April 2012 President’s Letter


This April letter comes to you with a couple of days left in March because of next week’s New York International Auto Show and the Easter/Passover holiday that follows it.

NEMPA Winter Vehicle of the Year

As you may know, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has won Winter Vehicle of the Year for the second year in a row. A vehicle doesn’t have to be brand new to win awards. It just has to be really good—and in our press fleet.

Lisa Barrow and Chrysler did a great job getting vehicles to us well in advance of the judging. And they sent us all the appropriate vehicles they sell, not just one or two recently launched cars.

Just yesterday I read an article in the Los Angeles Times about how awareness of new vehicles is low when they first launch. Awareness builds with time and we help you sustain awareness (i.e. sell cars) if you give us the tools of our trade: review vehicles. It’s worked for Chrysler and others. Help us help you.

The Autonomous Vehicle

Ford, Kia, and MIT have committed to our Autonomous Vehicle panel at MIT on May 11. A couple of slots are still open. Drop me a note as soon as possible if you are interested, or see me at the NY Auto Show. This is a great topic and we know a lot of companies are working hard on this issue.

The Yankee Cup Technology Award

This award will be presented at our annual meeting at MIT on May 11. (Separate communication to follow soon with all the registration details for the panel discussion and the dinner.) Contact Craig Fitzgerald at [email protected] to submit your entry ASAP. A panel of MIT professors is once again helping us select the winner.

The Gene Ritvo Memorial Design & Elegance Award

As you also know, in conjunction with Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation, NEMPA will select the 2012 recipient of the Gene Ritvo Award for Design & Elegance. “The Ritvo” honors the best in design in the automotive world, whether it be a production vehicle or a concept car, a marketing campaign, a logo or some element of a vehicle that “defines elegance in design.”

The award is named for the late Gene Ritvo, a NEMPA member and veteran Concours photographer who had an unusually keen eye. The first Ritvo Award was presented in May 2011 to Infiniti for its marketing campaign entitled “The Way of Infiniti.”

You have until April 9 to submit your entries. We like what we’re seeing so far. It’s going to be a tough decision. As with the Yankee Cup award, we’re excited by the caliber of judges.

NEMPA Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner

Wayne Carini, host of “Chasing Classic Cars,” will once again be our master of ceremonies for the evening. It’s going to be a special night because NEMPA kicks off its 25th anniversary year at the dinner on May 11 at the Sloane School of Business Faculty Club at MIT.

This year, for the first time, we’re selling space in a program book that will list all of the award winners, including a couple of special “anniversary” awards. It’s a great opportunity to salute NEMPA on its silver anniversary. Full-page ads will only be $250 and you’ll be able to pay online!

Thanks to the hard work of web administrator Zane Merva, his brother Josh, and our treasurer Roger Parent, you’ll be able to pay for everything NEMPA related with your credit card. I thank all three for putting this together.

By the way, a portion of the proceeds from the annual dinner and the program book will go towards Autism Speaks, a charity that Wayne Carini vigorously supports.

Cool Cars for Kids

Planning is still underway for Cool Cars for Kids on July 21 (right after the Ragtop Ramble/Crustacean Crawl—see below). It’s going to be a special event in conjunction with the Dana Farber Institute. We’re putting together a great day for 25 patients and their families.

You’re all invited, too. I have to warn you, though: We’ll put you to work. Can’t you just picture Wade Hoyt making balloon animals?

Seriously, we can use your help. We want to give the kids cool cars to ride in from the hospital to Larz Anderson. We’re also looking for static displays, too. Tamara from Mazda is sending a SEMA car. What can you send?

Also, does your company have connections with athletes, performers or celebrities in the Boston area? Help us put smiles on these children’s faces by introducing them to their heroes.

Ragtop Ramble/Crustacean Crawl

Of course, we’re still having the Ragtop! It’s July 19-20. Dinner cruise around Boston Harbor on July 19 followed by the drive to Maine the next morning. Get your ragtops and cool cars into the fleet early for judging. (Sending a car up July 19 and driving away in it on July 20 is bad form.) Plus, we need your cool cars to make Cool Cars for Kids a success.

Please arrange with John Lawlor for car delivery (508-378-3023). John is also your contact for Cool Cars, of course.

Wow, I’ve hit you with a lot. But it just shows how busy NEMPA is. See you in New York along with fellow NEMPA members VP John Paul, Secretary Bill Griffith, Cliff Atiyeh, Nate Chapnick, George Kennedy, Kamil Kaluski, and Jim MacPherson.


Keith Griffin, President

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