MAMA News

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  • 10 Mar 2020 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Alfa Romeo hosted the MAMA March meeting at a new-to-MAMA venue, Iron Gate Motor Condos – the Chicago area’s first exclusive residence for classic, collector and exotic vehicles. This unique motor-condo facility spans a 45-acre campus and brings together passionate car collectors to gather in a community and celebrate their hobby.

    Ben Lyon, Head of Alfa Romeo, Operations and Customer Experience, led the presentation to spotlight the new 2020 Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV, both of which are just hitting dealership showrooms this quarter. Lyon discussed the highlights of both freshened vehicles “keeping what’s great and improving on the rest.” The updates include new standard content, an enhanced premium interior, advanced safety features and a new 8.8-inch touchscreen display.


    Also new for 2020 is a host of standard and available connectivity features, including Wi-Fi Hotspot, Mobile App with Remote Operations, SOS Call (Private) and Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Finder, Stolen Vehicle Locator and Assistance, as well as select Firmware Over the Air updates.

    At the forefront of the Giulia’s refined cabin is the new center console, which provides an updated design featuring a machined-knurled aluminum-look rotary dial, upgraded knob materials and increased storage capacity. Rounding out the enhanced Giulia interior environment are larger cup holders and a new phone storage area with available wireless charging.


    The 2020 Giulia and Stelvio mark the debut of a full set of available advanced driver-assistance systems, including Level 2 semi-autonomous capabilities that enable the vehicle to control acceleration, braking and steering in certain driving conditions – providing the driver with the perfect balance between driving pleasure and autonomous control. These include:

    • Highway Assist System
    • Traffic Jam Assist System
    • Traffic Sign Recognition
    • Lane Keep Assist
    • Active Blind Spot Assist
    • Driver Attention Alert
    • Standard Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus

    Verde Visconte Metallic (green), Lunare White Metallic and Anodized Blue are newly available metallic-paint colors for 2020. Lyon noted that the most popular color choices for Alfa Romeo models are something bold – especially blue and red hues.


    Also announced was the introduction of the new Giulia GTA, a limited-run model that is technically and conceptually inspired by the Giulia GTA of 1965: the “Gran Turismo Alleggerita” developed by Autodelta and based on the Giulia Sprint GT that racked up sporting successes worldwide. Based on the Giulia Quadrifoglio, the Giulia GTA is fitted with special lightweight components and a more powerful version of the Alfa Romeo 2.9 V-6 Bi-Turbo engine that puts out 540 horsepower instead of the Quadrifoglio’s 505 hp. Only 500 GTAs will be produced, and there’s no word on yet on the car being sold in the United States.

  • 10 Feb 2020 5:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chicago, Illinois (Feb. 6, 2020) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) announced today at the Chicago Auto Show that the 2020 Kia Telluride has been named the winner of its 10th annual Family Vehicle of the Year award, and the 2020 Lincoln Aviator has been named the winner of the second annual Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year award.


    MAMA is a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public-relations professionals, and it developed the awards to help car-shopping families make a wise decision when they’re ready for a new vehicle.

    To qualify for the award, vehicles had to have four doors, appear at one of MAMA’s two annual rallies, and be new or significantly updated within a year of the 2019 Spring Rally, which took place last May.

    Voting took place at both the Spring and Fall Rallies, which narrowed down the field of contenders. Mainstream finalists were the Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, Honda Passport, Hyundai Palisade, Jeep Gladiator, Kia Telluride, Mazda 3, and Subaru Outback. The finalists in the luxury category were the BMW X7, Cadillac XT6, Lincoln Aviator, Lincoln Nautilus, and Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Coupe.

    In each round of voting, three points were awarded for a first-place vote, two points were given for a second-place vote and third-place votes were valued at one point each.


    MAMA’s journalist members then voted in one final round. The 2020 Kia Telluride was selected as Family Vehicle of the Year with 205 points, ahead of the 2020 Hyundai Palisade, which garnered 174 points. The 2020 Subaru Outback placed third with 69 points.

