MAMA News

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  • 23 Jun 2016 8:23 PM | Anonymous

    CHICAGO, Illinois – Honda took advantage of the beautiful Chicago summer weather and hosted a picnic for MAMA members this week to show off the 2017 Ridgeline truck -- which just so happened to go on sale that same day.

    Honda’s Public Relations Manager James Jenkins provided MAMA members an overview of the new Ridgeline – from a PowerPoint featured on a TV screen mounted to the back of the truck bed. Note: the truck offers an in-bed AC power outlet turning the entire bed into an audio system.

    Overall, Jenkins said the new truck offers better ride comfort, better traction, better stability on and off the road, independent suspension, best active AWD in the market and a stronger, lighter body. The Ridgeline’s V6 engine provides top-of-class fuel economy delivering a city and highway combined 22 miles.

    MAMA members enjoyed cold soda out of the Rideline’s lockable in-bed trunk (that can fit an 82-inch cooler!) that was filled to the brim with ice and an assortment of beverages. The bed length measures 64” long with tailgate, and 60” wide at bed walls. The truck has a maximum tow rating of 5,000 lbs. and a payload rating of 1,499 for the AWD RTL-E trim. Additionally, Honda says the Ridgeline’s best-in-class rear seat cargo space can fit an adult bike without removing a wheel.

    On the interior, the Ridgeline features an 8” infotainment touchscreen interface, ambient lighting, smart start and a heated steering wheel. For safety, Honda Sensing offers adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, CMBS (vehicles and pedestrians), forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Additional assist features include blind spot information, rear cross traffic monitor and LaneWatch.

    The Ridgeline starts at an MSRP of $29,475 for 2WD and tops out at $42,870.  

  • 27 May 2016 9:33 PM | Anonymous

    ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin –Automakers and journalists once again descended on Road America this week, which has become home to the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally. An annual favorite, the two-day event draws top journalists from the across the country where they’re able to experience approximately 100 of the industry’s hottest vehicles. This year not only marks MAMA’s 15th Spring Rally, but also the association’s 25th anniversary.

    Nearly 100 media and more than 60 manufacturers and affiliate members attended. The first evening, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) sponsored the traditional Wisconsin fish fry dinner for manufacturers and out-of-town journalists. This event has become an annual favorite “warm welcome” that reunites industry colleagues and friends.

    The first morning opened with a breakfast hosted by GMC where the brand introduced the 2016 Yukon SLT Premium Edition – a chrome-trimmed special model offering a premium, personalized appearance on SLT models.

    Following, CGI Motorsports hosted a track safety talk and then rally-goers were cut loose to take on the track and street drives. Following two hours of hot laps and test drives of Family Vehicle of the Year award contenders, Nissan sponsored a “farm to table” themed lunch where a brand executive provided detail on the LEAF. The lunch ended with a fun surprise for guests – Nissan treated everyone to smoothies made in blenders powered by the LEAF.

    More track and street driving occurred, with go-karting (sponsored by Kia) closing out the afternoon. A quick attire change later, members were back at the Osthoff Resort for dinner, sponsored by General Motors and MAVEN Mobility. During the dinner, the Chicago Auto Show presented its “Best of Show” awards: “Best Exhibit” to Chevrolet; “Best Green Vehicle” also went to Chevrolet for the Volt; “Best All-New Production Vehicle” went to the Lexus LC 500; and “Vehicle I’d like to have in my driveway” went to the Ford GT. The night, per usual, concluded at Siebken’s Tavern (known as the “best bar on the racing circuit”), libations sponsored by GM and MAVEN.

    The second morning kicked off with a breakfast hosted by Chrysler. This venue provided Chrysler the opportunity to highlight the all-new Pacifica and encourage those who haven’t already driven the family hauler to take it for a spin.

    Back at Road America, journalists could partake in an off-road course, sponsored by Land Rover North America, or street driving. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, the autocross portion – sponsored by Toyota – had to be cancelled. However, plenty of fun was had on the off-road course and driving vehicles members didn’t have time to test out the previous day.

    By noon, everyone was hungry again and, thanks to ZF North America, MAMA members had a hearty sendoff lunch of traditional German fare before returning to their respective states.  Rally-goers know to stay until the very end as MAMA raffled off a series of prizes provided by the automakers and some affiliate members. In addition, MAMA gave away four Amazon gift cards and a pair of iPads to sweeten the deal.

