of the same company.

1. Mary Teresa Barra

In case you were guessing if we reserved the best for last; you are right!

Mary Teresa Barra is a 57-year old American woman holding the position of CEO and Chairwoman of the auto giant – General Motors Company.


Meet Mary Teresa Barra, the 57-year old American CEO & Chairwoman of the giant automaker - General Motors

Mary Barra is the first-ever female to hold the position of a CEO to a major worldwide automaker and she has held this CEO position at General Motors since the 15th of January, 2014 till date.

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She has been recorded to have already invested billions of dollars in a new ride-share service named “Maven”, self-driving cars, and electric vehicles with the aim of ensuring the company’s stability in the future.

On the year 2018 Global Report on Gender Equality; General Motors ranked number one under Mary Teresa Bara’s leadership which puts the company on the top list of the only 2 major global companies in the world with no “gender pay gap” in their system of operation.

By now we believe you can see why these female leaders are indeed the most powerful women in the history of auto industry.

>>> For more gist and updates on the global auto industry, click -> automotive industry updates.

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Oluwaseun Solomon

Oluwaseun Solomon

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Oluwaseun Solomon is a prolific and diligent automobile writer at He's also an experienced digital marketer and a creative multimedia developer that specializes in video editing. He currently contributes informative and easy to read articles on topics covering transportation, traffic updates, auto industry updates, and different car reviews.
When Solomon is not writing, you will either find him composing music, editing videos or simply enjoying YouTube "TEDx Talk" videos with a chilled drink :)

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