2012 Concept Vehicle of the Year Award Winners on Driving the Nation

Charlotte, NC, July 12 – The winners of the eleventh annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards were announced today. The awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry.

The Production Preview Vehicle category:
The Production Preview Vehicle category is for those vehicles based on a model that has already been announced or planned for production.

acura_nsx 2012 Concept Vehicle of the Year Award Winners on Driving the Nation Acura Automobiles and Energy BMW Car designers Concept Car of the Year Concept cars Technology

winner in the Production Preview Vehicle category and the Most Significant Concept Vehicle of 2012

The finalists in the Production Preview Vehicle category included:
1. Acura NSX
2. Cadillac ELR
3. Jaguar C-X16
4. Subaru BRZ STI

The winner in the Production Preview Vehicle category and the Most Significant Concept Vehicle of 2012 is:
The Acura NSX
A model much awaited after it’s brief absence from the market, Acura brings back their NSX “halo” car to take the honor of 2012 Production Preview Vehicle of the Year. “Like the original NSX, it emphasizes lightness over brute power, but with bolder, edgier styling that’s quite attractive in today’s context,” said juror Chris Poole.

The Concept Car category:
The Concept Car category recognizes those vehicles where passenger carrying is the primary intent.

bmw_i8 2012 Concept Vehicle of the Year Award Winners on Driving the Nation Acura Automobiles and Energy BMW Car designers Concept Car of the Year Concept cars Technology

Winner of the Concept car of the year

The finalists in the Concept Car category included:
1. BMW i8
2. Cadillac Ciel
3. Fisker Atlantic
4. Lexus LF-LC.

The winner in the Concept Car category is:
the BMW i8 Concept Spyder
Marking it’s fourth competition as a category finalist, and the brand’s second visit to the awards podium, BMW takes the 2012 Concept Car of the Year award with it’s i8 Concept Spyder. “With lines that remind me of icy water in a mountain stream, the BMW i8 takes open top driving into a new realm of environmental responsibility, with the mission of ultimate driving machine firmly embedded,” said juror Bill Shaffer.

The Concept Truck category
The Concept Truck category recognizes those vehicles where cargo carrying is a significant consideration.

The finalists in the Concept Truck category included:
1. Chrysler 700C Minivan
2. Land Rover DC 100
3. Land Rover DC 100 Sport
4. Smart for-us

smart_for_us 2012 Concept Vehicle of the Year Award Winners on Driving the Nation Acura Automobiles and Energy BMW Car designers Concept Car of the Year Concept cars Technology

Winner of the Concept truck of the year

The winner of the Concept truck of the year is:
the Smart for-us
In this brand’s first-ever competition as a category finalist, and it’s first visit to the awards podium, Smart’s vision for an eco-friendly urban cargo carrier, the “for-us” concept takes the 2012 award for Concept Truck of the Year. “Smart leaps into the 21st century with their small electric-drive ‘for-us’, complete with pickup-like hauling capability,” said juror Bob Kroupa.

Juror Quotes:

Jim Scoutten: The NSX is back! And stunning! Honda leads once again. A daily driver for the 1%.

Thom Cannell: Could the Smart for-us carry ten bags of cement and 25 construction timbers? Who cares, it’s a concept and just barely possible.

Michael Bettencourt: The Smart for-us is not much of a truck, but it’s a great concept of what an urban truck could be.

Mark Phelan: BMW’s i8 is a dramatic vision of how design and technology will redefine “the ultimate driving machine” as the industry moves to electricity.

Chris Poole: The i8 concept wraps innovative construction and powertrain technologies in a functional, eye-catching new design language that will be exclusive to the upcoming eco sub-brand it previews. It’s an impressive blend of supercar style and speed with future-oriented mpg and emissions performance.

Chris Poole: Some say Honda/Acura has lately lost it’s way in both design and engineering, but this concept proves otherwise in no uncertain terms. Like the original NSX, it emphasizes lightness over brute power, but with bolder, edgier styling that’s quite attractive in today’s context. Also like it’s forebear, this new NSX serves to showcase Honda technology that now includes a clever “split” hybrid system giving de facto all-wheel drive. Most audacious of all perhaps, the concept will be productionized and built right here in America. With all this and more, I’d say Honda has it’s mojo back, and that’s good news.

Arv Voss: The BMW i8 is by far the most beautiful and radical departure from the status quo for the brand. It epitomizes the application of technology in the modern transportation world.

Arv Voss: The Smart for-us is a unique and practical application of the Smart car in the form of a mini pickup.

Kami Buchholz: The re-birth of the Acura NSX as a hybrid-powered, all wheel drive sports car is long overdue.

Bill Shaffer: With lines that remind me of icy water in a mountain stream, the BMW i8 takes open top driving into a new realm of environmental responsibility, with the mission of ultimate driving machine firmly imbedded.

Bill Shaffer: We have finally seen the future of Acura NSX and it is bright…and responsible, and fun.

Bob Kroupa: This new i8 concept is unmistakably BMW with it’s grill design. This model has sports car performance with a plug-in front electric motor and 3-cylinder turbo powered motor over the rear axle pumping 345 HP. Neat car!

Bob Kroupa: The popular Acura NSX nameplate returns with a dedicated following. Updated with a sculptured body style, hybrid power and all-wheel drive, this concept vehicle will bring consumers back to the showroom.

BJ Killeen: With the i8, BMW stays true to it’s performance roots, while at the same time delivering the type of efficiency required by consumers who are looking toward the future. Stunning looks, a low center of gravity, and a 50/50 weight distribution takes efficient driving to the next level.

Tom Crosby: Welcome back NSX. Your stunning looks and performance were missed – and now you are a hybrid. What will they think of next?

Jeff Taylor: The NSX is a car which will help Acura reconnect with premium car buyers and get something really exciting into showrooms.

Gary Vasilash: The NSX redeems the chevron shapes that have so long been affixed to Acuras with little effect other than a certain oddness. This is a car that Honda needs.

Isaac Hernandez: The BMW i8 is the car I would have dream of owning as a kid. Now that I’m old, I can still dream of owning one. I may still not be able to afford one, but someone else will, and I can always watch it driving in Pebble Beach traffic.

Kelly Taylor: If you profess to love cars and don’t feel your knees tremble at the sight of the NSX, please just go away.

Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, www.drivingthenation.com, is a member of the Concept Jury.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.