Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – Oct. 19, 2021 – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) hosted the 2021 MAMA Rally last week at Road America, one of the world’s premier road racing tracks. Over the course of two days, more than 70 automotive and related industry journalists had the opportunity to put a variety of the industry’s latest vehicles through their paces including on-track, scenic street drives and a technical off-road course.
“What better way to celebrate MAMA’s 30th anniversary than reconnecting with so many colleagues to experience the latest and greatest from the auto industry at this legendary track following a challenging year,” said MAMA President Harvey Briggs.
A handful of the attending manufacturers also provided detailed overviews of their latest product offerings. Additionally, it was the first time journalists were able to experience the all-new 2022 Jeep Compass Limited, which made a special appearance at the Rally following its global reveal at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show Special Edition.
Road America sponsored the morning breakfast to get attendees fueled up for a fun day at the track. It was mentioned during the breakfast that Road America will host major IndyCar, NASCAR, IMSA and vintage car races in the upcoming 2022 season. Following the morning of track touring laps and street drive evaluations, Nissan’s Product Planner Wade Willat shared highlights of the 2022 Nissan Frontier with MAMA members during a lunch presentation. Willat discussed the ways in which the iconic mid-sized pickup was totally redesigned for the 2022 model year including a rugged, bold exterior; adventure-oriented interior; a best-in-class 310 horsepower; and equipped with the latest driver assistance and connectivity technologies.
“Nissan is happy to continue its partnership with the Midwest Automotive Media Association at their member-only events,” said Wendy Payne, Nissan Midwest Regional Communications Manager. “Their solid media group offers us the opportunity to showcase newly launched vehicles such as the all-new 2022 Frontier to this important audience in order to help us get the messages out on new products.”
The 2022 Frontier arrived at dealerships last month. Pricing begins at $27,840 for the Frontier S King Cab 4x2.
After the track closed and street drives concluded for the day, a dozen MAMA members took part in the inaugural “4 Miles of Fitness,” sponsored by Kia, a new on-track fitness event where attendees had the chance to run, bike, or walk a shortened two, or all four miles of the Road America racetrack that they drove on just moments earlier.
Later that evening, Lexus hosted the dinner presentation to showcase the 2022 NX 350 and 2022 IS 500. The NX 350 expands to four powertrains, including a 2.4-liter turbo and Lexus’ first-ever 2.5-liter plug-in hybrid, and is the first vehicle with Lexus Safety System+ 3.0 and digital latch with safe exit assist. As the first model in the new Lexus F SPORT Performance line, the IS 500 engine provides a boost in displacement and performance over the IS 350’s 3.5-liter V6. It expands the IS family and ushers in a new era of F SPORT Performance models that are geared towards passionate driving enthusiasts who desire higher levels of performance over the standard F SPORT Design and Handling models.
“The MAMA Rally continues to be one of the premier events for automotive media in the country,” said Curt McAllister, Midwest Public Relations Manager for Toyota/Lexus, and a 24-year MAMA member. “Road America is the perfect backdrop to showcase our vehicles on and off the track. The dinner sponsorship provided Lexus a tremendous opportunity to do a deep dive on two of our newest products, the 2022 NX and 2022 IS 500.”
Jeep opened the second morning of the MAMA Rally with a breakfast presentation on the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the 2021 Grand Cherokee L, both of which were available for test drives during the Rally.
“For 80 years, the Jeep brand has introduced an iconic lineup of vehicles. The off-road course created by the team at Jeep Jamboree at this year's Midwest Automotive Media Association Rally was the perfect place to showcase some of the newest Jeep models,” said Scott Tallon, Product Director, Jeep Brand – North America. “Providing SUVs for both on and off-road driving, like the premium Grand Wagoneer, the family-friendly Jeep Grand Cherokee L, the redesigned Jeep Compass, along with the rugged 4x4 Jeep Wrangler, enables the media to experience the same level of passion and excitement of adventure that our customers do.”
Throughout the day, journalists also had the opportunity to maneuver 4WD and AWD trucks and SUVs through a newly created off-road course designed by experts from Jeep Jamboree and sponsored by Jeep. Participating vehicles included the Ford Bronco, Ford Raptor, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Jeep Wagoneer, Jeep Wrangler 392 Xtreme Recon, Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Nissan Frontier, Ram TRX, Subaru Outback Wilderness and Toyota 4Runner.
Following an action-packed morning of more street driving, off-roading and MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year analysis, Volkswagen wrapped up the Rally with a lunch presentation and overview of the 2021 ID.4 AWD. The Volkswagen ID.4 is the brand’s first all-electric SUV and first global EV. Built on Volkswagen’s MEB electric vehicle architecture, ID.4 marries the strengths of a purpose-built EV with performance, packaging and value, features that have marked the brand for decades.
“ID.4 is a transformational car for Volkswagen, at a transformational time in our industry,” said Mark Gillies, Senior Manager of Product Communications for Volkswagen of America. “We are pleased to have such a great group of journalists experience everything the car delivers for our customers and for the brand as a whole.”
In addition to the meal sponsorships and presentations, MAMA received support from the following sponsors: Acura, Cars.com, Chicago Automobile Trade Association, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz.
Voting for MAMA’s annual Family Vehicle of the Year (FVOTY) and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year (LFVOTY) Awards also took place. The finalists include:
· 2022 Honda Civic
· 2022 Hyundai Tucson
· 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
· 2022 Kia Carnival
· 2021 Toyota Sienna
· 2021 Volkswagen ID.4
· 2022 Acura MDX
· 2022 Genesis GV70
· 2022 Infiniti QX60
· 2022 Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer
· 2022 Lexus NX
· 2021 Mercedes-Benz S Class
To qualify for the awards, the vehicle must have four doors and be new or significantly updated within a year of the Rally. Eligible vehicles must have been available to drive at MAMA’s July 2021 Summer Drive and this 2021 Rally. A final round of online voting will then take place to determine the overall winner in each category, both of which will be announced during the MAMA breakfast that will open the 2022 Chicago Auto Show Media Preview in February.
For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit www.mamaonline.org.
About the Midwest Automotive Media Association
Founded in 1991 and now in its 30th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) comprises nearly 240 automotive journalists and industry professionals from approximately 25 states and the District of Columbia. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, current issues and new products in the auto industry.