Welcome to the second Automotive News International Concept Car of the Year awards. This year, the level of competition was very high. Entries included vehicles introduced at the major auto shows - Tokyo, Detroit, Geneva and Turin - over the past 12 months. There were no clear-cut winners - votes were split, and the final tallies were, in some cases, very close. The evaluation of a car design is necessarily subjective. Certain vehicles scored well with all of the judges, but the judges did not always rank the vehicles in the same order.
The votes were authenticated by Deloitte & Touche, a U.S. accounting firm that is one of the main sponsors of the awards. Other sponsors were Delphi Automotive Systems Corp., a U.S. auto supplier; the City of Sunderland in England; and the newspaper USA Today, which also sponsored a special award voted by its readers. The Cadillac Imaj took first place in the newspaper's ballot, with second place going to the Buick LaCrosse.
Special thanks also go to my fellow judges. Congratulations to all of the winners. We hope this sets a challenge for all vehicle designers in the future.
Chris Wright chairman, judges' panel
Akira Fujimoto - Fujimoto is chief editor of Car Styling, the bimonthly design magazine. As well as chief editor, he has been president of Car Styling Publishing Co. since 1979 and from 1983, the promoter of the Car Design Award in Japan. From 1984 to 1997 he was a member of the jury of the Car Design Award Torino-Piemonte and, also from 1987, he has been a juror of the International Car Design competition at the Tokyo Auto Salon.
Ken Greenley - Greenley is the former director of the vehicle course at the Royal College of Art in London. He was the first full-time tutor of the course when he was appointed in 1981 after a 16-year career with General Motors. He was elected to the Chapter of Fellows at the Royal College of Art in 1991 and appointed course director in 1993. Throughout his academic career he has been a design consultant to the auto industry and in association with John Heffernan, has been responsible for the Panther Solo in 1984, the Bentley 90 Project in 1986, the Aston Martin Virage in 1988 and the Bentley Continental R in 1991. Greenley's individual designs include the Panther Solo 2 in 1987, the Ssangyong Korando in 1995 and the Ssangyong W-coupe in 1997.
Chuck Jordan - Jordan is known to many as the former head of design at General Motors. Jordan joined GM as a junior designer in 1949 and 43 years later in 1992 he retired as vice president in charge of design following in the footsteps of Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell. His design experience has included cars, trucks, buses, trains and earth-moving equipment.
At age 26, he was chief designer of the special products studio and appointed chief designer at Cadillac in 1957. From 1967 to 1970 he was design director for Opel, and on his return to the U.S. he was put in charge of automotive exterior design. In 1986, Jordan was named vice president.
Gordon Murray - Murray is technical director at McLaren Cars Ltd., one of the world's top race engineering companies. Murray joined the Brabham F1 racing team as designer in 1970 and was technical director from 1974 to 1986 when he moved to McLaren F1. Murray-designed cars have won 50 Grand Prix and four Formula One world championships. His innovations include pull-rod suspension in 1974, carbon-fiber brakes in 1976 and the ground-effect 'fan-car' in 1978.
Carl Olsen - Olsen can boast a diverse experience working in four countries and for clients in many more including Japan, India, Turkey, Germany, France, Holland and Italy. Although Olsen's work during the past 13 years has been exclusively in vehicle design, he has designed heaters, refrigerators, stoves, fishing reels, porcelain tableware, radios, TVs and vacuum cleaners. Before he took his post at Center for Creative Studies in Michigan in 1987, Olsen was director of style at Automobiles Citroen and director of design at Ogle Design Ltd.
Chris Wright - Wright is international editor of Automotive News International, editor of the Concept Cars annual supplement and chairman of the judging panel for the Concept Car of the Year Awards. He has been with Automotive News International since its launch six years ago, and was named Journalist of the Year by the British Guild of Motoring Writers in 1995.