• 07 Oct 2016 4:27 PM | Anonymous

    The 2016 Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Fall Rally, sponsored by the Steel Market Development Institute, united more than 100 MAMA members and manufacturer representatives together with 70 cars, trucks and SUVs last week for a day of hot laps on the track, on-road and off-road fun. 

    The annual event took place at the regarded Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, and wrapped up with a celebration of the association’s 25th anniversary.

    Media members were able to test-drive cars of nearly every brand including: Acura, Alfa Romeo, BMW, Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Nissan, RAM, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

    The morning of the Fall Rally kicked off with a Fiat breakfast presentation that fueled members up for a day on the track. Fiat featured a series of its new commercials, including the risqué commercial with the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider. The automaker brought both the 124 Spider Classica and the 124 Spider Lusso for MAMA members to test-drive.  

    During the morning session, members could partake in the three various activities – track laps, street driving and off-road – and could restore energy with a stop at the Snack Oasis, sponsored by Chrysler.

    Later on, Nissan’s Director of Small Cars, Brandon White, kicked off lunch with a brief presentation. The menu featured “small and quick” bites that foreshadowed the topic of conversation: the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo. White discussed Nissan’s major enhancements to the Sentra's powertrain, steering, brakes and suspension. MAMA Fall Rally attendees were the first media group to be able to track drive the Sentra, which was a nice surprise.

    Following the lunch presentation, rally-goers enjoyed more track time, street test-drives and the off-road course.

    Featured vehicles in the off-road course, sponsored by Jeep, included a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, Jeep Wrangler Willys, 2016 Renegade Trailhawk, Ram Rebel, Range Rover Sport HSE TD6, Nissan Titan PRO-4X, 2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Limited and a Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – plenty of options for journalists to test on the varying terrain.

    Members and manufacturers gathered again that evening for a celebration of MAMA’s 25th Anniversary, with sponsor support by Toyota, Steel Market Development Institute Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti. Toyota displayed two cars from the '90s from its museum, a Lexus ES250 and a Toyota Supra Turbo. MAMA President Patrick Olsen coordinated a trivia contest surrounding key automotive and pop culture events from 1991, the year MAMA was founded. 

    A video captured MAMA’s key moments throughout its robust history and spotlighted the founding President Jim Mateja on the association’s inception and evolution. Members also had a great laugh as they looked back at photos of current members from 1991 – which also happened to be a part of the trivia contest. It was truly a great day that wrapped up with a “family” celebration – the most commonly used word that MAMA members used to describe the media association. 

    Current and Past MAMA Presidents, thanks for all you do. 

  • 30 Sep 2016 4:10 PM | Anonymous

    Members of the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) were among the first to experience the Nissan Sentra SR Turbo this week during its 2016 Fall Rally. Brandon White, Nissan’s director of small cars, highlighted the sporty sedan’s enhancements during a lunch presentation with a menu made up of “small and quick” bites that foreshadowed the topic of the conversation.

    Overall, Nissan says it made major enhancements to the Sentra focusing on steering, braking and suspension. The Sentra SR Turbo has a brand new, 1.6-liter direct injection gasoline turbocharged engine, putting out 188 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque.

    On the exterior, LED headlights, LED brake lights, front fog lights and LED side-mirror turn signals all come standard. On the inside, people are surprised to find a rather large interior for a small car. Despite the car’s measurements, the Sentra has a roomy backseat and a tall ceiling, creating a spacious and comfortable environment for passengers.

    The Sentra is also a great value starting at just under $22,000. A premium option package is available with leather seats, Bose audio and blind-spot monitors. Navigation is also an add-on option. 

    Photo credit: Larry Nutson and Nissan Online Newsroom 

  • 27 Sep 2016 9:12 AM | Anonymous

    Southfield, Michigan – The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), is partnering with the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) for its annual Fall Rally, held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois. In addition to the annual event for automotive journalists, MAMA is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

    The event includes a mix of approximately 70 vehicles and attendees will hear presentations from automakers and other sponsors, and attendees will be able to participate in a variety of driving scenarios – including track, street and off-road.

