The 2016 Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally, sponsored by the Steel Market Development Institute, united more than 100 MAMA members and manufacturer representatives together with 70 cars, trucks and SUVs last week for a day of hot laps on the track, on-road and off-road fun.
The annual event took place at the regarded Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, and wrapped up with a celebration of the association’s 25th anniversary.
Media members were able to test-drive cars of nearly every brand including: Acura, Alfa Romeo, BMW, Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Nissan, RAM, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.
The morning of the Fall Rally kicked off with a Fiat breakfast presentation that fueled members up for a day on the track. Fiat featured a series of its new commercials, including the risqué commercial with the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. The automaker brought both the 124 Spider Classica and the 124 Spider Lusso for MAMA members to test-drive.
During the morning session, members could partake in the three various activities – track laps, street driving and off-road – and could restore energy with a stop at the Snack Oasis, sponsored by Chrysler.
Later on, Nissan’s Director of Small Cars, Brandon White, kicked off lunch with a brief presentation. The menu featured “small and quick” bites that foreshadowed the topic of conversation: the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo. White discussed Nissan’s major enhancements to the Sentra's powertrain, steering, brakes and suspension. MAMA Fall Rally attendees were the first media group to be able to track drive the Sentra, which was a nice surprise.
Following the lunch presentation, rally-goers enjoyed more track time, street test-drives and the off-road course.
Featured vehicles in the off-road course, sponsored by Jeep, included a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, Jeep Wrangler Willys, 2016 Renegade Trailhawk, Ram Rebel, Range Rover Sport HSE TD6, Nissan Titan PRO-4X, 2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited and a Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – plenty of options for journalists to test on the varying terrain.
Members and manufacturers gathered again that evening for a celebration of MAMA’s 25th Anniversary, with sponsor support by Toyota, Steel Market Development Institute Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti. Toyota displayed two cars from the '90s from its museum, a Lexus ES250 and a Toyota Supra Turbo. MAMA President Patrick Olsen coordinated a trivia contest surrounding key automotive and pop culture events from 1991, the year MAMA was founded.
A video captured MAMA’s key moments throughout its robust history and spotlighted the founding President Jim Mateja on the association’s inception and evolution. Members also had a great laugh as they looked back at photos of current members from 1991 – which also happened to be a part of the trivia contest. It was truly a great day that wrapped up with a “family” celebration – the most commonly used word that MAMA members used to describe the media association.
Current and Past MAMA Presidents, thanks for all you do.