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2009 North American Car Of The Year Nominees

Dodge Challenger
2009 Car of the Year Nominee: Dodge Challenger

In January of next year the North American Car and Truck of the Year winners will be announced during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  The process that leads to that decision began last week with the release of the first round of 26 finalists.  Not suprisingly, vehicles from the crossover segment of the industry dominate this year’s list.

Since its inception in 1994, the winners of this prestigious award are chosen by a jury of 47 automotive journalists.  The path to the finals begins with a listing of all eligible vehicles, which in terms of this award means new or substantial modified existing models.  Earlier this month, jurors reviewed the entire list and picked the vehicles they thought deserved additional consideration on the next ballot. They were asked to limit their list to 10 cars and 10 trucks but are told to give the benefit of the doubt to vehicles they have not yet driven, which means their list may exceed 10 each.  Prior to the December 3rd deadline jurors send that ballot in to be tallied and the top three that emerge from that vote from each category are again voted on.  Finally, the winners are announced in January in Detroit.

In contrast to the long list of crossovers on both the truck and car lists, the only true pickups to make the cut this year are the Dodge Ram and Ford F-150.  A single SUV, the Kia Borrego is also a finalist.  Because the very nature of a “crossover” is a vehicle that has at least partial characteristics of both a car and a truck the process is a bit more complicated for this year.

A few of the more performance oriented front-runners for the award this year include the twin-turbo BMW 1-series, Nissan’s GT-R, the Dodge Challenger and the supercharged Cadillac CTS-V.  Whether the current economic and environmental climates have an impact on the voting will be interesting to see.  The full list of nominees is listed below.

2009 North American Car of the Year candidates

  • Audi A4
  • BMW 1-series
  • Cadillac CTS-V
  • Dodge Challenger
  • Ford Flex
  • Honda Fit
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • Jaguar XF
  • Lincoln MKS
  • Mazda6
  • Nissan GT-R
  • Pontiac G8
  • Toyota Venza
  • Volkswagen Jetta TDI

2009 North American Truck of the Year Candidates

  • BMW X6
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Dodge Ram
  • Ford F-150
  • Honda Pilot
  • Infiniti FX35/50
  • Kia Borrego
  • Mercedes ML320 BlueTEC
  • Nissan Murano
  • Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrid
  • Subaru Forester
  • Volkswagen Tiguan

Last year’s winners of the Car and Truck of the year were the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and the 2008 Mazda CX-9.

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