Auto industry remembers Mandela; 'an inspiration and example to us all'
Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid revolutionary and civil rights icon, died Thursday at age 95, and the auto industry joined the rest of the world in remembering him.
BMW worked with Mandela in 2004 when the automaker made 10 limited-edition 3 series cars to commemorate 10 years of democracy in South Africa. The vehicles were referred to as “democracy cars.” Each was signed by Mandela and auctioned to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, which assists disadvantaged youth in South Africa.
Two of the vehicles were auctioned by BMW of North America. The other eight were auctioned in South Africa, Australia, England, New Zealand and Germany. Last year, Mandela’s personal BMW 7 series was auctioned by the company to benefit charity.
The automaker posted a message to its home page: “Your dream lives on in all of us.”
The UAW called Mandela one of the “most influential civil rights and social justice leaders of our time.” In 1990, Mandela met with then-UAW President Owen Bieber and UAW Local 600 at a rally in Detroit.
The union added that Mandela “will be missed” and that “the best way to honor his passing is to continue to work for his ideals.”
Workers at Mercedes-Benz South Africa in 1990 volunteered their time to build a vehicle for Mandela and this year helped sponsor the sale of a portrait of the leader, raising $200,000 for charity.
Mercedes-Benz South Africa expressed condolences: “South Africa has lost one of its most revered sons, but his legacy and memory will forever remain with us.”
Nissan South Africa Managing Director Mike Whitfield said that “Mandiba was an inspiration and example to us all” and issued condolences to Mandela’s family and loved ones on behalf of the automaker. Mandiba is the clan to which Mandela belonged.
Honda South Africa’s social media department honored Mandela by changing its Facebook and Twitter profile photos to a portrait of the former president.
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