    The 2020 Lincoln Aviator was crowned Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year with 192 points, edging out the 2019 BMW X7, which netted 148 points. The 2020 Cadillac XT6 rounded out the top three with 108 points.


    Voting for the 2021 FVOTY awards will begin at the 2020 MAMA Spring Rally, which is scheduled for May 20-21 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

    For more information, please visit www.mamaonline.org

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, and now in its 29th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 258 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from 22 states and DC. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, major issues, and new products in the auto industry.

  • 02 Feb 2020 8:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nissan’s Keith St. Clair, director of product planning, Nissan USA, was the speaker at the January MAMA meeting to discuss the all-new 2020 Sentra.

    Since the car’s introduction 37 years ago, more than six million Sentras have been sold—spanning eight generations. St. Clair discussed all the ways this sedan is Nissan’s best-selling nameplate.


    First, why sedans? St. Clair said that while the industry has certainly seen a big shift to SUVs and CUVs, sedans are still very popular. In fact, more than four million sedans have been sold here in the U.S., and 78 percent of folks who don’t own sedans noted they would consider buying one. Furthermore, 86 percent of 18-34-year-olds who don’t own a sedan would consider buying one.

    And, according to St. Clair, this sedan is one that’s changing the way people think of sedans.


    Expressive style, an emotional driving experience, value, efficiency and ease of maneuverability are all characteristics of the vehicle. Exceeding expectations in the compact segment, the Sentra offers style, craftsmanship, safety, technology, performance and value.

    “The only thing we’re carrying forward is the name – everything else is brand new,” said St. Clair of the Sentra.

    In terms of tech, the Sentra receives an all-new infotainment system with a standard 7-inch high-definition screen. St. Clair explains that this is a key factor of the upgraded sedan because it makes drivers more comfortable and confident.

    Safety also comes standard on this car, including Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 (a suite of six advanced driver-assist systems), ten air bags, Intelligent Forward Collision Warning and Driver Attention Alertness.


    The vehicle is also agile and exciting to drive, according to St. Clair. This is the first time that Nissan is offering a new platform with a multi-link independent rear suspension on the Sentra. Wider and lower, the new platform offers improved NVH. Standard active ride control (which helps improve handling when driving over a bumpy environment, smoothing out the ride and ensuring driver’s confidence), intelligent trace control and vehicle dynamics control.

    Additionally, the Sentra has an all-new powertrain with 149 horsepower—20 percent more than before.


    St. Clair refers to a “simple grade strategy:” Good, Better and Best (S, SV and SR). Overall, he says the Sentra is fun-to-drive, offers advanced technology, has unmatched safety features, high-level craftsmanship and expressive design. “It’s not just another compact car; it’s really a midsized car masquerading as a compact car,” he said. It’s the new era of sedans.

    The Sentra is set to go on sale in early February.

  • 16 Jan 2020 9:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), an organization comprised of automotive journalists and related industry professionals, elected its 2020 board of directors during its annual January business meeting.

    Secretary Kelley Enright, treasurer Larry Nutson and communications director Jennifer Morand were all re-elected to serve two-year terms.

    Damon Bell continues to hold the role of MAMA president, Harvey Briggs continues as MAMA senior vice president and Jennifer Newman continues as vice president, membership.

    Jill Ciminillo, who served a two-year term as MAMA president from 2017-2018, will carry out her second-year term as president emeritus.  

    During the annual business meeting it was reported that the association currently maintains a membership of 253 automotive journalists and industry professionals serving in the automotive industry or related fields.

    It was also announced that MAMA will continue to host the opening breakfast at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview on Thursday, Feb. 6, where the association will announce its 2020 Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award recipients.