    MAMA thanks additional sponsors who helped make the event memorable: Cars.com, Ford, Mazda, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo as fuel sponsors; Honda for WiFi; Hyundai for the Snack Oasis; Mercedes-Benz for keeping members safe on the track with helmets; G. Schmitz & Associates for Vehicle Playcards and stickers; and G. Schmitz & Associates and Drive Shop for event logistics. Finally, this featured event couldn’t come together without the hard work of the MAMA Rally Team; the MAMA Board of Directors thank all for their help.

    The next MAMA event to look forward to will be hosted by Honda for a “Day at the Park!” Honda will have the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline loaded with cold refreshments as members enjoy a BBQ lunch and vehicle presentation. That event will be held on June 21 at the UIC Outdoor Picnic Grounds from noon to 2 p.m.

    Members should also save the date for the 2016 MAMA Fall Rally which will be held on September 28 at the Autobahn Country Club. Following the track day, MAMA will also host a 25th anniversary party to honor the association’s heritage and success. Stay tuned for more details.

  • 25 May 2016 9:51 PM | Anonymous

    ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – GMC today announced the 2016 Yukon SLT Premium Edition – a chrome-trimmed special model offering a premium, personalized appearance on SLT models.

    Unveiled today before a gathering of automotive media from across the country at the annual 2016 MAMA Spring Rally, it goes on sale this summer, offered on Yukon and Yukon XL models. Features include:

    ·         Unique design 22-inch chrome-wheels

    ·         Unique design chrome grille

    ·         Bright chrome body-side moldings

    ·         Polished exhaust tip

    “The new Yukon SLT Premium Edition adds distinction and personalized style to the already well-appointed Yukon SLT model,” said Stu Pierce, senior marketing manager, GMC Trucks & Full-size SUVs. “For discerning customers seeking uncompromising capability and unparalleled refinement in a full-size SUV, Yukon SLT Premium Edition delivers with the latest in technologies, amenities and a unique and premium style.”

    Yukon and Yukon XL SLT models are powered by an advanced 5.3L V-8 engine that offers the segment’s best V-8 fuel economy: an EPA-estimated 23 highway mpg (2WD models).

    Additional standard and available features on SLT models include:

    ·         Fold-flat second- and third-row seats that enhance cargo capability and convenience, including an available power-folding feature

    ·         Power rear liftgate with multiple programmable height settings and hands-free operation

    ·         Wireless phone charging

    ·         Standard 8-inch-diagonal color touch-screen radio with enhanced IntelliLink and available navigation

    ·         Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection compatibility

    ·         Keyless Open and Start

    ·         8,500-lb. max trailering for Yukon and 8,300-lb. max trailering for Yukon XL (2WD models)

    The Yukon lineup also incorporates technologies that help protect the driver and passengers before, during and after a collision. They include a forward radar system and the segment’s only Front Center Air Bag (models with front bucket seats), which deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants in side impacts.

    Phone projection technology

    Through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, Yukon’s IntelliLink infotainment system provides simple and intuitive use of smartphones in the vehicle. It integrates certain phone functions onto the 8-inch-diagonal color touch screen, allowing you to call up music, navigation apps and more.

    Using either application is simple. A “Projection” icon on the IntelliLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected and changes to indicate CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected through a USB. Android Auto requires a phone running the Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or higher, while Apple CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or later models.

    OnStar 4G LTE and available Wi-Fi hotspot complement IntelliLink to enhance Yukon’s connectivity.

    Fast Fact: Yukon and Yukon XL sales were up more than 11 percent for the first four months of 2016.

    GMC has manufactured trucks since 1902, with innovation and engineering excellence built into all GMC vehicles. The brand is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. GMC’s highest-volume vehicle, the Sierra pickup, is the most powerful light-duty pickup on the market, and the first full-size pickup to receive the highest-possible five-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration changed its New Car Assessment Program for the 2011 model year. Details on all GMC models are available at http://www.gmc.com/, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at http://www.facebook.com/gmc.