    “We are looking forward to the Fall Rally as an opportunity to see many of the 2017 model year vehicles in action,” said Jody Hall, vice president, automotive market, SMDI. “There are several new steel-bodied vehicles using the latest advanced high-strength steel grades to achieve superior performance at the highest value to the consumer.”

    MAMA’s Fall Rally and its Spring Rally events allow members to test drive MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year contenders, which is awarded at the Chicago Auto Show, held annually in February.

    AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. 

    SMDI increases and defends the use of steel by developing innovative materials, applications and value-added solutions for customers in the automotive, construction and packaging markets. SMDI automotive investors include: AK Steel Corporation, ArcelorMittal and Nucor Corporation. For more information on SMDI, visit or follow @SMDISteel on Twitter.

  • 09 Sep 2016 4:11 PM | Anonymous

    Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois While sometimes overlooked by the average consumer, commercial vehicles play a critical role in the growth of new industries, small businesses, construction and delivery companies. Dave Sowers, head of Ram Commercial Trucks, took time to relay the importance of this fast-growing segment to the Midwest Automotive Media Association during MAMA’s August meeting.

    Sowers said that Chicago is the No. 4 van market in the U.S. CYTD. It is also the fastest growing major market, up 21 percent year-over-year. The Ram brand now has the most complete line-up of vehicles in a long time and is excited about the 2016 Ram ProMaster City, Ram’s newest addition to its commercial vehicle lineup. ProMaster City contributes to the expanding, purpose-built van segment with functional elements tied directly to commercial customer demand. Sowers expanded to say that ProMaster City opens a door for incremental growth of Ram’s brand sales volumes. It is typically bought by small business owners, such as caterers, florists, dry cleaners and bakers, and offers best-in-class standard features where they count, including:

    • 178 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft. of torque
    • Payload – 1,883 pounds
    • Cargo volume – 131.7 cubic feet
    • Unsurpassed 24 combined mpg (21 mpg city/29 mpg highway)
    • Unsurpassed towing capacity – 2,000 lbs.
    • Exclusive 9-speed automatic transmission
    • Powertrain warranty – five years/60,000 miles

    After a delicious lunch and presentation, MAMA members walked outside to check out three Ram trucks on display: ProMaster City, ProMaster and Ram Chassis Cab. An up fitted Ram ProMaster showcased Bosch tools and provided greater insight to how businesses use these large vans. 

    Whether focusing on a family that uses a Ram 1500 day-in and day-out, a hard-working Ram 3500 Heavy Duty owner or a business that depends on its Ram ProMaster commercial van every day for deliveries, Ram has the truck market covered.

  • 22 Jul 2016 1:44 PM | Anonymous

    SOUTHFIELD, Michigan – The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), is partnering with Dodge and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) for the second annual Track Driving School program, held at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan, on July 20.  

    Automotive journalists will begin with a classroom style lesson from the pros and then get hands-on driving experience on the track with the professional track driving instructors. The vehicle lineup includes the steel-intensive Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT vehicles. Formed in 1991, MAMA has more than 240 members and brings together journalists and public relations professionals involved in the automotive industry.

    “This is a great event for SMDI to partner with Dodge and the Midwest Automotive Media Association to really showcase the advantages of steel,” said Dr. Jody Hall, vice president, automotive market, SMDI. “Whether you’re taking hot laps around a race track or driving to and from work, a reliable vehicle is critical. Vehicles made with steel are lightweight, fuel efficient and durable, maintaining vehicle performance in all driving conditions.”

    The MAMA Track Driving School began in 2015 as an opportunity for members to learn the nuances of driving on a race track with trained professionals. Of the numerous regional automotive press associations across the country, this type of event is unique to MAMA and developed in direct response to member requests and the need for high performance driver training to enable safe new vehicle evaluations.


    AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application ofnew steels and steelmaking technology. AISI is comprised of 19 member companies, including integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and approximately 125 associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. 

    SMDI increases and defends the use of steel by developing innovative materials, applications and value-added solutions for customers in the automotive, construction and packaging markets. SMDI automotive investors include: AK Steel Corporation,ArcelorMittal and Nucor Corporation. For more information on SMDI, visit or follow @SMDISteel on Twitter.

