The Zagreb festivity had a completely new creative concept and a new culinary experience
The 14th edition of the AUTOBEST Gala Awards took place on the 19th of February, for the first time at Sheraton Hotel, in Zagreb, Croatia. Among the 130 guests, top level executives and officials attended the ceremony, such as Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Chairman of the Management Board of Opel Group GmbH, and Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover Vice-president of Research and Technology, Mr. Hans-Joachim Stuck, Motorsport Ambassador of Volkswagen Group, Dr. Hans-Hermann Kremer, Head of Middle East & Eastern Europe at The Linde Group, Mr. Önder Göker, Managing Director of Hyundai Assan, Mr. Alan Ordulj deputy mayor of Zagreb and also Mrs. Andrea Doko Jelušić, President of American Croatian Chamber of Commerce.
Distinguished guests from media and politics attended the gala in Zagreb hosted by actress and singer Mila Elegovic, who added warmth and enthusiasm to the event.
For the first time in the history of AUTOBEST, the festivity had a completely new scenario which brings the AUTOBEST concept to the next level. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound assured a prestigious Hollywood style atmosphere for the ceremony. The Gala has been an Oscar of the worldwide auto industry. “To speak in images (without words) about the most important auto brands is a big challenge and an even bigger honor. There’s a saying that goes like this: “People’s hands tell the truth”. In the movies created for the AUTOBEST Gala, the exceptional qualities of the cars are revealed beyond the gestures. We chose a simple cinematographic key (the silent movie) not only because it is an universal language that transcends any barriers, but also because it helped us to create relevant stories for each category. The innovative element is that in our movies the main character was the car’s shadow.” – said Adrian Horobet, the movie Director.
The Gala in Zagreb has also included a premiere concerning the menu. The guests enjoyed an inspired Gourmet AUTOBEST Experience. The culinary experience was created by the masterful chef of the Sheraton Hotel, Matjia Balent, following the original ideas of Mr. Dan Vardie, the Founder and Chairman of the AUTOBEST organization.
Another premiere introduced by the AUTOBEST 2015 Gala was the Facebook lottery which selected two car enthusiasts from Germany. The lucky winners were two ladies Mrss Désirée Noémie Auderset and Mrs. Anita Auderset-Bachmann, who were invited to the this very special evening dedicated to the elite of the car industry.
After seven years, Mr. Jeno Boriszov, the Hungarian jury member had retired from the AUTOBEST jury. He was replaced by Mr. Gabor Szecsenyi, the Editor in chief of Az Autó and Member of the International Vehicle Dynamics Awards jury. He stated: “I felt more than happy and I will try to be a useful and trustworthy member and I’ll do my best to represent Hungary at a professional level. I would like to help the work of AUTOBEST and would also like to help the work of the colleagues in the jury.”
Opel Corsa was voted “AUTOBEST 2015”, becoming the first car in the AUTOBEST history to win two times, for two consecutive generations. With a total of 994 points, the winner overtook Hyundai i20 by 88 points. Third place went to Skoda Fabia which received a total of 871 points. With 830 points, Citroen C4 Cactus is closing the AUTOBEST 2015 Final 4. (for detailed results, see Final Ranking in www.autobest.org)
“The new Corsa proved to be a great small car. All the Jury members noticed the arguments who made the new Opel `The Best Buy Car of Europe in 2015`. The new generation is a meaningful evolution of the Opel model who won AUTOBEST award seven years ago. From design to brilliant on board modern technologies, the new Corsa is proposing a consumer oriented package, ready to improve the already impressive sales performance of the previous generation. It is my pleasure to congratulate all the people involved in the Corsa project – engineers, designers, people who manufacture the car, etc. – for this wonderful confirmation of their outstanding job.” stated Mr. Dan Vardie, AUTOBEST Founder & Chairman.
Opel Group CEO Dr. Karl Thomas Neumann has been present at the Gala in Zagreb to receive the award on behalf of the German car maker: “We at Opel are extremely proud to receive the highly prestigious AUTOBEST 2015 award for our new Corsa. I would like to thank the jury on behalf of the entire team. Our customers obviously agree too. 120,000 orders for the new Corsa since its world premiere in Paris last October are further proof that we will continue the Corsa’s success story with this fifth generation – after having already sold 12.4 million Corsa in the last 32 years.”
