LTR Joins 2022 Hispanic Motor Press Awards Jury

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Aug 112021
 

The Hispanic Motor Press Foundation (HMPF) announced today their new panel of judges for the 2022 Hispanic Motor Press Awards (HMPA) and Latino Traffic Report (LTR) made the list. The premier independent Latino vehicle awards presented in the United States recognize the best new vehicles for Hispanic buyers. Winners will be announced during this year’s LA Auto Show, the annual ten-day auto and lifestyle event featuring the most diverse range of vehicles and brands in North America that opens to the public on November 19, 2021.

Genesis GV80, 2021 Luxury Car of the Year.

“With Hispanic buyers accounting for 25 percent of the growth in new-vehicle sales, HMPA guides consumers in preselecting choices,” states Ricardo Rodriguez-Long, founder and president of the Hispanic Motor Press. “Los Angeles is the top Hispanic market in the U.S. and the LA Auto Show continues to be a top performing show.”

The HMPA jury panel is comprised of national Latino automotive journalists, bloggers, content creators, and industry influencers selected by the organization’s advisory board. Twenty-three automotive experts and Hispanic consumer engagers—handpicked every year—and one jury director, form the panel. 

“This is the only national automotive award selected exclusively by Latino automotive journalists who best understand the needs and concerns of Latino car buyers,” says Valerie Menard, CEO of LTR. “It’s an honor to have been selected to serve on this jury.”

The jurors evaluate the vehicles from their perspective as part of their professional work through September 2021. Finalists are selected for the top ten best new vehicles: Car, EV Car, Hybrid Car, Sports Car, Luxury Car, Car Technology, Sports Utility Vehicle, Pick-Up Truck, Adventure Car, and the ultimate award Family Car of the Year.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, 2021 Family Car of the Year.

Auto manufacturers voluntarily submit their entries, and the panel evaluates the vehicles on their features including overall design, comfort, safety, economy, handling, performance, functionality, infotainment integration, interior design, environmental requirements, driver satisfaction, and price.  The final top ten vehicle winners represent the most significant automobiles in the market, as they meet the needs and desires of Latino consumers. Winners will be announced during the LA Auto Show’s Automobility LA press days, November 17–18, 2021. The general public is invited to attend the LA Auto show from November 19–28, 2021 and view the winning vehicles in-person.

Rodriguez-Long will serve as jury moderator. The Hispanic Motor Press Awards 2022 jury panel from across the country includes:

1. Aaron Sanchez (ABC News) CA9. Ellie Byrd (El Heraldo News) TX17. Maria Ravani (Sobre Rodas Magazine) FL
2. Alejandro Maciel (LA Times Español) CA10. German Angel (Enfoque Social) – CA  18. Pepe Delfino (El Automovilista) – FL  
3. Angelica Willard (Willard Post) FL11. Gil Silva (Mitchell Books) – CA  19. Pepe Forte (Automania)- FL  
4. Armando Varela (La Opinion) CA  12. Hector Russo (Geek’s Room) – TX  20 Roger Rivero (Automotriz Channel) – OR  
5. Camilo Alfaro (Autoproyecto) CA  13. Jaime Gabaldoni (Univision Autos) – FL21. Sandra Munoz (Latinaology)- AZ  
6. Carlos Hernandez (LatinOCC) CA  14. Jeffrey Gomez (The Snob Magazine) – TX22. Valerie Menard (Latino Traffic Report) – TX
7. David Loji (The Detroit Bureau) MI  15. Jose Melendrez (La Alcancia) – NY 
8. Dawn Garcia (A Taste of Dawn/ATOD Magazine) – CA  16. Lizza Monet Morales (Xoxo, Lizza Inc.) – CA   

For information on previous Award Winners visit www.hispanicmotorpress.com.

#hispanicmotorpress

#hmpaawards

Pedregon Scores Thirty-Seventh Funny Car Victory

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Jun 302021
 
Cruz Pedregon celebrates his victory in the Pedregon Racing Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals near Norwalk, Ohio.

Latino Traffic Report has learned that the first victory of the 2021 NHRA season for a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was earned from the No.10 spot on the eliminations ladder by two-time National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Car World Champion Cruz Pedregon who powered his Pedregon Racing Snap-On Tools machine to the national event win at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals near Norwalk, Ohio. It was the thirty-seventh career Funny Car win for Pedregon who’s last victory came in 2018 at Charlotte Four-wide Nationals. 