    The Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride and Subaru Outback are the finalists for the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award, and the BMW X7, Cadillac XT6 and Lincoln Aviator are the finalists for the luxury category. Following the award ceremony, Toyota North America’s Group Vice President Edward Laukes will present a program.

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association and upcoming events, visit www.mamaonline.org.

    ###

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, and now in its 29th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 253 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from across the country – though based in the Chicago area. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, major issues and new products in the auto industry.

  • 22 Nov 2019 3:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The chief engineer of the Lincoln Corsair, John Jraiche, presented the 2020 Lincoln Corsair to Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) members during the latest MAMA meeting.

    The Lincoln team strategically selected the Lang House in Chicago as the venue to present the vehicle, as the historical building exudes sophistication and charm while offering views of the neighboring Emil Bach House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The significance is that Corsair Chief Designer Kemal Curic picked up design cues from Frank Lloyd Wright when designing the vehicle, including his love for dramatic horizontal lines.


    The 2020 Corsair rounds out Lincoln's portfolio of luxurious SUVs, and is available with a 250-hp 2.0-liter or more powerful 2.3-liter engine that puts out 295 horsepower. Five selectable drive modes--Normal, Excite, Slippery, Deep Conditions and Conserve--alter powertrain parameters to suit road conditions and/or drive tastes. With a new 8-speed transmission and 4-wheel independent suspension, the Corsair is designed to provide agility, nimbleness and easy handling. Furthermore, all 2020 Corsairs come standard with a push-button start, hill-start assist, a power liftgate and LED headlights.

    According to Jraiche, the body of the Corsair was designed to incorporate peaks and valleys, and the exaggerated lines draw a vision of continuous light play reflecting its surrounding environment. Lincoln describes the Corsair’s exterior as a “sculpture in motion.” Unique wheel designs feature both directional and radial lines, and a variety of metallic color choices, including Flight Blue, are offered. 


    The Corsair’s interior was designed to be a “sanctuary for the senses.” To ensure the tranquility of the ride, a dual-wall dashboard was utilized to provide additional division between the engine and the passengers. This arrangement provides an air gap that helps prevent vibrations from entering the cabin.  

    The Corsair's design team thought of everything, such as replacing harsh standard electronic alerts with six unique symphonic chimes recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

    Not only is wireless charging available for compatible devices, but the Corsair also offers tech-savvy passengers multiple power outlets and in-vehicle Wi-Fi to keep them connected. Additionally, the Corsair’s SYNC 3 infotainment system allows the driver and passengers to simply plug in their devices to access apps directly from an 8-inch touch screen.


    The Lincoln Corsair also provides personal customization to enhance the individual’s preferred interior sanctuary experience. Owners can set up to 80 preference features within their designated profile, including preferred radio stations, customized seat adjustments and desired cabin climate.

    To top it all off, the Corsair offers a Lincoln-first technology called “Phone As A Key.” The technology can be accessed through The Lincoln Way app, where owners can now open the liftgate, lock and unlock the vehicle, start the vehicle and locate it just by using their compatible smartphone.  

    To further provide convenience to its customer base, Lincoln offers a pickup and delivery service called Lincoln Service Valet. The owner can simply schedule a service via The Lincoln Way app and Lincoln Service Valets will come to pick up the vehicle and bring it a nearby Lincoln dealership, while providing the owner with a loaner vehicle while their vehicle is being serviced. Progress updates are delivered via the app, and the vehicle is delivered back to the owner when the service has been completed.


    The 2020 Lincoln Corsair comes in two trims, with the Standard coming in at $36,940 and the Reserve starting at $43,625. All-wheel-drive versions of each are also available for a bump in price: $39,140 and $45,825, respectively. The Corsair is now available at Lincoln dealerships.  