Volkswagen Motorsport was awarded “SPORTBEST 2014”, as it has dominated for a consecutive year the World Rally Championship. In receiving “SPORTBEST 2014” award, Mr. Hans-Joachim Stuck, the Motorsport Ambassador of Volkswagen Group, shared his appreciation and gratitude for the AUTOBEST organization together with the Volkswagen team, via a video testimony recorded especially for the Gala.
The “SMARTBEST 2014” award went to Jaguar Land Rover for “InControl Apps”, an application which transfers the app interface from the Android or Apple smartphones to the in-car infotainment touchscreen via a plug wire and allows the user to access a large number of functions during driving. Present at the ceremony, the Vice-President of Research and Technology, Mr. Wolfgang Epple has received the award.
The “COMPANYBEST” 2014 award went to Hyundai Assan Otomotiv Sanayi, the company’s longest-serving plant outside of Korea, for its outstanding production standards, its financial efficiency and for the level of corporate responsibility. Mr. Önder Göker, the Managing Director of Hyundai Assan, proudly came on stage to receive the award.
“MANBEST 2014” winner was ŠKODA CEO Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland for the remarkable results achieved by the brand under his leadership. Unfortunately Mr. Vahland could not attend the Gala because of his participation at the launch of the new Skoda Superb in Prague. “Thank you very much for the MANBEST 2014 award. It is a great honor for me, this success is only possible with a great team. That is why I would like to accept this award on behalf of our Skoda employees. The AUTOBEST award is very special to us, it is the most important car prize in Central Europe”, stated Prof. Vahland in his video especially recorded for the AUTOBEST Gala. The MANBEST award will be handed to Prof. Vahland in two weeks time at Geneva AUTOSALON, during a ceremony organized by Skoda.
The “ECOBEST 2014” title has been awarded to the Linde Group for its leading role in the development of the H2 fuelling station network, a program which is of utmost importance for the future fuel cell cars. The award was accepted with utmost enthusiasm by Dr. Hans-Hermann Kremer, Head of Middle East & Eastern Europe at The Linde Group.
“DESIGNBEST 2014” went to the remarkable designer Mr. Martin Smith, who defined a strong and dynamic identity for Ford with lines that convey “energy in motion”. Mr. Martin Smith has retired this year from his position as head of Ford of Europe design department and he sent his gratitude for the award through a video recorded from his home in France. ”It is my great honor to receive this award from the AUTOBEST jury and I will take great pleasure to treasure this on behalf of my team forever, in recognition of what I think it’s been a transformation for Ford through “Kinetic Design”. This has formed the basis of the Ford design DNA for the future”, said Mr. Martin Smith. On behalf of Mr. Smith, the prize has been received on stage by Mr. Hans Juergen Fuchs, the Europe Communications & Public Affairs Director at Ford.
“SAFETYBEST 2014” has been awarded to Volvo’s “Safe Positioning” system, which protects the passengers in the situation when the car runs off-road unintended. The award was received by the Volvo Safety Specialist, Mr. Ivica Jovic.
The “TECHNOBEST 2014” award was given to Citroen for the very simple, affordable and clever “Citroen Air Bump”, a new technology which also represents a world first. This protects the car from minor everyday bumps and scrapes. The Air Bump panels are made from TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and include tiny air capsules that absorb impacts and help prevent scratches. No maintenance is required and they help cut costs from small scratches and bumps.
A highlight of this year’s Gala has been the artistic moment offered by Ana Rucner, who enchanted the guests with her cello performance. The mood of this special night has been further elevated by the Croatian jazz ensemble Borna Sercar.
AUTOBEST is the leading motoring writers’ organization which summons a highly authorized Jury from 15 European countries. Each member of the Jury is an outstanding motoring journalist. They are certified automotive experts and their opinions are highly respected in their countries and at an European level.
So far, AUTOBEST is addressing to a market totaling more than 300 million people. It is the second biggest independent European Jury. Our high class event gives the unique chance to meet and establish a true dialog and connection with the most important executives in the automotive industry and also with representatives of state and officials from many countries.
The AUTOBEST Jury would like to thank all the readers from the region for encouraging the project. Also, we would like to thank the PR responsible within the automotive industry for providing all the support in organizing meetings and drive tests with the new products.