“We have been prepping for a winning season, putting in so many hours and there’s nothing quite as rewarding as coming out on top and holding up that trophy at the end of a race weekend,” said Pedregon. “What a great job John (Collins), Rip (Reynolds), and the team did to get us ready for this race. What a real triumph for us all, especially after the 2020 season. We really appreciate our sponsors and great fans for sticking with us and giving us the additional boost of confidence we needed. That support is what makes it all possible.”

Pedregon’s performance aboard his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat consistently improved with every run throughout the weekend at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. After earning a tenth place seeding for eliminations, he went on to collect round wins over Tim Wilkerson, Robert Hight and Alexis DeJoria to advance to his first final round appearance of the year to face category points leader, Bob Tasca III. Following a holeshot semifinal win over DeJoria and the second rain delay of the day, Pedregon came ready for his final faceoff and used a 0.053-second reaction time to give his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat another holeshot advantage off the start and power to a 3.958 sec/324.75 mph pass over Tasca’s (0.100 sec.) 3.913/332.02 effort to earn the coveted Wally trophy and the treasured ice cream scoop trophy that the Bader family offers the winners at their dragstrip.

“(Winning) is not why I drag race, but this’ll keep me drag racing,” shared Pedregon. “It’s a good team and I felt like I was kind of holding my team back a little, but I dug deep. You work your way into winning again and these guys taught me to get back into that winning. It feels good to be back at it. This win means that I’m as good as the car, and I know I have a good car, so I think I can be there for the car as well and win more races.”


 

Chaparro Joins Lexus Team

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May 272021
 

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that Adelmo Chaparro was named Lexus Southern vehicle operations manager where he oversees vehicle sales, distribution, marketing and product training and engagement for the 68 Lexus dealers in 11 states that his area office.

“I am excited to join the Lexus Southern Area and work closely with our team members,” says Chaparro. “It’s been an incredible journey working for Toyota and Lexus over the past 15 years, and those experiences have helped prepare me for this new role. The future is very bright for Lexus, and I look forward to working hard to support our dealerships and their continued success.”

Before joining Lexus in September, 2020, Chaparro was the MDRP at Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) headquarters in Plano, Texas, where he rotated through positions in Guest Experience and Retention, Demand and Supply Management, and Toyota Sales Operations. Born in Venezuela and raised in Evansville, Indiana, he has worked at TMNA since 2006.

At LTR, we applaud efforts in the auto industry to hire and promote Latinos.

Ford Foundation Invests in Latino Art and Artists in “Reclaiming the Border” Project

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Apr 082021
 

Shared Spaces by Ana Maria Alvarez produced by Border Arts Corridor. Photo Credit: Ammi Robles.

Latino Traffic Report has learned that the Ford Foundation will partner with Borealis Philanthropy, the Center for Cultural Power, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures to launch Reclaiming the Border Narrative.

Nansi Guevara, 2020 Border Narrative Change, NFA Grantee

Reclaiming the Border Narrative is an effort to penetrate and shape the national attention on migration and the United States-Mexico border by supporting authentic storytelling by affected communities on the cultures and socio-political dynamics that comprise the region. Funding will enable immigrant rights advocates, artists, writers and organizations to work over the next three years to organize and preserve stories reflecting the dignity and truth of border communities, connecting and empowering them to center their own narrative on their terms and in their voices.

“Damaging narratives about border communities have for too long dominated the national attitude towards immigrants. We are proud to support these communities to reclaim their truth, speak their stories, and craft new anthems for America that ring with the dignity, demands, and dreams of border communities,” said Maria Torres-Springer, vice president of U.S. Programs for the Ford Foundation.

Prevailing narratives across administrations have demonized border communities and stoked fear of immigrants, fueling xenophobic policies including a multi-billion dollar border wall and family separation. Through it all, the authentic life stories, voices, and narratives of impacted border communities have been flattened, and the complexities of their cultures, contributions, and experiences have been erased.

From The Center for Cultural Power.

The Ford Foundation will provide more than $4.5 million in grants to the partners, who will regrant to:

  • Immigrants’ rights organizations working in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas;
  • Artists, filmmakers, writers, and journalists who live or work along the border and who lift up the region’s stories and issues; and
  • Provide training and technical assistance to those grantees to improve and expand their capacity to use documentation, storytelling, and other forms of creative expression to advance their organizing and advocacy agendas beyond the life of their grants.

Ford will provide additional support to the Southwest Folklife Alliance to document the learning from this initiative. The collective efforts will be compiled into an accessible digital archive to collect, house, and preserve the stories from the border and include contributions of other communities, advocates, and creatives after the project ends.

