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2011 North American Car & Truck of the Year finalists announced

 2011 North American Car & Truck of the Year finalists announced
2011 Dodge Durango

Winners will be revealed in Detroit

With the year coming to a close, the finalists for the 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year have been announced.

Unsurprisingly, the nominees for car of the year include the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. They are joined by the Hyundai Sonata, which is an underdog to say the least.

On the truck side, the outcome is more of a toss up as the contenders include the Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Ford Explorer.

The winners will be selected by a panel of 49 automotive journalists and the awards will be presented at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Who should win? Feel free to chime in on the comments below.

Source: North American Car and Truck of the Year

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.

2011 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

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Comments (25)

 Siawa Siawa
My vote is definitely for Sonata... what an achievement but for some reason (seeing it's North American award), I think it's gonna go to Volt.
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December 20, 2010 12:48 pm
 JimP JimP
Well, whatever one they pick it will be the kiss of death like all the others they have had.
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December 20, 2010 11:39 am
 radmeister radmeister
The Sonata is the best car for the $, the 2.0T is just fabulous. As for SUV, there is only one real SUV and that is the Range Rover....The rest of these cars are a joke.
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December 20, 2010 3:24 am
 Han Solo Han Solo
Hats off for Hyundai Sonata, they went from crappy Asian Car to a superb class leader in the segment.... Wow...that is some accomplishment. I love everything about the new Sonata except for the Headlights. Bravo to Chevy Volt, I just hope they make a Sedan Spind-Off soon. I heard that GM and LG Chem is converting the Chevy Cruze Sedan into an Extended Range Electric Vehicle using the Chevy Volt's system. It's called Vista C.
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December 19, 2010 11:06 pm
 Shumy Shumy
Sonata is just a joke. It is the copy of wv passat cc. Durango's front is nice but the back is really bad. They made a good publication of the Volt. I don't see anything special about it. I know it's an electric car but what? It is not the first one. In addition to this, it's uglyyy. Good marketing Chevrolet !
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December 18, 2010 5:03 pm
 shaahinmt shaahinmt
shouldn't this be the 2011 Gay car for the year list?
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December 18, 2010 3:00 pm
 joelynn joelynn
ahem, just because a car doesnt have a petrol engine doesnt mean it isnt a car.
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December 18, 2010 11:08 am
 shoemaker shoemaker
From the listed cars of this rank it is worthy only Durango, IMHO. Both leaf, and volt is, as a matter of fact, not cars in traditional understanding of this word.
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December 18, 2010 6:54 am
 som3aa som3aa
i don't understand why do people want to buy an overpriced car which runs on batteries that aren't sufficient to take you anywhere but to a store next door to save a few bucks on gas in return have to charge the car (pay for electricity) and then every couple of years pay for a new battery which costs more than paying for the fuel those years???
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December 18, 2010 3:57 am
 eddie eddie
The Leaf would be the perfect commute car. The Volt is the best compromise if you needed some out of town traveling.
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December 18, 2010 1:39 am
 dcars62 dcars62
The Volt is a true engineering wonder. The Sonata is a beautiful car and the true leader in that class of cars. The leaf is a modern remake on the electric car. My vote is for the Volt no.1 and the Sonata a close second.
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December 17, 2010 11:36 pm
 ransomeliolds ransomeliolds
I'm goin for the LEAF and the EXPLORER
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December 17, 2010 10:32 pm
 eddie eddie
I am thinking of buying a Sonata. It looks great, made in the USA, well built and a great warranty in these times of uncertainty.
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December 17, 2010 8:05 pm
 6SPEEDV8 6SPEEDV8
Does anyone remember last year when the fusion and transit connect won car and truck respectively. what a f*ing joke.
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December 17, 2010 7:45 pm
 bfghemicuda bfghemicuda
Probably the JGC but would like to see the Durango.
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December 17, 2010 6:49 pm
 wcfuser14369 wcfuser14369
Oh right, not trucks then really. Just SUVs. And Hyundai Sonata as Car of the Year? Even the Koreans will be chickling at that one.
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December 17, 2010 6:31 pm