  • 22 Jul 2016 1:26 PM | Anonymous

    OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois – Mecum Auctions presented during the monthly Midwest Automotive MediaAssociation meeting last week and gave members an insight into its world. Mecum is a world leader of collector cars, vintage and antique motorcycle, and Road Art sales, hosting auctions throughout the country. They’ve been specializing in collector car sales for 29 years and has become a well-established organization.

    The very engaging John Kraman, Director of Consignment for Mecum Auctions and commentator on Mecum’s broadcasts on NBC Sports Network, addressed the group. To get a sense of just how big the organization has come, check out these numbers:

    ·         Mecum receives 20,000 entries per year.

    ·         Averages more than one auction each month with events scattered throughout the country.

    ·         Generates $100 million in sales – in just the Chicago market alone.

    ·         9 semi-trucks needed to bring the auction supplies to each location.

    ·         200-250 Mecum staff needed to run the auctions.

    ·         40 staff to run the TV show (on NBCSN) – for show times, click here

    ·         Each minute of the auction, there’s a new car featured on the block – talk about action-packed.

    ·         60-70 cars on average are sold per event.

    Another fun statistic: there are 2.6 million collector cars out there, but only 1 percent trade hands domestically.

    So, why the need for an auction and not just sell the cars? According to Mecum, the competitive spirit changes the mindset a bit and excites buyers. They feel a sense of competition and a desire to have the vehicle on the block – there’s not a lot of time to think the decision through. However, Mecum doesn’t have too many issues with buyers’ remorse. Only 2-3 percent of people regret their decision and try to get out of the deal.

    Overall, it was a very engaging and interesting meeting and members had tons of questions. Mecum certainly left attendees wanting more. Good news for MAMA members, Mecum has offered a media pass to MAMA members to attend the Chicago 2016 Mecum Auction at the Schaumburg Convention Center, Oct. 6-8. To obtain your pass, contact David Morton, Mecum Manager of Communications and Event Marketing, at For more information on Mecum Auctions, visit
  • 23 Jun 2016 8:23 PM | Anonymous

    CHICAGO, Illinois – Honda took advantage of the beautiful Chicago summer weather and hosted a picnic for MAMA members this week to show off the 2017 Ridgeline truck -- which just so happened to go on sale that same day.

    Honda’s Public Relations Manager James Jenkins provided MAMA members an overview of the new Ridgeline – from a PowerPoint featured on a TV screen mounted to the back of the truck bed. Note: the truck offers an in-bed AC power outlet turning the entire bed into an audio system.

    Overall, Jenkins said the new truck offers better ride comfort, better traction, better stability on and off the road, independent suspension, best active AWD in the market and a stronger, lighter body. The Ridgeline’s V6 engine provides top-of-class fuel economy delivering a city and highway combined 22 miles.

    MAMA members enjoyed cold soda out of the Rideline’s lockable in-bed trunk (that can fit an 82-inch cooler!) that was filled to the brim with ice and an assortment of beverages. The bed length measures 64” long with tailgate, and 60” wide at bed walls. The truck has a maximum tow rating of 5,000 lbs. and a payload rating of 1,499 for the AWD RTL-E trim. Additionally, Honda says the Ridgeline’s best-in-class rear seat cargo space can fit an adult bike without removing a wheel.

    On the interior, the Ridgeline features an 8” infotainment touchscreen interface, ambient lighting, smart start and a heated steering wheel. For safety, Honda Sensing offers adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, CMBS (vehicles and pedestrians), forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Additional assist features include blind spot information, rear cross traffic monitor and LaneWatch.

    The Ridgeline starts at an MSRP of $29,475 for 2WD and tops out at $42,870.  

  • 27 May 2016 9:33 PM | Anonymous

    ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin –Automakers and journalists once again descended on Road America this week, which has become home to the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) Spring Rally. An annual favorite, the two-day event draws top journalists from the across the country where they’re able to experience approximately 100 of the industry’s hottest vehicles. This year not only marks MAMA’s 15th Spring Rally, but also the association’s 25th anniversary.