From Borealis Philanthropy: Free our Future San Diego action organized by Mijente

“The truth that runs through all of our work is that directly affected communities are the essential creative force in the larger arc of social change,” said Amoretta Morris, president of Borealis Philanthropy. “In the aftermath of the last four years of extreme anti-immigrant actions and narratives, we must listen to and center the stories, experiences, and wisdom of border communities who are determining their own futures. Borealis is thrilled to support the advocates helping to uplift the voices we need to hear right now.”

“It’s clear that culture and stories shape national policies about immigration,” said Favianna Rodriguez, cultural strategist and president for the Center for Cultural Power. “For too long, our country’s dominant story has been one of criminalization and dehumanization, which has led to children and families being held in cages. The Center for Cultural Power is honored to build the cultural capacity of artists and pro-migrant organizations to create, amplify and normalize a different kind of culture that’s welcoming to immigrants and can move us away from a punishment economy.”

NIENMORE Texas, 2020 Border Narrative Change, NFA Grantee

Maria Torres-Springer, vice president of U.S. Programs for the Ford Foundation, said, “Damaging narratives about border communities have for too long dominated the national attitude towards immigrants. We are proud to support these communities to reclaim their truth, speak their stories, and craft new anthems for America that ring with the dignity, demands, and dreams of border communities.”

“It is a rarity to be among partners whose shared commitment to cultural competence can act as a powerful catalyst for systemic change, beginning with our efforts to amplify the rich and dynamic border stories too often overlooked,” said Alberto B. Mendoza, executive director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. “With this investment, NAHJ and our journalists are part of a veritable opportunity for storytelling that preserves significance and fosters authenticity.”

“The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures has long stood in solidarity with Latinx artists and organizations along the southern border,” said María López De León, president and CEO of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. “We work to uplift the most marginalized voices within our communities because we know that art and culture is our most powerful conduit for transformative change. Using their artistic and cultural practice strategically to advance justice, artists and culture-makers along the southern border will create works that reflect the dignity, resilience, and beauty inherent in border communities and our histories. It is an honor to stand with the Ford Foundation and other partners supporting arts and culture-makers throughout the border region in cultivating collaboration across creative disciplines and borders.”

“Many widely held assumptions and beliefs about the border region and immigration that circulate in U.S. culture and media paint a negative, flat picture of these complex issues,” said Maribel Alvarez, folklorist and ethnographer for the Southwest Folklife Alliance. “To bring about lasting changes in public perceptions and policies, we need to augment the scale and capacity of those close to the ground to get their stories heard and taken seriously. This project is the welcome and urgent first step towards a more democratic and equitable public narrative about some of our country’s hardest working, yet most vulnerable, communities.”

For grant opportunities go to partner sites.

Toyota and Hispanic Scholarship Fund Renew Parnership

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Dec 282020
 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Toyota, an Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) partner of 22 years, renewed its commitment of $900,000 for the organization’s 2020-2021 fiscal year. Allocations will fund Scholar Support Services, the Toyota/HSF Scholarship Program, and the Toyota West Dallas Scholarship.

The program’s value is reflected in employees like Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX) engineer Nazul Rivera. The youngest of five and raised by a single mother, Rivera gained confidence with an HSF scholarship. “The HSF scholarship gave me a newfound sense of responsibility. It made me feel like somebody believes in me, and that I could go further in school than I ever imagined possible,” said Rivera.

Whether it’s Rivera’s story or one of the thousands of others made possible through HSF grants, the core mission is a commitment to helping Latinos navigate the college track—many for the first time. “Toyota’s generous support will enable HSF to provide scholarships to deserving scholars and support services to students, parents, and alumni across our country. We are grateful and proud of our long-standing partnership with Toyota and look forward to working together to continue empowering families to successfully complete a higher education,” said Fidel A. Vargas, president and CEO, HSF.

Applications for 2021 HSF scholarships must be received by February 15, 2021. To apply, go to https://www.hsf.net/scholarship.

Familia is everything, and recognizing, celebrating, and driving educational opportunities to Latinos is crucial within the Toyota family, and to the communities we serve, and especially to today’s scholars,” said Peggy Turner, vice president, Lexus Guest Relations, and member of HSF’s Board of Directors.

TAWA Announces 2020 Truck Rodeo Winners

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Nov 112020
 
2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) recently announced the winners from its twenty-seventh annual Texas Truck Rodeo. Here’s a hint, it was a big day for FCA.

