I've gotten a lot of flack for being so bold as to actually say that women are under-represented and under-appreciated in the automotive industry. But I don't care, so I'll say it again: women are under-represented and under-appreciated in the automotive industry.

This is nothing new to the folks over at Automotive News, who have been extraordinarily supportive of fostering an industry that embraces a diverse workforce. Five years ago, the industry's top trade mag created a list of its 100 top women in the automotive industry. They've compiled a second list for 2005 — and thanks to their efforts and the efforts of countless others, I'd wager that the AN staff had many more women to choose from in 2005 than they did in 2000.

Among the top 100: Verena Kloos, president of BMW DesignWorks, Anne Belec, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America, and IRL driver Danica Patrick.

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