DETROIT – Decisive magazine Jan. 11 named the 2015 Urban Vehicles of the Year at the 19th Annual Urban Wheel Awards, the kickoff multicultural event of the North American International Auto Show.
Held in the recently renovated and opened Garden Theater on Woodward Avenue, the yearly event also presented individual awards for dealers, suppliers and executives. The spirited gala, downsized from previous years, was hosted by celebrity and television Judge Mablean.
The highlight of the evening was the announcement of individual awards:
African American Dealer of the Year
Greg Jackson, CEO of Prestige Automotive Group in St. Clair Shores.
“Anytime someone takes the time to give you something, you want to savor it … like a fine wine,’’ Jackson said in accepting his award. “Randi Payton understood there was need to have another voice and point sensitivity toward the African American market in the auto industry. I’m proud to be part of the African American dealer community.
Hispanic Dealer of the Year
Bernie Moreno of Collection Automotive Group based in North Olmstead, Ohio
“I think what is important when we look at diversity, is we don’t want to do it for the sake of hitting quotas or a target, but for the perspectives from different cultures, from different people – that is something that really adds value to the system,” Moreno said.
Asian Dealer of the Year
Jay Park of Crestmont Cadillac and Crestmont Hyundai in Crestmont, Ohio.
Supplier of the Year
John James of James Group International
Emerging Executive of the Year
Randy Parker, vice president of Nissan West Region, Nissan North America
Executive of the Year
Janet Marzett of Mercedes-Benz
The Urban Wheel Awards judging panel determined the most stylish and practical new vehicles for 2015 by driving and evaluating dozens of cars and trucks in a variety of North American urban settings.
The 2015 Urban Vehicles of the Year winners are:
Urban Car of the Year: Kia K900
Runners-up: Mercedes C Class and Hyundai Genesis
According to Urban Wheel Awards juror and automotive expert Les Jackson, Cruise Control Radio: “The 2015 Kia K900 has an understated elegance that speaks of the owner being a savvy, trendy professional.”
Urban Truck of the Year: Ford F150
Runners-up: Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln MKC
Mary Chapman of Chapman Communications, an Urban Wheel Awards juror and freelance automotive reviewer, said of the Ford F150: “potentially revolutionary use of aluminum … substantial weight loss … great mileage.”
Urban Green Vehicle of the Year: BMW i8
Runners-up: Kia Soul EV and Ford Focus Electric
Decisive magazine editor Brian Armstead had a few words to lead the charge: “When BMW enters the game, watch out! Not only is the BMW i8 “green,” it’s a BMW, with amazing acceleration, fuel efficiency and “Ultimate Driving Machine” road manners.”
The Urban Vehicles of the Year judging panel is comprised of some of the most notable and respected automotive reviewers in the country.
Last year, UWA launched its first “People’s Choice Vehicle of the Year,” receiving more than 19,000 votes from the public through social media and gave away a new Hyundai Sonata. This year’s voting begins soon.