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Chrysler big winner at SEMA

by Bill Cawthon on

The results are in. The second annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Award was presented to the 2012 Fiat 500 for the “Hottest Sports Compact Car” and to the 2012 Jeep Wrangler for the “Hottest 4×4-SUV” at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Both awards were accepted by Mopar President and CEO, Pietro Gorlier.

The SEMA Award honors vehicles that specialty-equipment manufacturers believe are the best platforms for accessorization and showcase this year’s most unique products. The award recognizes four outstanding vehicle models in four categories – “Hottest Car,” “Hottest Sport Compact Car,” “Hottest Truck,” and “Hottest-4×4-SUV.” Ford and GM got one apiece for the F-Series pickup and Camaro, but Chrysler was the big winer with two.

“The Fiat 500’s timeless proportions and efficient design make it a perfect platform for customization,” said Olivier Francois, Head of Fiat Brand and Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group. “We are honored by the SEMA Award recognition and excited by the creativity and enthusiasm of our fans and the specialty-equipment manufacturers who continue to make the Cinquecento even more distinctive in the marketplace.”

“The Jeep Wrangler has an incredible enthusiast following, and with hundreds of Mopar parts and accessories available for it, it is clearly one of our most customized vehicles,” said Gorlier. “And, in just its first year, our new Fiat 500 is prominent throughout this year’s SEMA Show as it is the perfect canvas for customization.”

The “Hottest 4×4-SUV” of this year’s Show is the fourth award the new 2012 Jeep Wrangler has received in the last 10 days. Last week, it captured the prestigious “4×4 of the Year” crown from Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine, the “Mid-size SUV of Texas” award by the Texas Auto Writers Association and “Best Off-Road Value” in the Active Lifestyle Vehicle awards competition.

“With an avid following of enthusiasts, Jeep Wrangler has long been the most customized SUV in the marketplace,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Wrangler owners love to modify their vehicles, often at purchase with dealer-installed Mopar parts, and throughout their ownership experience. For 2012, Jeep Wrangler is an even better customization platform, with more fuel efficiency, power and capability than ever before.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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