A jury of 49 veteran automotive journalists has selected the Ford Fusion Hybrid as the 2010 North American Car of the Year and the Ford Transit Connect as the 2010 North American Truck of the Year.
It was only the third time in 17 years that one automaker has won both awards. Honda won both awards in 2006 and General Motors won both in 2007.
The awards are unique because instead of being given by a single media outlet they are given by automotive journalists from the United States and Canada who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites.
The awards are designed to recognize the most outstanding vehicles of the year based on factors that include innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
There were three car finalists: The Ford Fusion Hybrid got 241 points, the Volkswagen Golf/TDI/GTI got 146 and the Buick LaCrosse got 103.
There were three truck finalists: The Transit Connect had 213 points and beat the Chevrolet Equinox with 183 points and the Subaru Outback with 94.
Juror Csaba Csere said, "Though not the first hybrid on the market, or even the second or third, The Fusion Hybrid is simply the best one ever built. In addition to delivering terrific mileage, it looks and drives like a regular car and a very good one indeed."
Jim Mateja, of the Chicago Tribune, said, "A U-Haul that fits in your garage. Holds people and soooo much of their stuff bikes, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, skis, tents, boats, ladders, furniture, you name it. Defines multi-purpose and boasts a reasonable price even when you add side and rear windows and back seat."
To be eligible, vehicles must be "all-new" or "substantially changed" from the previous model. This year the jury considered more than 50 vehicles and finally focused on 16 cars and 10 trucks.
Michelle Collins, vice chairman automotive at Deloitte LLP, was responsible for counting the ballots, which jurors sent directly to the accounting firm. The winners were kept secret until a news conference this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
At that news conference Collins handed over the car and truck envelopes to Tony Swan, a member of the awards organizing committee and a senior editor at Car and Driver magazine. Swan announced the winners.
Last year, the North American Car of the Year was the Hyundai Genesis and the North American Truck of the Year was the Ford F-150.
This is the 17th 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. Japanese automakers have won three times. European automakers have won four 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.
Here are the vehicles on which the jurors voted:
2010 North American Car of the Year nominees:
Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon
Ford Fusion Hybrid
Ford Taurus/Taurus SHO
2010 North American Truck of the Year nominees:
Ford Transit Connect
Honda Accord Crosstour
Land Rover LR4
More information on the awards including the names of jurors as well as previous finalists and winners is available at: www.northamericancaroftheyear.org.