What started out back in 2009 as our humble endeavour to show our appreciation for the industry has now grown into one of the premier events in the Middle East’s motoring calendar.
The fifth annual awards ceremony, held at the sprawling Ritz Carlton hotel at Jumeirah Beach Residence, and sponsored by ENOC, celebrated the best automobiles from last year and awarded the coveted Car of the Year prize to the best of the best.
Attended by all the major players from the automotive industry, the glittering event saw Umberto Cini, managing director of Maserati General Overseas Markets, walk away with two awards; the Best Sports Saloon and the highly-prized overall Car of the Year for the Trident’s groundbreaking and amazing Ghibli.
Mike Belk, president & CEO of Daimler Middle East and Levant, also got quite a workout as he had to hop on to the stage twice to collect the Best Large Premium Saloon and Readers’ Choice awards for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
There were two others who did the happy walk up the aisle twice; Hannah Naji, marketing director of Jaguar Land Rover Middle East, to collect accolades won by the Jaguar F-Type and the Range Rover Sport in their respective categories; and Ewan Ramsey, general manager of Galadari Automobiles-Mazda, for the Mazda 6 and the Mazda CX-5.
Meanwhile, a beaming Maurice Williams, president and managing director of General Motors Middle East Operations, received the Best Sportscar of the Year award for the brilliant new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. Christer Ekberg, managing director of Porsche Middle East took the honours for the Porsche 918 Spyder, for the Best Supercar of the Year award, while the Lexus IS’s Best Premium Saloon trophy was handed over to Christopher Buxton, general manager of Sales at Lexus, Al-Futtaim Motors.
The prizes for the Ford Focus ST and the Volkswagen Golf were received by Paul Anderson, marketing director, Ford Middle East and North Africa and Norbert Fischer, after sales director, Volkswagen Middle East respectively, while Mohammad Yousry, regional after sales manager and Ena Drljevic, regional CRM manager, jointly accepted the Best Grand Tourer award for the Rolls-Royce Wraith.
A great evening it was, and thanks to all our friends from the industry who showed their support by gracing the occasion, it was also arguably the best event in the five years since we launched the wheels Car of the Year awards. As it is with a lot of other things, we guess we’re also getting better as we age.