The city of Atlanta has turned down Porsche's request to name a street after Ferdinand Porsche, the company's founder, on account of his ties with the Nazi party during World War II.
The street in question leads to the area where Porsche will build its new $100 million U.S. corporate headquarters, a 26-acre facility that is located outside of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The site used to be home of a large Ford factory so the street is currently called Henry Ford II Avenue.
Unsurprisingly, Porsche does not want to build its headquarters on a street named after a member of the Ford family and the company asked the Atlanta city hall to change the name. The city code dictates that streets can only be named after people, not companies, so the "Ferdinand Porsche Avenue" was written on the application.
The city council was scheduled to discuss the matter on October 9th but someone brought up Ferdinand Porsche's Nazi past, which included working closely with Chancellor Adolf Hitler to design what would become the Beetle. The company fully acknowledges its ties to the Third Reich and Porsche's personal involvement has been widely documented by historians since the end of the second world war.
When Porsche's past was brought to light, Atlanta turned down the company's request and instead made an exception in the city code to allow the street to be renamed Porsche Avenue.
"Atlanta is known around the world for its commitment to civil rights, tolerance, and inclusion. We respect all members of our diverse community," said a spokesperson for the mayor in a statement emailed to Creative Loafing. "As such, [we] support legislation renaming 'Henry Ford II Avenue' to 'Porsche Avenue.' We are pleased to have Porsche's support for this naming as we welcome the company's North American headquarters to the City of Atlanta."
The city council will discuss whether or not to approve the proposed name change later this month.