  • 12 May 2016 9:47 PM | Anonymous

    OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois – Haartz Corporation, the world’s leading supplier of highly-engineered and uniquely designed convertible toppings, presented to MAMA members during the monthly meeting. The supplier shared details of its new Jacquard Weaving Technology, which allows for designed patterns to be included in the topping material of convertibles. Most recently, Jacquard was applied on the 2016 MINI convertible which offers an optional Union Jack featured on the top; the Citroën DS3 which has the logo woven into the topping material; and the 60th anniversary Chevrolet Corvette, which included a blue racing stripe. 

    Haartz also highlighted its full range of capabilities and offerings in various segments including Luxury Cabrios (such as Mercedes C-Class); Ultra-luxury Cabrios (such as the Rolls-Royce Dawn they had on hand for media test drives); SUVs (including the Range Rover Evoque); Semi-Cabrios (Fiat 500C, for example); and Targas (such as the Honda S600 – not available in the U.S.).

    The company discussed its collaboration with the manufacturers on creating tops that customers desire, and also referenced its growing business in the aftermarket space. Haartz educated members on the market, mentioning they have the lion’s share, but noting the biggest competition for the company is actually other “open air” concepts such as moon roofs.  

    Additional capabilities range from basic formulation of fibers, yarns, fabrics and elastomers to customized design and testing services to suit customer specific needs for material appearance, physical durability, and acoustical performance. For more information on Haartz or its capabilities and products, MAMA members can visit www.haartz.com.

    2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn featuring Haartz convertible topping

  • 13 Apr 2016 9:53 PM | Anonymous

    OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois  The National Safety Council’s Alex Epstein and the University of Iowa’s Dr. Daniel McGehee, from the university’s transportation and vehicle safety research division, served as the guest speakers during the monthly Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) meeting to talk about their new initiative, “My Car Does What?” Perhaps exactly how it sounds, the My Car Does What campaign was designed to put consumers in the driver’s seat when it comes to learning about safety and technology features found in vehicles today.

    According to the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa, 95 percent of car crashes are due to driver error. However, new vehicle technology can help prevent or greatly reduce the severity of the crash. The technology is out there, but the issue the NSC and the University of Iowa are finding is that consumers do not know much about how the tech works or even how to read some of the icons within their vehicles – ultimately defeating the entire purpose of the technology being present in the vehicle.

    According to McGehee, one of the most exciting tech advancements out there today is automatic braking. For those within the automotive industry, that term can sound tired – archaic even – when up against some of the forthcoming advancements such as driverless cars; however, the reality is most consumers are far behind this curve. For example, if automatic braking is present within a vehicle, most do not know how to operate it or what signs to look for when it’s about to kick in (i.e. does it kick in at any speed or just after 30 mph?). Studies show that people who know how to use the technology can decrease their risk of an accident, but 40 percent of people reported their vehicle operated in a manner they didn’t expect and 33 percent had to call their dealership or turn to Google for more information.

    The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have teamed up to provide an online, mobile- and tablet-friendly resource, MyCarDoesWhat.org, to help educate consumers. The website’s homepage lists the 28 technology and safety features present on vehicles today including: backup camera, antilock braking system, blind spot monitor, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, tire pressure monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, automatic parallel parking, backup warning, curve speed warning, drowsiness alert, electronic braking assistance, electronic stability control, forward collision warning, high speed alert, hill descent assist, hill start assist, lane keeping assist, night vision, obstacle detection, parking sensors, pedestrian detection, push button start, rear cross traffic alert, road surface warning, sideview camera and traction control.

    To educate people on the features, each has an identifiable icon next to it. The responsive site is designed to help serve as an easy-to-navigate online manual for people who don’t want to spend hours thumbing through their hard copy booklet. Additionally, the website features videos, easy-to-read infographics and even fun games to help people better understand their vehicle’s functionalities.

    While there isn’t an industry standard for technology or safety feature terminology (naturally, each brand wants to distinguish itself from its competition), MyCarDoesWhat.org is aimed to help to bridge the gap for people wanting to better understand their car’s current features and determine what’s most important to them when shopping for a new vehicle. Learn more here.

  • 05 Apr 2016 6:13 PM | Anonymous

    ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – What’s always a highly-anticipated event, automotive manufacturers and journalists will soon descend on one of America’s most famous race tracks, Road America, for the 15th annual MAMA Spring Rally.

    What’s always a highly-anticipated event, automotive manufacturers and journalists will soon descend on one of America’s most famous race tracks, Road America, for the 15th annual MAMA Spring Rally.

