DEARBORN – Ward’s editorial staff wins five International Wheel Awards at a Detroit Press Club Foundation presentation held at the Automotive Hall of Fame May 15.

The awards honor the best in automotive journalism.

WardsAuto.com earned four awards, including one first place, and Ward’s AutoWorld magazine was honored with one.

WardsAuto.com swept the Internet News Story or Subject-Related category. Eric Mayne won first place for “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” which takes an in-depth look at the key issues driving the 2007 United Auto Workers labor talks and the long-term implications on the union and the legacy of its leader, Ron Gettelfinger.

Mayne talked with union and company insiders as well as industry players in setting the stage for the story, detailing the tightening noose of foreign competition, rising material prices, escalating health-care and pension costs and overcapacity that not only was slowly but surely strangling Detroit but also threatening to tear the union apart, as well.

The judges said the story was “well-written, interesting and informative. It’s a meaty look at labor negotiations, the risks associated with the old way of bargaining, walking out on strike and the cast of characters.”

Winning second place was “Dissecting the GM-UAW Labor Deal,” by James Amend, Eric Mayne, Byron Pope, Christie Schweinsberg and David Zoia.

The 6-story package examines a document containing usually highly guarded information made available to the union by General Motors Corp. in which the auto maker broadly outlines its U.S. investment plans – product by product and plant by plant.

Taking third-place in the same category was “Despite Glitches, Sky May Be Limit for Asian OEMs in U.S.,” by Christie Schweinsberg, Eric Mayne, Tom Murphy, Byron Pope and Drew Winter.

The story details the strategies for the major Asian auto makers as they look to capture even more market share in the highly competitive U.S. market.

Barbara McClellan placed third in the Internet Editorial/Column category for her commentary, “Chrysler Shows Stealth in Building All-Star Executive Team,” which examines the recruitment of the U.S. industry’s top automotive executives to the recently privatized Chrysler LLC and the motivation that drove them to their decision.

Ward’s AutoWorld won second place in the General Interest Magazines/Special Interest Publications category for its “State of the Industry, Parts 1 and 2.” The 2-issue end-of-the year package took 12 editors and reporters four months to plan and write.

Part 1, by Barbara McClellan, David Zoia and Byron Pope, analyzes the global auto industry’s turmoil and dicey near-term future as it struggles with overwhelming environmental and economic issues.

Part 2, by Drew Winter, David Zoia, Thomas Murphy, James A. Amend, Byron Pope and Christie Schweinsberg, provides in-depth interviews with the CEOs of the Detroit Three auto makers, as well as top officials of Toyota Motor North America, American Honda Motor Co. Inc. and Nissan North America Inc.