    Nearly 100 media and more than 60 manufacturers and affiliate members attended. The first evening, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) sponsored the traditional Wisconsin fish fry dinner for manufacturers and out-of-town journalists. This event has become an annual favorite “warm welcome” that reunites industry colleagues and friends.

    The first morning opened with a breakfast hosted by GMC where the brand introduced the 2016 Yukon SLT Premium Edition – a chrome-trimmed special model offering a premium, personalized appearance on SLT models.

    Following, CGI Motorsports hosted a track safety talk and then rally-goers were cut loose to take on the track and street drives. Following two hours of hot laps and test drives of Family Vehicle of the Year award contenders, Nissan sponsored a “farm to table” themed lunch where a brand executive provided detail on the LEAF. The lunch ended with a fun surprise for guests – Nissan treated everyone to smoothies made in blenders powered by the LEAF.

    More track and street driving occurred, with go-karting (sponsored by Kia) closing out the afternoon. A quick attire change later, members were back at the Osthoff Resort for dinner, sponsored by General Motors and MAVEN Mobility. During the dinner, the Chicago Auto Show presented its “Best of Show” awards: “Best Exhibit” to Chevrolet; “Best Green Vehicle” also went to Chevrolet for the Volt; “Best All-New Production Vehicle” went to the Lexus LC 500; and “Vehicle I’d like to have in my driveway” went to the Ford GT. The night, per usual, concluded at Siebken’s Tavern (known as the “best bar on the racing circuit”), libations sponsored by GM and MAVEN.

    The second morning kicked off with a breakfast hosted by Chrysler. This venue provided Chrysler the opportunity to highlight the all-new Pacifica and encourage those who haven’t already driven the family hauler to take it for a spin.

    Back at Road America, journalists could partake in an off-road course, sponsored by Land Rover North America, or street driving. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather, the autocross portion – sponsored by Toyota – had to be cancelled. However, plenty of fun was had on the off-road course and driving vehicles members didn’t have time to test out the previous day.

    By noon, everyone was hungry again and, thanks to ZF North America, MAMA members had a hearty sendoff lunch of traditional German fare before returning to their respective states.  Rally-goers know to stay until the very end as MAMA raffled off a series of prizes provided by the automakers and some affiliate members. In addition, MAMA gave away four Amazon gift cards and a pair of iPads to sweeten the deal.

    MAMA thanks additional sponsors who helped make the event memorable:, Ford, Mazda, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo as fuel sponsors; Honda for WiFi; Hyundai for the Snack Oasis; Mercedes-Benz for keeping members safe on the track with helmets; G. Schmitz & Associates for Vehicle Playcards and stickers; and G. Schmitz & Associates and Drive Shop for event logistics. Finally, this featured event couldn’t come together without the hard work of the MAMA Rally Team; the MAMA Board of Directors thank all for their help.

    The next MAMA event to look forward to will be hosted by Honda for a “Day at the Park!” Honda will have the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline loaded with cold refreshments as members enjoy a BBQ lunch and vehicle presentation. That event will be held on June 21 at the UIC Outdoor Picnic Grounds from noon to 2 p.m.

    Members should also save the date for the 2016 MAMA Fall Rally which will be held on September 28 at the Autobahn Country Club. Following the track day, MAMA will also host a 25th anniversary party to honor the association’s heritage and success. Stay tuned for more details.

  • 25 May 2016 9:51 PM | Anonymous

    ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – GMC today announced the 2016 Yukon SLT Premium Edition – a chrome-trimmed special model offering a premium, personalized appearance on SLT models.

    Unveiled today before a gathering of automotive media from across the country at the annual 2016 MAMA Spring Rally, it goes on sale this summer, offered on Yukon and Yukon XL models. Features include:

    ·         Unique design 22-inch chrome-wheels

    ·         Unique design chrome grille

    ·         Bright chrome body-side moldings

    ·         Polished exhaust tip

    “The new Yukon SLT Premium Edition adds distinction and personalized style to the already well-appointed Yukon SLT model,” said Stu Pierce, senior marketing manager, GMC Trucks & Full-size SUVs. “For discerning customers seeking uncompromising capability and unparalleled refinement in a full-size SUV, Yukon SLT Premium Edition delivers with the latest in technologies, amenities and a unique and premium style.”

