Nelson Mandela passed away on December 3, 2013. The auto industry made it a point to celebrate his life. German carmaker BMW particularly worked with Mandela in 2004. It built 10 limited-edition 3 series cars to commemorate 10 years of democracy in South Africa. The vehicles were called as “democracy cars.” Each car was signed by Mandela and auctioned to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. Two of the vehicles were auctioned by BMW of North America while the remaining eight were auctioned in South Africa, Australia, England, New Zealand and Germany. In 2012, BMW auctioned off Mandela’s personal BMW 7 series to benefit charity.
In remembrance of Mandela, BMW posted a message to its home page: “Your dream lives on in all of us.” The United Auto Workers union called Mandela one of the “most influential civil rights and social justice leaders of our time.” It could be remembered that Mandela met with then-UAW President Owen Bieber and UAW Local 600 in 1990 at a rally in Detroit.
UAW remarked that “the best way to honor” Mandela passing is to continue to work for his ideals. In 1990, workers at Mercedes-Benz South Africa volunteered their time to produce a vehicle for Mandela. This year, they helped sponsor the sale of a portrait of the leader, raising $200,000 for charity.
“South Africa has lost one of its most revered sons, but his legacy and memory will forever remain with us,” said Mercedes-Benz South Africa. Nissan South Africa Managing Director Mike Whitfield remarked that “Mandiba was an inspiration and example to us all” and offered condolences to Mandela’s family and loved ones on behalf of the Japanese carmaker. [source: automotive news - sub. required]