North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists for 2011 chosen

The North American Car and Truck of the Year jurors have selected their finalists for 2011.

The finalists for Car of the Year are as follows:

  • Chevrolet Volt
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Nissan LEAF

If the Volt wins this, it will be yet another award for its collection, as it has already won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award, as well as the Green Car of the Year award. As for the LEAF, it was chosen as the 2011 European Car of the Year, and was a finalist for the Green Car of the Year award.

The Sonata stands out among the finalists, as its drivetrain options are much more simple than the other two, even in Hybrid form. However, the car has been game-changing in its segment. While this may have helped it become a finalist, we doubt it’ll win the award.

As for the Truck of the Year, here are your finalists:

  • Dodge Durango
  • Ford Explorer
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee

For this award, all three cars are pretty similar, with the Dodge and Jeep even sharing underpinnings.

So, which would you choose as your winners?

Press Release

2011 Finalists Chosen

DETROIT, – Forty-nine automotive journalists have selected the Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Leaf as the three finalists for the 2011 North American Car of the Year.

The finalists for the 2011 North American Truck of the Year are the Dodge Durango, the Ford Explorer and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The finalists were revealed today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit. The winners will be announced on January 10 at an 8 a.m. news conference at the North American International Auto Show.

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 who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and web sites.

To be eligible a vehicle must be all new or “substantially changed.”

The correct name is “North American Car of the Year” and “North American Truck of the Year,” not “Car of the Year” or “Truck of the Year.”

Earlier this month jurors sent their ballots to Michelle Collins, the Michigan Audit Partner in Charge at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Today Ms. Collins handed over envelopes containing the names of the finalists (listed in alphabetical order) to Mark Phelan, the auto critic for The Detroit Free Press, who made the announcement.

This begins a second round of voting on the three car and three truck finalists. Those ballots also go to Ms. Collins who will be the only one who knows the winners until she hands over the envelopes on January 10.

Here are some observations:

If the Chevrolet Volt wins it will be the fourth time General Motors has won the North American Car of the Year. Most recently, the Chevrolet Malibu was the 2008 North American Car of the Year.

The Hyundai Sonata includes three models, the standard sedan, the sporty version and the hybrid. If the Sonata wins it will be the second win for Hyundai. Its Genesis was the 2009 North American Car of the Year.

If the Sonata wins it will be the fifth time a hybrid has been honored. Most recently the Ford Fusion Hybrid was the 2010 North American Car of the Year.

If the Nissan Leaf wins it will be the second time a Nissan has been a North American Car of the Year. The first time was the Altima in 2002.

If the Dodge Durango wins it will be the second time a Dodge has been a North American Truck of the Year and the third time a vehicle from Chrysler has won. The Grand Cherokee won in 1999 and the Dodge Ram in 1994.

If the Ford Explorer wins it will be the seventh time a Ford has been the “North American Truck of the Year.” Ford has dominated the truck category. Last year the Ford Transit Connect was the winner.

If the Jeep Grand Cherokee wins it will be the third time a vehicle from Chrysler has been a North American Truck of the Year. The Grand Cherokee won in 1999 and the Dodge Ram won in 1994.

This is the 18th year of the awards, which are funded exclusively by the jurors. During that time:

• Domestic automakers have won North American Car of the Year nine times. European automakers have won four times, Japanese automakers have won three times. A Korean automaker has won once.

• Domestic automakers have won North American Truck of the Year 11 times. Japanese automakers have won four times. European automakers have won twice.

Last year the North American Car of the Year was the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the North American Truck of the Year was the Ford Transit Connect.

The awards are administered by a five-person organizing committee. This year its members are Karl Brauer (Edmunds.com); Tony Swan (Car and Driver); Lindsay Brooke (Automotive Engineering International); Mark Phelan (The Detroit Free Press) and Christopher Jensen (Freelance).

Below are the vehicles on which the jurors voted.

22011 North American Car of the Year:
Audi A8
Buick Regal
Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Volt
Ford Fiesta
Hyundai Sonata/2.0T/Hybrid
Infiniti M37/56
Jaguar XJ
Kia Optima
Mazda Mazda2
Nissan Juke
Nissan Leaf
Volkswagen Jetta
Volvo S60

North American Truck of the Year:

Dodge Durango
Ford Edge
Ford Explorer
Honda Odyssey
Hyundai Tucson
Infiniti QX56
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Kia Sorento
Kia Sportage
Lincoln MKX
Mercedes-Benz R-Class
Porsche Cayenne
Toyota Sienna
Volkswagen Touareg

Source: North American Car and Truck of the Year

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