Mazda’s global design division received three honours yesterday evening at the 2015 Automotive Brand Contest ceremony, including the prestigious “Team of the Year” award. Ikuo Maeda, the company’s global design chief, accepted the accolades at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt together with European Design Director Kevin Rice and his new North American counterpart Julien Montousse. Mazda also captured prizes for the all-new Mazda CX-3, a small SUV, and its Bike by KODO concept, a track racer conceived for Milan Design Week. The ceremony took place at Automotive Designers’ Night, a part of the Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The “Team of the Year” is selected for innovative and consistent brand design, and Mazda is indeed at a pinnacle in terms of design. Staff at the five Mazda design studios in Japan, China, Germany and the U.S. have flourished, expertly rendering the KODO – Soul of Motion design theme’s expressions for an entire generation of production models like the CX-3. It took home the competition’s “Best of the Best” award in the Exterior Volume Brand category. The Bike by KODO concept, meanwhile, won the Parts & Accessories class.

“It is an honour for me to accept these prizes here in Frankfurt on behalf of Mazda designers around the globe,” said Maeda. “I consider myself lucky to have one of the best jobs in the world, and that as part of one of the world’s best teams.” He says nature provides the inspiration for the dynamic KODO designs, particularly the supple movements of predators about to spring into action. “I think we’ve been able to successfully express this in our vehicles, and I am sincerely grateful for the awards. They will motivate us to do even better.”

Initiated by the German Design Council, the Automotive Brand Contest honours outstanding product and communication design on an international level. Established as a foundation in 1953, the German Design Council is one of the world’s leading centres for design competence. Prizes are awarded in 15 regular as well as four special categories, with the winners selected by a jury of media, design and communications experts.