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"Auto 1 of Europe" for Ford S-Max / AUTO BILD Group

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HAMBURG, Germany, March 7 /PRNewswire/ --

- Presents 16th International Award in Geneva

Auto1 Innovation Prize for "Advanced Pre Crash Safety System" in LEXUS LS 460

The international AUTO BILD Group presents Europe's most important car award for the 16th time: this year's "Auto 1 of Europe" is the Ford S-Max. Following the biggest reader poll in Europe and extensive tests, some 35 million AUTO BILD readers in 24 countries plus an expert panel of judges - consisting of racing drivers, motoring journalists and engineers - decided in favor of the new sport van.

Dr. Andreas Wiele, Board Director for Magazines and International at Axel Springer AG, presented the coveted trophy yesterday evening, March 7, 2007 to John Fleming, President und CEO Ford Europe. By tradition, the presentation ceremony was held during the 77th Geneva Motor Show before an audience of more than 500 prominent personalities from industry, media and motor sport.

For the first time the AUTO BILD Group also awarded six trophies for individual vehicle categories. The winners are:

Small and compact cars:

Volvo C30 (ahead of Opel Corsa and Skoda Roomster)

Sedans and station wagons:

Lexus GS 450 H (ahead of Honda Legend and Volvo S80)

Off-road and SUVs:

BMW X5 (ahead of Audi Allroad and Hyundai Santa Fe)

Mini vans and MPVs:

Ford S-Max (ahead of Citroen C4 Picasso and Seat Altea XL)

Sports cars and coupés:

BMW 3er Coupé (ahead of Audi TT Coupé and Ferrari 599 GTB)

Convertibles and roadsters:

VW Eos (ahead of Alfa Spider and Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder)

Innovation Prize 2007 for "Advanced Pre Crash Safety System" in LEXUS LS 460

As well as the awards for the latest cars, the AUTO BILD Group presented the 10th Innovation Prize for the best new technical development of the year. The award went to the "Advanced Pre Crash Safety System" in the LEXUS LS 460. This safety system has a special infrared stereo camera for early detection of dangers. What's more, an associated infrared face field recognition system can check whether the driver is looking ahead in critical situations. In an emergency, the car will brake automatically with a force of up to 0.6 g if a collision threatens. Another new feature is the radar sensor at the rear which gives warning of imminent impact if a following vehicle is approaching too fast. If the system registers danger, it positions the active head restraints and tightens the safety belts.

"Auto 1 of Europe": biggest European poll of readers and experts

The choice of the "Auto 1 of Europe" is based on the biggest reader poll in Europe: first the new 2006 models (criterion: launch throughout Europe) were divided into six categories. They were then voted on by some 35 million AUTO BILD readers in 24 countries. The readers chose their overall national favorite and the favorites in each vehicle category. The Top 3 in each category went into the semi-final in Rome, where the panel of experts tested them on the Bridgestone testing ground. The judges comprised high-caliber racing drivers, experienced engineers and all the editors-in-chief of the AUTO BILD Group. The first in each of the six categories went into the final. The grand final took place live on stage in Geneva: the 24 editors-in-chief in La Halle Sécheron each pressed a button to cast their independent vote for their favorite. The most votes went to the Ford S-Max.

Press contact: Tobias Fröhlich

Tel. +49-(0)-30-25-91-7-76-20

tobias.froehlich@axelspringer.de

This press release can be downloaded from www.axelspringer.de.

SOURCE Auto BILD



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