    Yukon and Yukon XL SLT models are powered by an advanced 5.3L V-8 engine that offers the segment’s best V-8 fuel economy: an EPA-estimated 23 highway mpg (2WD models).

    Additional standard and available features on SLT models include:

    ·         Fold-flat second- and third-row seats that enhance cargo capability and convenience, including an available power-folding feature

    ·         Power rear liftgate with multiple programmable height settings and hands-free operation

    ·         Wireless phone charging

    ·         Standard 8-inch-diagonal color touch-screen radio with enhanced IntelliLink and available navigation

    ·         Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone projection compatibility

    ·         Keyless Open and Start

    ·         8,500-lb. max trailering for Yukon and 8,300-lb. max trailering for Yukon XL (2WD models)

    The Yukon lineup also incorporates technologies that help protect the driver and passengers before, during and after a collision. They include a forward radar system and the segment’s only Front Center Air Bag (models with front bucket seats), which deploys from the inboard side of the driver’s seat and inflates between the driver and front passenger, providing added protection for both front occupants in side impacts.

    Phone projection technology

    Through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, Yukon’s IntelliLink infotainment system provides simple and intuitive use of smartphones in the vehicle. It integrates certain phone functions onto the 8-inch-diagonal color touch screen, allowing you to call up music, navigation apps and more.

    Using either application is simple. A “Projection” icon on the IntelliLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected and changes to indicate CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected through a USB. Android Auto requires a phone running the Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or higher, while Apple CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or later models.

    OnStar 4G LTE and available Wi-Fi hotspot complement IntelliLink to enhance Yukon’s connectivity.

    Fast Fact: Yukon and Yukon XL sales were up more than 11 percent for the first four months of 2016.

    GMC has manufactured trucks since 1902, with innovation and engineering excellence built into all GMC vehicles. The brand is evolving to offer more fuel-efficient trucks and crossovers, including the Terrain small SUV and Acadia crossover. GMC’s highest-volume vehicle, the Sierra pickup, is the most powerful light-duty pickup on the market, and the first full-size pickup to receive the highest-possible five-star Overall Vehicle Score for safety since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration changed its New Car Assessment Program for the 2011 model year. Details on all GMC models are available at, on Twitter at @thisisgmc or at

  • 12 May 2016 9:47 PM | Anonymous

    OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois – Haartz Corporation, the world’s leading supplier of highly-engineered and uniquely designed convertible toppings, presented to MAMA members during the monthly meeting. The supplier shared details of its new Jacquard Weaving Technology, which allows for designed patterns to be included in the topping material of convertibles. Most recently, Jacquard was applied on the 2016 MINI convertible which offers an optional Union Jack featured on the top; the Citroën DS3 which has the logo woven into the topping material; and the 60th anniversary Chevrolet Corvette, which included a blue racing stripe. 

    Haartz also highlighted its full range of capabilities and offerings in various segments including Luxury Cabrios (such as Mercedes C-Class); Ultra-luxury Cabrios (such as the Rolls-Royce Dawn they had on hand for media test drives); SUVs (including the Range Rover Evoque); Semi-Cabrios (Fiat 500C, for example); and Targas (such as the Honda S600 – not available in the U.S.).

    The company discussed its collaboration with the manufacturers on creating tops that customers desire, and also referenced its growing business in the aftermarket space. Haartz educated members on the market, mentioning they have the lion’s share, but noting the biggest competition for the company is actually other “open air” concepts such as moon roofs.  

    Additional capabilities range from basic formulation of fibers, yarns, fabrics and elastomers to customized design and testing services to suit customer specific needs for material appearance, physical durability, and acoustical performance. For more information on Haartz or its capabilities and products, MAMA members can visit

    2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn featuring Haartz convertible topping

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