    The two-day event will kick off with hot laps in some of the hottest vehicles as well as scenic on-road driving on Elkhart Lake’s winding roads. The second day will consist of Autocross (avoid the cones to score the best time) and off-roading on three modest-to-challenging courses. Additionally, rally-goers will be able to test-drive the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year nominees; the award will be presented to the manufacturer at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.

    Registration is now closed. For those attending, please ensure to fill out your digital waivers. Also, remember to tag social media posts with #MAMA16SR.

    We’ll see you at the track! 



  • 05 Apr 2016 4:30 PM | Anonymous

    OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois Buick Vice President of Marketing Tony DiSalle spotlighted the all-new Buick Cascada during the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) monthly meeting. The Cascada is one of four new vehicles that Buick recently introduced or will unveil this year. Sharing showroom space with the Encore, Envision and Enclave, the Cascada enters a “white space” in the compact coupe convertible market.

    While the Cascada is new to the U.S., it has been available in Europe since 2013 under the Opel name. Designed from the ground up to be a convertible, DiSalle says to not mistake the Cascada for a performance vehicle – there are plenty of others to fill that need. Instead, the Cascada mirrors Buick’s already established image of “beautiful, quiet, spirited and efficient.”

    “This is not a ‘throw your head back, 0-60 miles per hour kind of car,’” DiSalle explained.

    Power comes from a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with 200 hp and 207 lb.-ft. of torque. The power-operated top can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 31 mph in just 17 seconds. The sculpted simple, yet sporty, convertible rides on 20-inch alloy wheels that come standard.

    From a tech standpoint, the Cascada becomes a mobile hotspot with standard 4G LTE in-car WiFi. Also available is OnStar’s RemoteLink system that allows owners to control their car remotely. Users of the RemoteLink mobile app can turn on and off their vehicle, manage WiFi usage, lock or unlock the doors and even locate the vehicle. Rear-seat entry is eased to allow passengers to enter the vehicle comfortably, thanks to a system that automatically powers the front seats forward. The technology also automatically moves the seats back when the seatback is returned to the upright position.

    In terms of safety, the Cascada offers rollover protection bars that deploy behind the rear seats in the event a rollover is detected. Additional features include lane departure warning, rear park assist, rearview camera and efficient windshield wipers that can sense rain.

    DiSalle gave a glimpse into Buick’s future and said the brand will continue to focus on three key items: quality, customer satisfaction and – to the auto journalists’ delight – new product. Buick continues to court a younger demographic and conduct advertising with the goal of shifting its brand image.

    The Cascada starts at a $33,990 and has already proven to be popular in Chicago. Buick doubled its sales expectations with the Cascada last month – speaking volumes for a convertible in the month of February in Chicago.

  • 03 Feb 2016 6:30 AM | Anonymous

    CHICAGO, Illinois – The Midwest Automotive Media Association announced today that the 2016 Volvo XC90 has been named the winner of its sixth annual Family Vehicle of the Year award.

    The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public relations professionals, developed the award to help the consumer make a wise buy when it’s time to shop for a family vehicle. “Choosing a family vehicle is an important decision. It should be versatile, reliable, efficient, and reasonably priced. MAMA members pooled their expertise and experience to select the best family vehicle from an excellent group of new and notably refreshed models, and the Volvo XC90 ended up at the top,” said award coordinator Damon Bell.

    To qualify for the award, vehicles had to have four doors, start at less than $50,000, appear at one of MAMA’s two annual rallies, and be new or significantly updated within a year of the 2015 Spring Rally, which took place last May. The MAMA Spring and Fall rallies feature roughly 100 manufacturer vehicles for journalists to drive and evaluate.

    Voting took place at both rallies, creating a list of 13 contenders: the Fiat 500X, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, Honda CR-V, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sedona, Kia Sorento, Lincoln MKX, Nissan Maxima, Nissan Murano, Volkswagen Golf SportWagen, and Volvo XC90.


    MAMA members then took part in the final vote. A total of 87 automotive journalists voted the 2016 Volvo XC90 the winner with 128 total points, besting the 2016 Honda Pilot, which garnered 90 total points. The 2015 Kia Sedona placed third with 43 total points.

    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.

    Voting for the 2017 Family Vehicle of the Year award will begin at the 2016 MAMA Spring Rally, which is scheduled for May 25-26 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. The Fall Rally is set for September 28 at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Ill.