  • 08 Oct 2019 2:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Joliet, Illinois (Oct. 7) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) recently held its annual Fall Rally, where nearly 80 media members gathered to test-drive more than 50 of the industry’s latest cars, trucks and SUVs. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally was presented by Subaru and offered journalists ample opportunities to put brand-new vehicles – such as the 2020 Cadillac XT6, 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500, 2020 Ford Escape, 2020 Lincoln Aviator and 2020 Toyota Supra – through their paces on track, on street and off road.


    Toyota revved attendees’ engines with a breakfast and an opening presentation on the 2020 GR Supra. Toyota North America Senior Product Specialist Thomas Kretschmann discussed the highly anticipated return of the Supra – after a 21-year hiatus – and highlighted the sports car’s performance, capability and style.

    “The 2020 GR Supra was designed to evoke passion in driving,” said Kretschmann. “Seeing the MAMA members who got to experience the vehicle at the rally with smiles on their faces shows the GR Supra is the complete package – great both on and off the track.”

    The 2020 Supra is now on sale and is available in 3.0 and 3.0 Premium trim levels, as well as an exclusive Launch Edition based on the 3.0 Premium grade. The manufacturer didn’t miss the opportunity to bring not one, but two 2020 Toyota GR Supras for MAMA journalists to experience.

    Following the morning session of driving on track, on street and off road, Honda refueled Fall Rally attendees with lunch and a presentation on the 2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid, signaling the first electrified SUV from the Honda brand in the U.S. 


    “The Honda CR-V is the best-selling CUV over the past two decades and the updates we've made to the 2020 model, including a new hybrid-electric variant, solidify its position in this highly competitive segment,” said Steve Kinkade, head of Honda brand public relations, American Honda Motor Co. “We were excited to share key details on this important vehicle as well as our broader electrification strategy with the Midwest Automotive Media Association.”

    Throughout the day, journalists also had the opportunity to maneuver 4WD and AWD trucks and SUVs through an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep. Participating vehicles included the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison, 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, 2019 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk, 2020 Kia Telluride and 2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.


    MAMA also encouraged members to test-drive contenders for the MAMA Family Vehicle and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Awards. To qualify, candidates for each category must be four-door, family-capable vehicles and be present at the MAMA Spring or Fall Rallies. Voting MAMA members chose the following Family Vehicle of the Year finalists at the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally: the 2020 Ford Escape, 2020 Ford Explorer, 2020 Hyundai Palisade, and 2020 Subaru Outback. The Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award finalists are the 2020 Cadillac XT6 and 2020 Lincoln Aviator.


    These vehicles will join the list of finalists from the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally, and a final round of voting will take place online. Both the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award winners will be announced at the MAMA opening breakfast during the 2020 Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 6.

    The MAMA Fall Rally is one of two track events the media association hosts each year. MAMA also organizes monthly meetings for its members; the upcoming meeting event schedule can be found at www.mamaonline.org.


    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit www.mamaonline.org.

    ###

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991 and now in its 28th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) comprises more than 250 automotive journalists and industry professionals from approximately 23 states and the District of Columbia. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, current issues and new products in the auto industry.

  • 21 Aug 2019 10:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last week, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) hosted MAMA’s August meeting to share an update on the advanced high-strength steel industry, as well as provide attendees a glimpse at what an autonomous vehicle may look and feel like through a virtual reality experience.


    According to AISI, as autonomous vehicles grow in popularity, “traditional” virtues such as performance, value sustainability and occupant protection will become that much more critical. Dr. Jody Hall, vice president, automotive, AISI, shared recent findings with the MAMA group to reinstate why it’s safer, more efficient and more sustainable for manufacturers to build vehicles with steel versus aluminum or carbon fiber, for example. Hall cited aluminum as steel’s direct competition, as carbon fiber is used in niche circumstances.


    Consumer Preferences

    Based on a recent study, AISI found that 90 percent of consumers believe that steel is stronger, safer and more durable than aluminum, and that most consumers prefer a vehicle made from steel versus one manufactured with aluminum. These assumptions greatly impact their purchase decision.  

