Béla Barényi was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Austrian and Hungaian parents. He completed his engineering studies at the Technikum in Vienna. In 1925, he designed the famous Volkswagen Beetle. Because Porsche was later credited with the invention (1938), Berényi took legal action in 1955. The German Courts and the State Patent Office in Mannheim acknowledged that Barényi had invented the concept and the main components of the Volkswagen. Barényi only asked for 1DM (one German Mark) as compensation. From 1939 to 1974 he worked for Daimler-Benz, heading the strategic planning department for a significant period. Several of his inventions were decades ahead of their time. Passive safety was one of these ideas. Out of his 2500 inventions for the automobile industry, dividing cars into three collision zones was the most significant one (1951), but his name is also associated with the invention of the rigid occupant safety cell, the crumple zone, the multi piece steering column, the safety steering wheel
protection against side impacts, and the seat belt.
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