Auto Interiors Mag Names Winners for Annual Awards

17 May 2000

Magazine Names Winners for Car & Truck Interior of the Year
    DETROIT - Auto Interiors magazine has selected the Audi TT Coupe and Mazda 
MPV as the winners for the publication's inaugural Car & Truck Interior of the 
Year Awards.  The winners were selected from a field of six outstanding 
finalists, including the Ford Focus and Toyota Echo in the passenger car 
category, and the BMW X5 and Dodge Dakota Quad-Cab Pickup in the light truck 
category.

    Using the criteria of interior appearance, functionality, innovation, and
overall impression, the magazine screened some 49 new vehicles before making
its selection, said Richard Lebovitz, the magazine's co-publisher/editor.

    "Both production passenger cars and light trucks, including imports,
introduced in North America for the 2000 model year were considered," said
Lebovitz.  The vehicles had to be all-new or represent a significant redesign
to be eligible.

    Appearance factors that figured in the judging included interior styling,
color and materials, and fit-and-finish.  Functionality included comfort,
convenience and safety features.  And innovation included both surprise and
delight features and better mousetraps -- notable improvements over previous
vehicles.

    Lebovitz said the wow! factor figured into the magazine staff's overall
impression of the vehicles.  "Each of the finalists offers something fresh and
original," he said.

    In naming the Audi TT Coupe the Car Interior of the Year Award winner, the
editors said, "From its brushed aluminum radio cover to its folding cargo
cover, the TT is fun and functional.  Impeccable quality provides a solid,
rattle-free ride, and a variety of safety features lurk just beneath the
surface.  But the engineering doesn't stop with safety.  After just a short
time in the TT, it becomes apparent that much thought went into the design of
every switch and control in the entire vehicle."

    Of the Mazda MPV, named the Truck Interior of the Year Award winner, the
editors said, "The MPV earned top honors because it boasts a set of amenities
that makes spending hours on the road sound like fun.  Moreover, the MPV's
interior layout can morph to suit almost any need.  The right-hand seat in the
middle row slides from side to side, creating either a faux captain's chair
arrangement when separated, or a small bench with an aisle to the rear when
together, while the versatile third row seat folds and flips into four
different positions.

    The winning Car and Truck Interior of the Year and finalists were honored
at the magazine's annual awards banquet, held May 16, 2000, at The Atheneum
Suite Hotel in Detroit.  This year's banquet sponsors were Johnson Controls
Inc., Collins & Aikman, Delphi Automotive Systems, Faurecia, Lear Corp., and
Sommer Allibert.  The banquet is held in conjunction with the 2000 Automotive
& Transportation Interiors Expo, slated May 16-18 at Detroit's Cobo
Conference/Exhibition Center.

    Atlanta-based Auto Interiors is a publication of Bill Communications,
Inc., the country's fastest-growing publisher of influential business
magazines, a producer of major conferences and expositions, and owner of
numerous web information delivery sites on the Internet.  The company
publishes more than 45 business publications and produces 31 leading business
conferences, exhibitions and events from its headquarters in New York City and
its division offices in Atlanta, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.  Bill
Communications is a subsidiary of VNU-USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Netherlands-based VNU, an international publishing and information company
that employs approximately 15,000 people worldwide and has annual revenues of
more than $2.8 billion.



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