Finalists are Named in First Annual Car & Truck Interior of the Year Awards
28 March 2000Finalists are Named in First Annual Car & Truck Interior of the Year Awards
ATLANTA, March 27 Automobile and light truck interior design is finally being recognized for its important contribution to industry sales. Automotive & Transportation Interiors Magazine has announced the six finalists for this year's awards. The three finalists in the passenger car category are the Audi TT Coupe, Ford Focus and Toyota Echo. In the light truck category, the finalists are the BMW X5, Dodge Dakota Quad-Cab Pickup and Mazda MPV. The winning car and truck interior of the year will be named at the magazine's annual awards banquet, scheduled for May 16, 2000, at The Athenium Suite Hotel in Detroit. The banquet will be held in conjunction with the 2000 Automotive & Transportation Interiors Expo that runs from May 16-18 at Detroit's Cobo Center. According to Richard Lebovitz, the magazine's co-publisher/editor, "The awards have been established to focus attention and recognize the increasing importance of vehicle interior design to automotive product branding and the customer's purchasing decision. Both production passenger cars and light trucks, including imports, introduced in North America for the 2000 model year were considered for the awards." Using the criteria of interior appearance, functionality and innovation, 49 new vehicles were screened before finalists were selection, reported Lebovitz. Appearance factors used in judging included interior styling, color and materials, and fit-and-finish. Functionality factors included comfort, convenience and safety features. Innovation criteria included "surprise and delight" features as well as the "better mousetrap" features -- notable improvements over previous vehicles. "The 'wow!' factor also figured into the magazine staff's thinking," said Lebovitz. "Each finalist offered something fresh and original." Car and Truck Interior of the Year Finalists Love it or hate it, the Audi TT Coupe represents a stunning exercise in design. The interior of this Teutonic spaceship offers a cocoon of leather and brushed aluminum, and, although the rear seats are barely suitable for a family of Pekinese, the car offers ample headroom for six-footers. The Ford Focus represents a daring design departure from its spiritual predecessor, the venerable Escort. The interior, with its pleasing angles and quality materials, raises the bar in compact car ergonomics and aesthetics. The Toyota Echo subcompact combines cute styling touches, such as a center-mounted instrument cluster, with functional details, like storage bins carved out of every possible nook and cranny. Despite the vehicle's Lilliputian dimensions, the high roof and light colors make the interior feel cavernous. The BMW X5, the automaker's first entry in the SUV category, offers a cabin that is precisely what one would expect in a BMW: luxurious, ergonomically correct and impeccably well screwed together. Convenience touches and occupant safety considerations abound in a sea of leather that's as pleasing to the nose as it is to the eyes. The Dodge Dakota Quad-Cab pickup impresses with its comfortable functionality. The four full-size doors allow easy ingress and egress, while the back seat provides adequate legroom and a seatback that is not bolt upright. The Mazda MPV minivan borrows many strengths from its competitors but improves on them as well. Amenities such as a tumble-under third row seat and power windows in the sliding side doors combine with an attractively-styled dash to make an appealing package. For more information on the Car and Truck Interior of the Year Awards banquet, contact Aimee Doyne, meeting manager at 800-241-9034, 770-569-1540, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the 2000 Automotive & Transportation Interiors Expo contact Gary DeHart, publisher, at 800-241-9034, 770-569-1540, Ext. 221 or e-mail, email@example.com.