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Day Three NAIAS - Diversity Driven By Design in Detroit

Published Jan 18th 2008, 2:23pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

100yrlogoGM held a very interesting panel of designers and media all with multicultural backgrounds and perspectives on how their backgrounds influence new vehicle designs and are they reflective of the preferences of the urban , LGBT, minority and female car buyers. These are segments auto makers can no longer afford to ignore with their tremendous buying power in the ever changing and fiercely competitive landscape they are all facing in 2008 and beyond.

GM has a commitment within their own design teams to be inclusive and increase this influence by hiring more multicultural talent and nurturing their ideas. It was one of the most interesting panel discussions I have attended the past few years and gave me much to reflect on about how can do a better job reaching the multicultural woman car buyer in 2008.

I also attended "Fashion , Stars and Cars", the 12th annual Urban Wheel Awards at the Fox Theater in downtown Detroit, a magnificent historical landmark location for this dress to impress event with Kathy Gilbert of ADP, one of top expert women on and President of the Chicago Chapter of the Women's Automotive Association International.

Sponsored by nearly every auto maker this event is one of my favorites during the Detroit Auto Show that showcases the diverse perspective and growing influence of minorities in the automotive industry.

Enclave_2008 Known as the “Academy Awards” of the auto industry, the Urban Wheel Awards is where celebrities present awards to automotive manufacturers, executives, suppliers, advertising agencies and motorsports organizations that have helped advance the cause of diversity in the industry. The event was co-hosted by actress Rosie Perez and Entertainment Tonight correspondent Kevin Frazier and a slew of ethnic celebrities made the award presentations; Damon Dash, Tyson Beckford, Giancarlo Esposito, Russ Parr, Evander Holyfield, Tommy Hearns, Lisa Vidal, James Kyson Lee, Sway ( MTV), Jamie Foster Brown, Miss Universe , Miss Liberia, Musiq Souldchild, Gina Hiraizumi, Funkmaster Flex, MC Lyte and Amanda Amann.

With all of the accolades it has received in little more than a week, GM is setting the tone for 2008 by showing competitors it is committed to remaining the world’s greatest and most diverse automotive manufacturer.

Malibu_2008_2 Highlights:

Urban Wheel Award Car of the Year -- 2008 Chevrolet Malibu

Urban Wheel Award Truck of the Year -- Buick Enclave

Urban Wheel Award Company of the Year -- Chrysler

Urban Wheel Award Motorsports - NHRA

"The Urban Wheel Awards honor the pioneering automotive industry leaders who transcend the mainstream and embrace diversity to create products and services that appeal to a larger customer base,” said Randi Payton, president and CEO of On Wheels, Inc. which founded the awards.

Karen and Randy Payton do an outstanding job putting together this event and deserve Big Kudo's for the great service they perform to the multicultural automotive community.

I want to thank GM for including me in their invitation to explore the NAIAS automotive diversity media tour and allowing me to jump tracks and have dinner with the bloggers on the Social Media track one evening and enjoy a very nice dinner with Mark LaNeve , Vice President of Sales, Service and Marketing for GM. His interview I am saving for another post so stayed tuned, there is more coverage coming on NAIAS soon.

Jody DeVere

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