    Moreover, 71 percent of consumers cite price as being one of the most important criteria when purchasing a vehicle.

    Finally, 60 percent of consumers buy a vehicle for its appealing physical design and ease of entry and exit.


    Cost and Efficiency

    AISI states that the strength of steel allows automakers to design more efficiently and safely to achieve important objectives such as performance. Because of its higher strength, manufacturers can use less of the material to complete the same amount of work. It’s all about input vs. output.

    AISI also argues that, with aluminum, manufacturers have to change a vehicle’s structure to achieve the same objectives, thus driving up the cost to produce the vehicle and being less efficient overall.

    Steel is known for its outstanding formability, interior spaciousness and smaller structural sections, hitting on the aforementioned points regarding consumer preference.


    Steel and the Industry

    A study conducted by Ducker Worldwide in 2014 predicted that seven out of 10 new pickup trucks produced in North America would be aluminum-bodied within a decade. Seven years later, the Ford F-150 is the only pickup that is all-aluminum. AISI lists cost, efficiency and sustainability as the top three reasons automakers have stuck with steel.  


    Steel and the Environment

    Not only is steel safe, cost-effective and efficient, it’s also easily recycled (steel is recycled more than any other material) and low on CO2 emissions (due to its efficiency). Only the greenest cars rely on steel and its light carbon footprint. Dr. Hall reinforced the importance of looking at the entire lifecycle of a product.

    In conclusion, AISI’s stance is that steel continues to be a sound material for automakers. With more than 200 grades of advanced high-strength steel, the steel industry is providing automakers numerous benefits in design capabilities, fuel economy, strength, durability and value for both traditional and, in the near future, self-driving vehicles.

    Media members are encouraged to visit AISI’s press site for additional details and assets: https://www.autosteel.org/press.

    In regards to upcoming MAMA events, registration is now open for the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally, which will be held at the Autobahn Country Club on Wednesday, Oct. 2. If you have questions regarding the rally, registration or sponsorship opportunities, please contact webmaster@mamaonline.org.

  • 01 Aug 2019 1:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    South Haven, Mich. (Aug. 1, 2019) –The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), along with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, hosted the fifth annual MAMA Track Driving School this week at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. CGI Motorsports led 20 automotive journalists in a track training session covering everything from braking techniques, vehicle weight-transfer management, vision instructions and appropriate driving position.


    The real schooling took place outside of the classroom and on the actual track, where MAMA media members were able to put a variety of vehicles through their paces, including an Alfa Romeo Guilia, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Widebody, Dodge Charger Scat Pack, Dodge Durango SRT, Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, Fiat 500 Abarth and a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Since the inaugural track school in 2015, MAMA has provided professional instruction to a total of 102 students.


    “MAMA hosts two signature track events a year, our Spring and Fall Rallies, so it’s imperative that our members are trained on how to properly drive on a racetrack,” said MAMA President Damon Bell.

    Throughout the day, both novice and intermediate drivers were paired with driving instructors from CGI Motorsports to learn how to properly and safely handle these high-powered vehicles on a track.

    “GingerMan Raceway is an ideal track to build the fundamentals of high-performance driving,” said Brad Pines, CGI Motorsports instructor.


    Lesson highlights included: Look ahead (plan for what’s ahead, don’t be reactive); do one thing at a time (only brake, or turn, or accelerate to ensure maximum grip); be smooth (the smoother the input, the greater the tire grip); hands should always stay at 9 and 3 o’clock; use landmarks to guide the path; master weight transfer (every control input changes balance); be aware of surroundings (always scan mirrors); increase corner speed gradually; and leave a margin of safety (don’t compound a driver error by making it worse).

    In between the morning and afternoon training sessions, Dodge Charger Brand Manager Ashton Muñoz discussed the new 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody, which was on display throughout the day.