The 2021 Ram 1500 became the new reigning Truck of Texas and the 2021 Dodge Durango, a two-time TAWA Full-size SUV winner, took home the 2021 SUV of Texas crown.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

“The SUV and truck market in Texas is strong, and narrow margins between the vehicles confirmed just how competitive this market is this year,” said TAWA President Kristin Shaw. “TAWA was the first journalist group to drive Ram’s new 1500 TRX and its impressive 702-hp 6.2L HEMI along with undeniable capability on and off road convinced our journalists to rank the Ram 1500 number one in the Truck of Texas category.”   

2021 RAM 1500 TRX photo by Kevin McCauley

Twenty-seven TAWA members, including LTR, traveled to Star Hill Ranch outside Austin on October 5-6, 2020, to evaluate 39 trucks and SUVs on their interior, exterior, value, performance and personal appeal.  A new off-roading course designed for this year’s event tested the trucks and SUVs on their endurance and versatility while drivers also had the opportunity to drive the vehicles on-road to experience ride and comfort.

The ultimate tailgating set-up in the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

Thirteen different automakers entered vehicles in eleven categories and while not all competitors were represented, there was one newcomer that afforded TAWA members a rare driving opportunity, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. Possibly the first six-figure vehicle entered at the rodeo, the purple and grey two-tone, luxury SUV took its paces on the off-road course, while the on-road drive accentuated its interior luxury and refinement, including a massage for driver, as well as its rear-wheel steering and notorious “magic carpet ride.”

2021 Nissan Rogue

Another first-time driving opportunity of note at the rodeo was the 2021 Nissan Rogue. Doubling down on its appeal as a family car, the all-new Rogue bears a bigger, bolder look, an upscale interior with a striking new dash, and an enhanced ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous safety package. In its category of Compact SUV of Texas, however, it was beaten by Toyota’s 2021 RAV4 TRD Off-Road, while the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon maintained its edge as top Off-Road SUV, and Hyundai’s elegant Palisade Calligraphy earned top honors as Mid-Size SUV of Texas.

2021 RAV4 TRD photo by Kevin McCauley

Also on hand, Katzkin Leather Seats displayed a special leather package featuring an aerated pattern of the state of Texas. Many Texans may find the investment of around $1500 a surmountable obstacle for such a unique feature.

TAWA made program changes this year to address the pandemic. Safety protocols included requiring face masks, sanitizing vehicles between drives and creating a two-wave event to limit the number of journalists present at one time. 

“This year has brought a lot of challenges to the automotive industry, and we are grateful for the partnership of our journalist and OEM members to provide an opportunity to have access to vehicles, network, and create content that is vital to our livelihoods and shared passion,” said Shaw.

For the complete list of winners go to www.texasautowriters.org.

DePerez Joins Hyundai Motor America

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Sep 022020
 

Latino Traffic Report (LTR) has learned that Hyundai Motor America has appointed Fred DePerez as the new vice president of Product Line Management and Sales Planning where he will oversee the current Product Line Management, Sales Planning, and Retail Operations teams. This newly created division will allow Hyundai to react more rapidly to market conditions and improve decision making across the enterprise. DePerez will report to Hyundai Motor North America president and CEO José Muñoz.

“Fred is a seasoned leader with an extensive background in understanding market conditions and delivering results,” said Muñoz. “Creating this new division will allow us to better leverage data and take full advantage of national and regional opportunities to increase profits and gain market share. We are excited he’s joined the Hyundai team.”

DePerez has 25 years of automotive experience. LTR first met him when he served as vice president of Nissan’s Northeast Region, also under Muñoz. He also spent six years at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles where he led Dodge brand operations and 11 years at Toyota Motor Sales USA in various sales and marketing positions.

Hyundai’s Product Line Management group focuses on ways to improve performance by analyzing target customers, segment dynamics and the dealer’s engagement level of each Hyundai vehicle. Sales Planning analyzes industry-wide trends and identifies national and regional growth opportunities for Hyundai. Retail Operations manages Hyundai’s national incentive spending, certified pre-owned programs and sales planning activities.

¡Felicidades Fred!

Chaves Scores First Victory at Road America

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Aug 072020
 
Chaves (left) and Norman Lead BHA Podium Sweep with First IMSA Victory

Latino Traffic Report has learned Ryan Norman and Gabby Chaves prevailed to score their first victory at Road America after leading each of the first three races in the 2020 IMPC championship. They also gave Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) its second consecutive race win since returning to competition earlier this month.

BHA newcomers Chaves and Norman scoring their first victory in the #33 Hyundai Veloster N TCR. It was an all Hyundai podium at Road America with Parker Chase and Spencer Brockman finishing second in as many starts in the #29 Vertical Bridge Veloster N TCR, and Sebring winners Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins coming in third. Hyundai now leads the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) Manufacturers championship by five points over Audi.

