Source: Detroit Free Press

It was a day of praise, prayer and, well, test driving General Motors’ new lineup of cars, crossovers and SUVS.

In what organizers said was the first event of its kind in the area, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit teamed up Sunday with GM and the GM Minority Dealers Association to offer churchgoers a chance to test drive more than a dozen cars.

As congregants left the northwest side church at 1 p.m., Pastor Charles Adams said the idea of Ride and Drive was to demonstrate GM’s commitment to minority causes, its employment of thousands of local African Americans and to encourage churchgoers to buy a new GM car.

“Americans now must support American-made products,” Adams said outside the church with Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, a longtime member. “We are encouraging our church members to take care of their community by buying locally. This is an ethical purpose that is beyond profit.”

After a cruise in a shiny maroon 2010 Chevy Camaro, Indira Murray was all smiles.

“It’s a beautiful car,” the 38-year-old Detroit resident said. “I love it. When I get a job, I might get one.”

Her 8-year-old son, Aaron Mahone Jr., was equally impressed: “It was radical.”

Banks also were on hand to show potential new car owners how to apply for a loan. The church was chosen to host the event because it has a history of activism, said event spokesman Kevin McCormick..

Poised to buy a powerful SUV, Carl Smith said his priorities changed after driving a four-cylinder, fuel-efficient Chevy Equinox.

“The older you get, the more you think about saving money,” the 40-year-old Detroit resident said after his test drive.

The event was a success, said Bill Perkins, president of Bill Perkins Automotive Group in Eastpointe and former president of the GM Minority Dealers Association.

“Here’s a way for people to experience the GM product without worrying about pushy dealers,” Perkins said

Why no Chryslers or Fords?

Organizers said it was GM’s idea.