Martin Smith, Executive Design Director for Ford in Europe is voted “DESIGNBEST 2014”
Citroen C4 Cactus and the new generations of Hyundai i20, Opel Corsa and Skoda Fabia are the finalists for the AUTOBEST 2015 competition. The jury will have a final assessment in the first decade of December and will vote just on time for December 15-th to announce the winner.
On November 26/27-th, the AUTOBEST Jury will go on NAVAK proving ground near Belgrade, Serbia for the Final 4 test. “There is already a tradition to perform one of the most relevant, complex drive tests in the motoring media. Every manufacturer already been present to one of our previous event noticed the high quality of NAVAK center, excellent organization and the very professional approach of our Jury members. But every year we come with an evolution on the program, this year AUTOBEST NAVAK event been probably the most revolutionary” stated Ilia Seliktar, President of the AUTOBEST Jury.
The Jury honors Martin Smith with the “DESIGNBEST 2014” award for his outstanding design career at Ford, where for the last decade he implemented a remarkable design strategy, which defined a strong and dynamic identity with lines that convey “energy in motion”. He has tactfully conducted the transition from the edge design body language to the emotional, yet always daring and forward looking “Kinetic Design” that we can see across the Ford range. Mr. Martin Smith has retired this year from his position as head of Ford of Europe design department but leaves an unmistakable legacy, which places Ford in the vanguard of automotive design with highly successful models such as Mondeo, Focus, Fiesta and Kuga.
“SAFETYBEST 2014” is awarded to Volvo’s “Safe Positioning” system, which protects the passengers in the situation when the car runs off-road unintended. This scenario occurs very often. As studies show, half of all traffic fatalities in the USA and one third of the fatal and severe injury crashes in Sweden are connected to road departure accidents. The Safe Positioning system developed by Volvo is a world first among car safety technologies, and debuts on the new generation of the XC90 SUV. It is part of the Swedish car manufacturer’s plan that by 2020 no one should be killed or injured in a new Volvo car. Safe Positioning detects when the car departs the road and commands the front safety belts to tighten. Thus, the occupants are kept firmly in place. At the same time, the seats have energy absorption function, which reduces by one third the forces that apply vertical pressure on the spine of the passengers. Volvo also introduces a second world first with the new XC90 model. This is the automatic braking function which acts if the driver turns in front of an incoming car while entering an intersection.
The “SMARTBEST 2014” award goes to Jaguar Land Rover for “InControl Apps”. This system is available on new Jaguar and Land Rover models starting with 2014. It transfers the app interface from the Android or Apple smartphones to the in-car infotainment touchscreen, via a plug wire. It allows the user to access intuitively and with reduced distraction from driving all functions that are configured on the phone, like applications, email, navigation, contact list, music archive etc. The “InControl Apps” system is upgradeable as new apps become available and it offers the users a great freedom of choice. For example, the driver can use a preferred navigation app instead of the car’s navigation map. A generous number of useful apps like the ones for finding parking space or hotels are already available with the system. In addition, some applications, like the one which delivers traffic information, have been optimized for InControl Apps with an easier to use interface.
“TECHNOBEST 2014” is going to Citroen for the very simple, affordable and clever world first new technology “Citroen Air Bumb”. This protect the car from minor everyday bumps and scrapes. The Airbump panels are made from supply TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and include tiny air capsules that absorb impacts and help prevent scratches. No maintenance is required and help cut costs from small scratches and bumps.
AUTOBEST organization is the only international independent jury focusing on “best buy” cars available on the European markets. To become an AUTOBEST winner, a car must be the best offer for the average customer. Price, service network, spare parts distribution and versatility are the most important criteria in the voting process. Design and new high-tech gadgets are coming in line as important criteria’s for voting. AUTOBEST is using a transparent voting system, with a complex matrix of 13 criteria in deciding the winner. Launched more than 12 years ago, AUTOBEST “best buy car” profound philosophy is even more valid today –in a shrinking European markets- than it was a decade ago.
The AUTOBEST Jury is also paying attention to the efforts that automotive industry is making. Investments, new automotive job opportunities for the people in AUTOBEST region, spending funds for ecological initiatives, the support for different regions of Europe are carefully checked and appreciated by the Jury.
For this year, AUTOBEST members of the Jury are coming from 15 European countries and represent a virtual market with more than 300 million people. Each member of the Jury is an outstanding motoring journalist, a respected voice in his country. AUTOBEST is the second largest independent motoring Jury of Europe.