Troy, Mich. — The winners of the North American Concept Vehicle Awards were announced July 26th at a ceremony at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s in Troy, Mich.
The awards program was started 14 years ago to recognize vehicles that would most likely shape the future of the automotive industry through innovative designs and technologies. The vehicles that qualify for the voting included models introduced during the 2014-2015 season at the major auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and New York.
That group was divided into three categories: Production Preview Concept, Concept Car and Concept Truck. The vehicle receiving the highest vote total is recognized at the 2015 North American Concept Vehicle with the winner of each category getting special recognition. The voting was done by two dozen professional automotive journalists. The first vote cut the field of 30 vehicles to three in each category and the final vote selected the top models.
The Production Preview Concept category is for vehicle prototypes that are the basis for a model that has already been announced or planned for production. The finalists in this category included the Aston Martin Vulcan, Buick Avenir and Ford GT.
Marking the brand’s 20th time as a category finalist, and fifth time as a category winner, Ford takes the honor of 2015 Production Preview Concept of the Year with its racing-bred Ford GT. “The Ford GT is already one of the all-time great designs, with styling that is simultaneously breathtaking and aerodynamically functional,” said juror Dan Carney. “A car for the ages.”
The Concept Car category recognizes passenger-centric, long-range prototypes designed to measure market reaction to future features and models. The finalists in this category were the Audi Prologue, the Mercedes Benz F 015, and the MINI Superleggera.
Earning its fifth spot as a category finalist and marking the brand’s first visit to the awards podium, Mercedes takes the 2015 Concept Car of the Year award with its F 015 Concept. “The Mercedes-Benz F 015 goes far beyond an interesting redesign — it takes the definition of transportation to a whole new arena,” said juror Bill Schaffer. “That’s what a concept car should do.”
Arv Voss added, “The Mercedes-Benz showcases a look to the future of autonomous driving in a luxurious surrounding, with an elegant and organic form.
The Concept Truck category recognizes those concepts where cargo carrying is a significant design consideration. The finalists in this category were the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Kia Trail’Ster, and the Mitsubishi GC-PHEV.
Bringing the brand’s fourth category finalist spot, and third honor as a category winner, the Hyundai Santa Cruz earns the 2015 Concept Truck of the Year award. “This (the Santa Cruz) is what the light-truck category needs,” said juror Gary Vasilash, “loads of style for people without big loads.”
Bill Schaffer explained, “The Santa Cruz not only introduces Hyundai to the truck category, but it creates a new niche without sacrificing all the characteristics that make trucks so popular.”
From the winners in the Concept Car, Concept Truck and Production Preview Concept categories, the Ford GT posted the highest overall score to earn the top award as Most Significant Concept Vehicle of 2015. This award marks Ford’s second time earning the top award in the competition; the brand’s first top honor was for the Reflex Concept in 2006.
For more details on the Concept Awards, the full 2015 candidate list, and the selection jury, please visit https://automediaregistry.org/presskit/#NACVOTY on the web.