    “For 2020, we are literally expanding our high-performance Charger models, adding a Widebody exterior to America’s only four-door muscle car,” said Muñoz. “The Charger’s successful formula is in part due to its many personalities; there’s really no other car like it.”

    MAMA members will be able to put their newly acquired skills to use at MAMA’s annual Fall Rally on Oct. 2. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally will offer track time, street drives and an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep.


    Track driving instructional videos by CGI Motorsports can be found here.

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit www.mamaonline.org.

    ###

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991 and now in its 28th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) comprises more than 250 automotive journalists and industry professionals from approximately 23 states and the District of Columbia. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, current issues and new products in the auto industry.

  • 16 Jul 2019 10:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hyundai hosted MAMA’s July meeting with a special program to introduce the 2020 Palisade, the brand’s new flagship SUV, to media members. The morning kicked off at Hyundai’s regional headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, with a breakfast and presentation led by Mike O’Brien, vice president, product, corporate and digital planning, and Trevor Lai, manager, product planning for Hyundai. Following the presentation, 25 media members were able to test drive the Palisade via a road trip to Starved Rock State Park, a scenic wilderness area located in LaSalle County, about an hour and a half drive from Hyundai’s offices. Prior to the drive, O’Brien and Lai highlighted the features they’re confident will set the Palisade apart from its competitors in the already crowded 3-row midsize SUV segment.


    The Palisade name references a line of high cliffs, and also signifies the strength of a fortress—and the Palisade’s bold exterior and strong profile are in keeping with its moniker. The standard second-row bench seat provides eight-passenger seating, but second-row captain’s chairs are also available for seven-passenger capacity and easier access to the third row. The color palate choices are subtle and reserved, which underscores the Palisade’s upscale positioning. The long wheelbase offers good ride quality, and 20-inch wheels give the midsize SUV a planted stance.

    The Palisade’s interior has a high-end look; the top-line Limited model includes luxury features such as quilted Nappa leather seats, ambient lighting, Harmon Kardon premium audio system, and a surround-view monitor. Cargo space abounds; there’s 18 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seats, growing to 86.4 cu. ft. with the second- and third-row seats folded. The Palisade also offers loads of convenience features, including one-touch third-row access (where the second-row seat folds and slides with a press of a button when entering or exiting the vehicle) and available power-folding third-row seats.


    In terms of tech, the Palisade features an all-new digital instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch widescreen navigation system, available “driver talk” in-car intercom (to broadcast the driver’s voice through the rear speakers) and a “quiet mode” feature (which mutes the speakers in the back so parents can listen to music/podcasts while kids sleep, for example).

    Hyundai’s SmartSense safety technology also comes standard on every Palisade, including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, safe exit assist, highway drive assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, ultrasonic rear occupant alert and lane following assist.


    The Palisade comes in three trim levels, with the SE starting at $31,550, the SEL at $33,500, and the Limited at $44,700.

    Please save the date for MAMA’s August meeting with the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI): Wednesday, August 14. SMDI will give attendees a first-hand glimpse of what a ride in an autonomous vehicle may look and feel like through a virtual reality experience. Members may register here.

  • 29 May 2019 4:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – May 29 – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) hosted its annual Spring Rally last week at Road America, one of the world’s premier road racing tracks. Over the course of two days, nearly 100 media members from across the country had the opportunity to put nearly 80 vehicles through their paces in a variety of driving opportunities, including on-track, street, off-road and autocross.

    Automakers from 25 different brands selected the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally to showcase their latest cars, trucks, SUVs and CUVs to top-tier automotive journalists. A handful of the attending manufacturers also provided detailed overviews of their latest products.


    Photo Credit: Cars.com

    Lexus officially opened the MAMA Spring Rally with a breakfast presentation featuring the 2020 Lexus RC lineup—particularly the high-performance RC F model. Bob Gleich, senior product trainer for Lexus, said the 2020 RC F is lighter and more capable than before. He also reiterated that the F is highly capable on the track as the vehicle relies on a variety of technologies to help make its performance accessible to drivers of varying skill levels.

