Detroit--John "Jay" Wetzel, vice president and general manager of General Motors North American Operations Design and Engineering organization, is among the 1998 recipients of the Automotive Hall of Fame's Distinguished Service citation.
Wetzel is one of GM's Saturn Corp.'s "founding fathers," coming to the new venture in 1985 as engineering vice president. He was winner of the Design News Engineering Quality Award in 1993 for his work in bringing about the quality ethic at Saturn (DN 2/22/93, p.102). Named vice president of the engineering center in 1993, he was tapped to head GM North American design, engineering, and research earlier this year. He is also credited for decreasing vehicle development time through design and engineering process improvements.
According to the Hall, the award recognizes those who make "significant contributions to the automotive industry through either sustained performance or a specific important achievement." Also cited was Hiroyuki Yoshino, president of Honda Research and Development Co. (Tokyo) for development of high-mileage, reduced-emission vehicles, including the 1996 Civic, the first car to receive "low-emission vehicle" status from the California Air Resources Board. Also noted is the 1998 model-year engine that meets the board's " vehicle" criteria.