WE ARE delighted to play a role in the dedication of the European Automotive Hall of Fame this week in Geneva.
The car industry is so much a day-to-day business that we sometimes forget those who created the business.
Cars are what we love most about this industry, but great cars come from great people.
So do great companies.
Thirteen men will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Palexpo on Wednesday, February 28. Two of them are living - Giovanni Agnelli and Giorgetto Giugiaro. Both will be present for their induction.
The others are: Karl Benz, Robert Bosch, Ettore Bugatti, Andre Citroen, Gottlieb Daimler, Rudolf Diesel, Enzo Ferrari, Alec Issigonis, William Lyons, Ferdinand Porsche and Louis Renault.
In some cases, the men being honored did their greatest work more than 100 years ago. But their influence is still felt today.
Rudolf Diesel's powerplant is one of the stars of this week's Geneva Auto Show.
Modern small-car packaging would be entirely different without Alec Issigonis, the creator of the original Mini and other fine cars.
The ideas of Ferdinand Porsche can be found in every car that has been built since.
Enzo Ferrari's definition of performance is still the measure of supreme sports cars.
Ettore Bugatti's artistry and perfectionism is in the DNA of modern car executives ranging from Wolfgang Reitzle to Patrick LeQuement.
Some of these men were creators. Others were saviors.
We must not only honor the members of the Hall of Fame, but learn from them. Few challenges that today's industry leaders face are more daunting than the ones they faced.
Each year, new members of the Hall of Fame will be inducted and their memorial plaques will have a permanent home in the Palexpo. Many greats will enter this institution, from Vincenzo Lancia to Frederick Lanchester; Battista 'Pinin' Farina to Armand Peugeot. But the Hall of Fame needs a beginning and this is it.
This is not Automotive News Europe's Hall of Fame, nor the Geneva auto show's. The institution belongs to the European automotive industry. The charter members were chosen by a distinguished panel of industry leaders, representing the major European countries.
It is important to us that the integrity of the European Automotive Hall of Fame be strictly maintained.
The European automotive industry owes a great debt to the 13 men being inducted at the Palexpo on February 28 - and to those who will be inducted in the future. The Hall of Fame is one small way to show our appreciation.