Automotive Hall of Fame 2020 Inductees Announced

Feb. 12, 2020

The Automotive Hall of Fame will induct four new members this year and announce the inaugural Mobility Innovator Award at the 2020 Induction & Awards Ceremony in Detroit, Mich. The ceremony will be held at the MGM Grand Hotel on July 23.

The Automotive Hall of Fame's 2020 Inductees include: Mong-Koo Chung, Chairman and CEO of Hyundai Motor Co.; Thomas Gallagher, former CEO of Genuine Parts Co.; Jay Leno, automotive heritage leadership through his Jay Leno's Garage series on CNBC; and Helene Rother, one of the first women in automotive interior design for General Motors, Nash Motors, and others.

"Since 1939, the Automotive Hall of Fame has honored individuals who have significantly benefited the automotive industry and the world of mobility. We are excited to announce our 2020 inductee class," said Ramzi Hermiz, chairman of the Automotive Hall of Fame and president and CEO of Shiloh Industries. "We believe that these four individuals are incredibly worthy of this honor thanks to their outstanding achievements and innovations."

Induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame is reserved for noteworthy individuals who created, shaped, and changed the automotive and mobility market.  

2020 Automotive Hall of Fame inductees

Mong-Koo Chung – Chairman Mong-Koo Chung is the leader credited with the success of Hyundai Motor Group. Through Chung's leadership, Hyundai Motor became Korea's largest automaker and Hyundai Motor Group is now the world's fifth largest automotive company. Chung is noted for many remarkable accomplishments, including: acquiring Kia Motors; spearheading growth with new plants in key regions, including United States, Europe, China, India, Brazil and Russia; and creating a highly efficient vertically integrated business structure that produces everything from steel to vehicles. Chung's legacy mirrors other legends of the industry who have launched and guided an automotive firm to global growth and distinction. 

Thomas Gallagher – Gallagher is the visionary leader who led Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) as president or CEO for more than 25 years, guiding the organization through a period of robust growth and long-term value creation for the company's customers, independent stores and repair shops, suppliers, and stakeholders. Gallagher served GPC as a relentless innovator who initiated and expanded programs to increase the competitiveness of independent, locally owned parts stores, train and enhance the image of automotive technicians, and advance the interests of millions of auto owners. 

Jay Leno – On his CNBC primetime series "Jay Leno's Garage," Leno takes car fans for a high-octane spin across the country with a mix of stunts, reviews, celebrity interviews and challenges. There's no wheel Leno won't get behind to tell the story of our love affair with the automobile. The CNBC show is an outgrowth of the Emmy Award winning "Jay Leno's Garage" digital series. Leno has dedicated a lifetime to sharing the stories of all things automotive from classic cars to supercars and everything in-between. He has showcased technology, innovation and the colorful history of the automobile inspiring viewers to enjoy automobiles, from the most prosaic to the most exotic. There's something in every machine that draws his interest, he knows the stories of the people who built them as well. Leno truly is America's automotive ambassador. The legendary comedian and acclaimed late night TV host is also an Emmy Award winner for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," which was rated number one for over two straight decades. 

Helene Rother – Rother became one of the first female automotive designers when she joined the interior styling staff of General Motors in Detroit in 1942. Rother achieved a successful career in automotive design at a time when -- as one author put it -– the glass ceiling couldn't be seen through the iron door that covered it. In 1947, she established her own design studio and was soon selected by Nash-Kelvinator as their interior automotive designer. Rother helped shift the standard of automotive design, post WW II, from basic and simple to elegant and unique. This focus on design and quality features helped establish a new segment in the automobile market with her work on the Nash Rambler from 1948-1956. Rother's accomplishments and natural talent for industrial design mirror the stories of the pioneers and are reflected in the existing list of Inductees in the category of Inventors, Engineers, and Designers. 

The Automotive Hall of Fame is proud to introduce the Mobility Innovator Award.

"This award recognizes the outstanding work an individual has accomplished to introduce the new technologies and services that are redefining mobility," said Automotive Hall of Fame President Sarah Cook.  

The 2020 Mobility Innovator awardee is Harold Goddijn, CEO of TomTom and a member of its management board. He is an entrepreneur and innovator who co-founded TomTom in 1991, having previously founded Psion Netherlands BV in 1989 as a joint venture with Psion Plc. TomTom created the easy-to-use navigation device, one of the most influential inventions of all time. Since then, Goddijn has grown the company from a start-up into a leading global location technology specialist that shapes mobility and an autonomous future with navigation software, real-time maps, traffic and services. As a result of Goddijn's vision and leadership, the business today benefits a billion users from a multitude of innovative navigation tools. 

The 2020 Automotive Hall of Fame Induction & Awards Ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 23, at the MGM Grand Detroit. Tickets and sponsorships for the black-tie gala are available at or by contacting Margarite Fourcroy at (313) 240-4000 or [email protected].

The Automotive Hall of Fame tells the stories of those who have made outstanding contributions to the automotive industry and has honored nearly 800 men and women from around the world. The Automotive Hall of Fame is located at 21400 Oakwood Blvd. in Dearborn, Mich., and is open to the public for tours.