The “all-Hyundai” podium at Road America.

“Ryan handed the car off to me with the lead, and my job was to keep it from there,” shared Chaves. “I had to do a little fuel saving, but Ryan helped me out with a gap. It’s a much easier job to be able to manage your tire life and your fuel from the front rather than trying to chase someone down, the final yellow helped.”

Norman took the lead on lap 3, and the duo never looked back. The two-hour race was caution free for the first 116 minutes and the race pace was frantic. Norman, Chaves, and the entire #33 BHA crew executed flawlessly to secure the win. They jumped from seventh to second in the championship standings.

“Gabby was awesome out there,” added Norman. “I said it at Daytona and I’ll say it again, this is the most fun I’ve ever had driving a race car. Congratulations to Gabby, the team and especially to Hyundai.”

The next round of IMPC competition is set for August 22 at Virginia International Raceway.

Ford and Houston Area Dealerships Award $100,000 to High School Seniors

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Jun 142020
 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that Ford Motor Company Fund and Houston area Ford dealers, assisted by the LULAC National Education Service Centers (LNESC) awarded $100,000 in Ford Driving Dreams scholarships to 50 senior high school students from more than 40 schools that participated in the “What Drives Your Dreams?” essay contest. This is the fifth year that Ford helps Houston students pursue their academic dreams of going to college. 

The scholarships recipients were announced during a virtual ceremony June 2, 2020.  Graduates and parents heard from Ford speakers and Ross Bjork, athletic director at Texas A&M, who congratulated the seniors on their achievements and encouraged them to stay committed to their academic dreams. 

“At Ford Fund we are proud to award scholarships to these talented students,” said Joe Ávila, manager, United States & Latin America, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Education is a priority for Ford, and we are committed to helping create a better quality of life by investing in the education of our youth, which is why we have adapted our programs to enable us to continue empowering students amidst the many challenges resulting from COVID-19.”   

Ford Driving Dreams has impacted more than 200,000 students across the United States, Puerto Rico, Latin America and Europe since it was launched in 2012. The initiative has delivered more than $10 million in educational resources and scholarships administered by the LNESC. For more information, visit www.FordDrivingDreams.com. Find us at @FordDrivingDreams in Facebook and Instagram and follow the stories with #forddrivingdreams and #fordimpulsandosueños.

Toyota Partners With Latino Nonprofits For COVID-19 Response

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Apr 242020
 

Latino Traffic Report has learned that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the United States, Toyota Motor North America announced today a range of initiatives with longstanding national nonprofit partners to serve the U.S. Latino community.

More than $1 million in previously awarded funding to the Hispanic Federation (HF), Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) Education Foundation, UnidosUS and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) was reallocated to their COVID-19 response efforts.

Funding supports emergency assistance, information dissemination, small business support and academic assistance for the U.S. Hispanic community.

“Together, we can help reach more people with the critical information and resources they need,” said Al Smith, group vice president and Chief Social Innovation Officer, Toyota Motor North America. “We want our partners and communities to know that we are here for them now and beyond the crisis.”

Toyota’s efforts with its partners on behalf of the Hispanic community include:

Academics

  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF):
    • Funding to provide support to K-12 students, parents and scholars
    • Emergency relief for families struggling with food, housing, and tuition payments, as well as support for distance learning.
  • The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU):
    • Funding to provide comprehensive services to scholars.

Emergency Assistance

  • Hispanic Federation:
    • Funding for the COVID-19 Latino Nonprofit Emergency Assistance Fund.
    • Emergency food relief to seniors, children, and families in New York.

Information Dissemination

  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC):
    • Funding to create resources in Spanish about COVID-19, and distribute them via community network platforms.
  • UnidosUS:
    • Funding to ensure accurate information and resources to slow the spread of COVID-19 are reaching the Latino community in English and Spanish.

Small Business Support

  • United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC):
    • Funding to provide economic relief resources and technical assistance to Hispanic and Minority-Owned Small Businesses that are heavily impacted by this COVID-19 crisis.
    • Direct 24/7 bilingual technical assistance support on the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Impact Disaster Loan applications, banking/loan/liquidity questions, and other questions about general support.
    • Connecting Hispanic-owned suppliers in the U.S. to buyers who quickly need supplies including gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and other items.

For more information on Toyota’s COVID-19 response, please visit: www.toyota.com/toyota-covid-19-response/