    Refreshed and redefined for 2020, the RC F receives enhanced performance (with weight reduction) and an updated, aggressive design. Taking advantage of the reduced weight, RC F engineers also retuned the chassis to give the car a more responsive feel. Under the hood is a 5.0-liter V8 engine that puts out 472 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque.


    Photo Credit: Cars.com

    The RC F also comes in a Track Edition, a limited production model intended for hardcore enthusiasts. Both the 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition are in production and will be available at dealerships shortly. Pricing for the 2020 RC F starts at $64,750, and the Track Edition starts at $96,650.  


    Photo Credit: Cars.com

    Following a morning of track touring laps and street drive evaluations, Nissan’s Karen Long discussed the brand’s commitment to sedans, the overall state of the sedan market and the company’s latest reveal, the 2020 Nissan Versa.

    Despite the growing SUV and crossover market, a recent survey – conducted by third-party research firm Edelman Intelligence – found that 78 percent of respondents would consider purchasing a sedan. Moreover, U.S. sedan owners are just as satisfied with their cars as non-sedan owners.

    Long discussed the continued importance of the sedan market, highlighting the 2020 Nissan Versa, the brand’s smallest and most affordable sedan. The 2020 Versa embodies the Nissan Intelligent Mobility philosophy; it’s fully equipped with safety and connectivity features such as standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, and available intelligent cruise control, which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop if needed.

    Inside, drivers can stay fully connected with seamless smartphone integration and a tablet-like 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display. Heated front seats and customizable gauges (such as music playlists to fuel economy history) are also a bonus.

    “The MAMA Spring Rally was a great event for Nissan to showcase the all-new 2020 Versa and speak about our commitment to the sedan market,” said Karen Long, senior manager sedans, CMM, Nissan North America. “We’re thankful to have had the opportunity to engage with such a great and influential crowd and to have them drive some of our latest vehicles.”

    The 2020 Versa will arrive at dealerships later this summer. Pricing has yet to be announced but Nissan said it will be priced competitive in the segment. 


    Quite literally shifting gears, Hyundai put its Veloster N in the spotlight by bringing five models for journalists to drive on track, on street and in the autocross. Mike O’Brien wrapped up the first full Rally day with a dinner presentation on the Veloster N, highlighting the three key pillars of the vehicle’s “fun-to-drive” theme: Corner Rascal (with precise control through corners); Race Track Capability; and Everyday Sports Car (easy to control from urban commutes to track driving).

    The “N” in its name both represents Namyang, Korea (where Hyundai’s engineering center is based and where the vehicle was born), as well as Germany’s Nürburgring, one of the longest, most tradition-steeped, challenging and busiest race tracks in the world (where the vehicle was honed). Also of note, the letter “N” represents a chicane. Built for the track, the Veloster N features a 275-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, N corner-carving differential, electronically controlled suspension, N “grin control” drive modes for precision and control, and a variable exhaust system.


    Photo Credit: Cars.com

    Racing attributes aside, the Veloster N offers the following as standard equipment: 8-inch audio display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, premium audio, LED headlights and taillights, Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car Service, proximity key with push button start, and automatic temperature control.

    “The Veloster N is another example of Hyundai’s capabilities, offering a comprehensive degree of exterior and interior features and thrilling dynamics in an exciting sports car,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president, product, corporate and digital planning, Hyundai. “The Veloster N represents Hyundai’s highest performance vehicle ever for the U.S. market. We were thrilled to share our fun-to-drive Veloster N at the Midwest Automotive Media Association's Spring Rally.”

    The Veloster N begins at $26,900; the available Performance Package bumps the starting price to $29,000.


    Volkswagen kicked off the second day of the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally with a presentation and overview of the Jetta GLI, which was also available for evaluations on the street, the track, and the autocross.

