SAMA recognizes best cars at Miami International Auto Show

Pictured are the auto manufacturers’ representatives who accepted the 2013 SAMA awards at the Miami International Auto Show. They are (l-r) Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer Global Chevrolet; Burke Johnson, South Florida marketing manager, Jaguar/Land Rover; William Potter, Cadillac sales/service vice president, and Fernando Senra, regional communications representative, Ford Motor Co.

Pictured are the auto manufacturers’ representatives who accepted the 2013 SAMA awards at the Miami International Auto Show. They are (l-r) Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer Global Chevrolet; Burke Johnson, South Florida marketing manager, Jaguar/Land Rover; William Potter, Cadillac sales/service vice president, and Fernando Senra, regional communications representative, Ford Motor Co.

The Corvette Stingray, Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Cadillac ELR were named the top vehicles on display during the 43rd annual Miami International Auto Show (MIAS), Nov. 8-17, by the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA), while Ford’s performance simulator was tapped as the Best Interactive Display by an auto manufacturer.

The nine-member SAMA judging panel awarded the sleek new Corvette Stingray the seventh annual “Star of the Show” trophy after deciding that it was the single vehicle on display at the show that South Floridians will most want to see.

At the same time, the judges picked Land Rover’s all-new Range Sport as the “Best Utility Vehicle” in the show because its allnew design and technological innovation, while Cadillac’s new ELR plug-in electric vehicle was tapped as “Best Green Technology Vehicle” for its outstanding design and superb fuel economy.

Ford Motor Co. was awarded the “Best Interactive Display” trophy for its ability to allow consumers attending the auto show to experience a virtual fast-paced ride and test their driving skills on a challenging digital road course.

“We considered about a dozen vehicles for the Star of the Show award,” said Ron Beasley, SAMA judging committee chair. “That list included the Jaguar F-Type, the Cadillac CTS, Kia’s new Cadenza, the Lexus IS, Maserati’s new Ghibli, the Infiniti Q50 and BMW3 Series, to mention some of them. But, in the end, the judges felt that the new Corvette Stingray was simply the most exciting vehicle on the floor.”

Land Rover’s all-new Range Rover Sport earned the judges’ vote as the “Best Utility Vehicle” in the 2013 MIAS. The judges said they liked the new design of the new Range Rover Sport because it shed 700 pounds and the fact that it incorporated so much of the latest automotive industry technology. The Range Rover Sport bested the new Jeep Cherokee, Buick Encore, GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado to win the SAMA “Best Utility Vehicle” trophy.

In the Green Technology category, Beasley said the judges considered a half-dozen vehicles, including the Audi A6 TDI, BMW’s 328d, the Honda Accord, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla before deciding to award the trophy to the exciting and sleek new Cadillac ELR.

“Cadillac clearly has produced an automobile with cutting-edge technology that is sure to be a hit with consumers,” Beasley said. “With its plug-in electric ability and on-board re-charging capability, it will offer luxury buyers the opportunity to own a very attractive, alternative-energy vehicle and our judging panel thought it was worthy of receiving the designation as ‘Best Green Technology Vehicle’ in the Miami International Auto Show.”

This is the seventh consecutive year that SAMA has given the awards at the MIAS, which marks its 43rd anniversary this year. A prestigious panel of nine SAMA members walked the floor of the show and reviewed the vehicles prior to the opening and determined which vehicles would receive the coveted SAMA awards.

The 2013 panel of judges included SAMA founding president and automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers Ron Beasley; SAMA president-elect and founding member Bill Adam; auto writer and former SAMA president/founding member Paul Borden; auto writer/photographer and SAMA founding member Angelica Willard; nationally known automotive radio personality Joe Castello; veteran automotive writer and track announcer Ric Green; bilingual automotive journalist Juan Robbin; auto writer and sports car racer Dr. Ray Mummery, and auto writer/magazine publisher Marlen Bedoya.

The awards were announced and presented at the annual auto show luncheon sponsored by Chevrolet and hosted by SAMA for members of the auto industry on the opening day of the Miami auto show.

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