DETROIT — A jury of 50 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada has selected the Hyundai Genesis as the 2009 North American Car of the Year and the Ford F-150 as the 2009 North American Truck of the Year.
This year was the first time a Korean automaker has won; and the fifth time Ford has won the North American Truck of the Year. It is the third win for the F-150.
First presented in 1994, the annual awards are based on factors that include innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. Because the vehicles are new, reliability is not a factor.
The awards are unique in the United States because they are given by automotive journalists who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites instead of a single publication. Also, unlike some other awards, the awards are financed entirely by the jurors.
In December the top three cars and trucks were announced. The car finalists were the Ford Flex, Hyundai Genesis and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. The truck finalists were the Dodge Ram, the Ford F-150 and the Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC.
To be eligible, vehicles must be "all-new" or "substantially changed" from the previous model. This year the jury considered more than 50 model year 2009 vehicles and settled on 14 cars and 11 trucks that deserved to be on the ballot.
The winners were announced yesterday at a news conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, however, the show does not give the awards and the voting does not take place there.