North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards
Dearborn, MI, June 16 – The fourth annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards were announced this evening during a ceremony at the Automotive Hall of Fame. Organized by the South East Automotive Media Organization, and mc’d by Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, www.carlist.com, and concept juror, the awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry.
This year’s relocation of the award ceremony to the “Motor City” and the Automotive Hall of Fame underscores the growing significance of the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year program.
A jury of more than two dozen professional automotive journalists from throughout North America selected the winners from 27 Concept Vehicles and eight Production Preview Vehicles that made a North American debut during the 2005 Auto Show season.
The Production Preview category is for those vehicles based on a model that has already been announced or planned for production. Presenting a thoughtful mix of luxury and technology, Jaguars Advanced Lightweight Coupe (ALC) took the 2005 Production Preview Vehicle of the Year Award. According to juror Larry Edsall, “The ALC shows that Jaguar is ready to be truly contemporary with its design.”
The exterior designer is Ian Callum. The Concept Car category is typically the most widely contested segment each year. The Class of 2005 was no exception, with 16 challengers seeking the top honor. Forecasting an expanding market for performance coupes, the 2005 Concept Car of the Year award went to the Chrysler Firepower. “Take a Crossfire, a Viper, and last year’s ME-412, put them in a blender and you get a sports coupe that combines the best of all three,” said juror Max Wickens. Accepting the award was exterior designer Brian Nielander and interior designer Gregg Howell.
In the Truck & SUV category, the 2005 season presented a genuinely diverse array of competitors. Combining traditional characters with modern lines, the winner of the 2005 Concept Truck of the Year award is the Jeep Gladiator. “This Jeep is a TRUCK,” said juror Paul Abelson. “It shouts power, capacity, agility, and all the attributes a truck should have.” The Jeep Gladiator sport-utility truck concept, is an open-air canvas roof, removable doors, fold-down windshield, and expandable bed, and is powered by Chrysler Groups 2.8-liter, 4-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel engine, and a 6-speed manual transmission.
Accepting the award was exterior designer James Mantua and interior designer Cliff Wilkins. The Specialty Concept category recognizes those vehicles outside the mainstream purpose or definition of a car or truck, as well as those vehicles where the technology, not the package, is the key story. The Ford Shelby GR-1 enjoyed a strong lead amongst a field of admirable competitors to win the 2005 Specialty Concept Vehicle of the Year award.
Juror Marc Stengel called the Shelby GR-1 “a sparkling, platinum-blonde beacon of beauty, performance, and self-indulgent fun.” Accepting the award for the Ford Shelby GR-1 was exterior designer George Saradakis, interior designer Jennifer Hewlett and top designer Peter Horbury.
Of these four category winners, the Chrysler Firepower took top honors as the “2005 Most Significant Concept Vehicle of the Year” with the highest score among the finalists. Accepting the award was exterior designer Brian Nielander and interior designer Gregg Howell. They would not answer any questions about production time.