6 finalists picked for car and truck of the year honors

Dec 20, 2011

It’s getting closer to that time of the year when the awards ceremonies roll out. No, not late February’s Motion Picture Academy Awards; rather automotivedom’s journalists’ favorites: the 2012 North American Car and Truck Of the Year (NACTOY).

For restylers, this could be a look at the vehicles that consumers will be looking at to purchase and customize, such as the Focus.

Fifty automotive journalists settled on a slate of six finalists: Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat as the three for 2012 North American Car of the Year – all small cars; and BMW X3, Honda CR-V and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque for the 2012 North American Truck of the Year – none of which are true trucks as we know them.

The finalists were announced Dec. 15 at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit.

Last year’s award car- and truck-of the-year winners were, respectively: Chevrolet Volt and Ford Explorer. This year’s winners will be announced on Jan. 9, the first press day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The awards are unique in the United States because instead of being given by a single media outlet they are awarded by a coalition of automotive journalists from the United States and Canada representing magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites. The awards are financed by the jurors’ dues; NACTOY does not accept advertising from automakers.

To be eligible a vehicle must be all-new or substantially changed. After considering dozens of vehicles this year the jurors finally voted on 17 cars and seven trucks.

A second round of voting on the three car and three truck finalists began after their announcement.

While the news conference will be held at the North American International Auto Show the show does not give the awards.

This is the 19th year of the awards. During the past 18 years the following has happened:

  • Domestic automakers have won North American Car of the Year ten times. European automakers have won four times, Japanese automakers have won three times. A Korean automaker – Hyundai – has won once.
  • Domestic automakers have won North American Truck of the Year 12 times. Japanese automakers have won four times. European automakers have won twice.

The awards are administered by a six-person organizing committee. This year its members are Karl Brauer (Total Car Score); Marc Lachapelle (MSN Autos US, Le Guide de l’auto); Tony Swan (Car and Driver); Lindsay Brooke (Automotive Engineering International); Mark Phelan (The Detroit Free Press); and Christopher Jensen (Freelance).

Below were the vehicles on which the jurors originally voted.

North American Car of the Year: Audi A6; Audi A7; Buick Verano; Chevrolet Sonic; Chrysler 300/SRT-8; Fiat 500; Ford Focus; Hyundai Accent; Hyundai Elantra; Hyundai Veloster; Kia Rio/Rio 5; Scion iQ; Subaru Impreza; Toyota Camry; Toyota Prius V; VW Beetle; and VW Passat.

North American Truck of the Year: BMW X3;Honda CR-V; Land Rover Range Rover Evoque; Mercedes-Benz M-Class; Mini Countryman; Nissan Quest and Saab 9-4X.