    New for the 2019 model year, the Volkswagen Jetta GLI is a sedan with the heart and soul of the Golf GTI. Now featuring a 228-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a sophisticated limited-slip differential, and front brakes from the Golf R, the GLI is all new and presents a great value in the sport-sedan segment, according to VW.

    “I’m really pleased that we had the chance to present the all-new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI to our friends at MAMA,” said Mark Gillies, senior manager, product and technology communications, Volkswagen of America. “The Spring Rally is a highlight of the media association year and I’m delighted that MAMA members were able to experience the vehicle at Road America, one of my favorite tracks on the planet.”

    The 2019 Jetta GLI begins at $25,995 – $1,000 more for the 35th anniversary edition – and is currently on sale.


    Following an action-packed morning of off-road, autocross, and street driving, Mopar, the service, parts, and customer-care brand of FCA, hosted the final event and presentation of the MAMA Spring Rally. Kim Mathers, head of accessories and performance parts, Mopar, walked attendees through the brand’s evolution over 80-plus years in serving customers throughout the ownership experience.


    Photo Credit: Cars.com

    Mathers highlighted the brand’s emphasis on offering a large menu of accessories right at launch for new vehicles, such as the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator and 2019 Ram 1500.

    “The MAMA event is a great opportunity to share the Mopar brand’s mission with a large group of key journalists and media outlets,” said Mathers. “We were able to put journalists behind the wheel and let them experience a Ram 1500 Big Horn loaded with Mopar accessories and also share with them a behind-the-scenes video of a Mopar Custom Shop to demonstrate how we can accessorize vehicles even before they reach the dealership. The event was a great opportunity to interact with media and build relationships.”

    Finalists for MAMA’s annual Family Vehicle of the Year (FVOTY) and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year (LFVOTY) Awards were also announced. During the event, journalists had the opportunity to evaluate 13 MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year contenders and six MAMA Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year contenders. Out of these vehicles, 70 MAMA journalists cast their votes and selected the following finalists.

    FVOTY Finalists:

    • 2020 Jeep Gladiator
    • 2020 Kia Telluride
    • 2019 Honda Passport
    • 2019 Mazda3

    LFVOTY Finalists:

    • 2019 BMW X7
    • 2019 Lincoln Nautilus
    • 2019 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLS 53 Coupe

    To qualify for the awards, the vehicle must have four doors and be new or significantly updated within a year of the Spring Rally. These vehicles will join another round of finalists that will be selected during the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally this October. A final round of online voting will then take place to determine the overall winner in each category, both of which will be announced during the MAMA breakfast that opens the 2020 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview in February. 

    “MAMA developed the Family Vehicle and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Awards to help car-shopping families make a wise decision when they’re ready for a new vehicle, and who better to evaluate these vehicles than the high-caliber group of automotive journalists who attend our rallies?” said Damon Bell, MAMA president. “We look forward to sharing the final results during the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.”


    The MAMA Spring Rally also served as a venue for the presentation of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show’s Best of Show Awards. In voting conducted over the 10-day public run of the Chicago Auto Show, consumer voters selected their favorites in five categories. Mark Bilek, senior director of communications and technology for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association, which produces the Chicago Auto Show, was on hand to distribute the awards to attending automakers. Jordan Wasylyk of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles accepted Jeep’s awards for Best Exhibit and for the 2020 Gladiator, which was voted Best All-New Production Vehicle. Bob Gleich of Lexus accepted the Best Concept Vehicle award for the Lexus LC Convertible. The 2019 Audi e-tron was also voted Best Green Vehicle and the 2019 Bugatti Chiron was selected the “Vehicle I’d mist like to have in my driveway.”

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit www.mamaonline.org.

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    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991 and now in its 28th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) comprises more than 250 automotive journalists and industry professionals from approximately 23 states and the District of Columbia. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, current issues and new products in the auto industry.

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