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, the Midwest Automotive Media Association is comprised of more than 200 automotive journalists and public relations professionals. 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.

  • 03 Feb 2016 5:00 AM | Anonymous

    LOMBARD, Illinois – The 2016 MAMA Business Meeting was held at Harry Caray's on Jan. 27. MAMA board members provided reports on how the organization had progressed over the last year, and the membership elected the board for 2016.

    For 2016, the MAMA board will consist of Webmaster Jennifer Morand; Vice President of Membership Fred Ligouri; Secretary Kelley Enright; Treasurer Larry Nutson; Vice President Jill Ciminillo; and President Patrick Olsen.

    In addition, Dave Sloan and Mark Bilek provided a preview of the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, which will include a series of vehicle debuts.

    The Treasurer’s news for the year was positive. We began 2015 with a balance of $75,720, took in $157,850 during the year, (which includes $10,485 in late payments from 2014 CY), spent $137,447, and ended with a balance of $96,125 in Jan. 2016.

    Secretary Jennifer Morand reported that during the 2015 MAMA Business Meeting, there were 28 people in attendance. The 2015 Chicago Auto Show MAMA Breakfast had approximately 400 people in attendance; the Chrysler 200 was named Family Vehicle of the Year. In March, Chrysler hosted 40 guests at The Grove in Glenview to test drive the 300. MAMA hosted its annual Spring Rally last May at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. 160 industry personnel attended, 88 of which were journalists. MAMA held a track school for members last July at Gingerman Raceway in South Haven, MI to get them comfortable with track driving and safety precautions. Space was limited to 24 attendees total, and was split into morning and afternoon sessions; Dodge was the presenting sponsor. Nissan hosted the July monthly meeting to discuss Maxima; there were 35 members in attendance. GM hosted 30 attendees for an August meeting to announce Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in 14 GM models. Honda also hosted an August meeting to share details for its light truck lineup; 40 members attended. September’s meeting focused on Jaguar Land Rover and the XE and F-Pace; 27 attended that meeting. MAMA held its annual Fall Rally in October at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet. A private dinner in Bobby Rahal’s garage kicked everything off. There were 120 people in attendance, 77 of which were journalists. Also in October, Toyota shared details with members on the 2016 Tacoma; 30 members attended that presentation. Then, in December, MAMA threw a Holiday Social for 60 members at the historic Danada House in Wheaton. Overall, the average meeting attendance in 2015 was 32 members, not counting rallies or special events.   

    Vice President of Membership Fred Ligouri reported that as of the date of the meeting, MAMA’s total membership stood at 246 members. This represents a slight increase, from 233 in 2015, in membership year over year. Of the current 246 members, 82 are affiliate members, 162 are media members, and 2 are in the retired class of membership. 

  • 01 Feb 2016 5:26 PM | Anonymous

    CHICAGO, Illinois – The 2016 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview will open on Thursday, Feb. 11 with a keynote from Mark LaNeve, vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service Ford Motor Co. during the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) breakfast from 8-9 a.m.

    During the opening portion of the breakfast, MAMA President Patrick Olsen will present the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year award and introduce Mark LaNeve. LaNeve is responsible for all marketing, sales, service, customer care and dealer relations for the Ford and Lincoln brands. His focus is on continuing to build the Ford brand through innovative new digital communications and transforming the retail experience for customers. LaNeve came to Ford after several years leading the company’s marketing and advertising agency, Global Team Ford, where he was chief operating officer since August 2012. In this role, LaNeve led not only Team Detroit, which services the Ford brand in the U.S., but also the agency’s operations in London, Sao Paulo and Shanghai, as well as Hudson Rouge, the Lincoln agency in New York City.

    “The Chicago Auto Show is very important to Ford and its Chicagoland dealers,” said LaNeve. “We look forward to seeing the excitement this show generates as well as the automotive passion of all Chicagoans.”

    “It’s an honor to have someone of Mark’s caliber to open the nation’s largest auto show,” said Colin Wickstrom, 2016 Chicago Auto Show chairman. “Ford has long supported the Chicago Auto Show with executive addresses, important product introductions and some of the largest displays it produces worldwide.”

    Doors open for the MAMA breakfast at 7 a.m. on Feb. 11. Valid media or exhibitor credentials are required for admission. 

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