DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- When the curtain rises on the 17th Annual Urban Wheel Awards (UWA) on Sunday January 13th at 7 p.m. in the Sound Board Theater at the Motor City Casino Hotel, it will be more than just the beginning of an awards show. It will be the catalyst for hundreds of millions of dollars in auto sales. New car dealers, advertising agencies, major car buying services, global business media, and manufacturers all use the Urban Wheel Award as a seal of approval in their marketing campaigns. They know third-party endorsements such as these build brand trust among consumers. Each year, Urban Wheel Award winners use the UWA imprimatur to improve sales performance among multicultural consumers. The Urban Car, Urban Truck and Urban Green Vehicle of the Year routinely show up in hundreds of promotional campaigns both domestically and globally to help drive consumers to showrooms. Randi Payton, founder of the Urban Wheel Awards says; "We are the first minority organization to establish a brand and a level of credibility. Dealers and ad agencies promote the Urban Wheel Award winners both in their local markets and global campaigns to drive consumers to the showrooms — and it works — we help sell cars." All of the dealer trade organizations are partners with UWA and promote it to their members. Their endorsements help to spread the word to more dealers, said Payton. While the significance of the multicultural consumer is often overlooked, Marc Bland, head of diversity and inclusion of the industry analysis firm Polk says; "Through the first 10 months of 2012, 9.2 million vehicles were sold in the U.S. One in five of those were purchased by African-American, Asian and Hispanic customers." Representing some 20 percent of the marketplace, the ethnic car buyer is key to the growth of the industry. By giving manufacturers a platform to demonstrate their commitment to insuring the inclusion of diverse cultures in their business practices, the Urban Wheel Awards exert influence on multicultural consumers on the lower purchasing funnel.