DETROIT -- A young, stylish and energetic crowd poured into Detroit's Orchestra Hall on Sunday night for the MAIN Event 20, the de facto kick-off for the North American International Auto Show.
The event, sponsored by Ford Motor Co. and now in its fifth year, celebrates the "people behind the cars" by honoring students, automotive executives and Detroit's design community. Other sponsors include the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Lawrence Technological University, Dassault Systems and Intera Products.
Veteran industry executive Bob Lutz, the inaugural recipient of the event's Global Industry Executive of the Year, took the stage to present the awards.
"I guess once you get one, you get to give the others away," Lutz joked.
He said that the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, the first major project at Chrysler by Vice President of Interior Design Klaus Busse, the evening's Industry Innovator of the Year, was one of the finest interiors he's ever seen - domestic or German.
Mark Fields, who became CEO of Ford Motor Co. in July, was hailed as the event's Global Industry Executive of the Year.
Fields could not attend the event, but Kumar Galhotra, a vice president at Ford and president of its Lincoln division, accepted the award on his behalf, praising Fields' "fantastic global perspective."