One week from today there will be one or two companies with new bragging rights for their vehicles. And, important rights they are, too. The occasion will be the announcement of the 2015 Car of the Year and Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The finalists were named in December for what is arguably the most coveted awards in the industry,
There are other awards that carry certain clout: Motor Trend’s awards are notable, but are decided only by the staff of Motor Trend, for example. The Texas Autowriters Association Truck of Texas award is no longer as regional as it once was due to an influx of out-of-Texas journalists, but it is still Texas-centric. On the other hand, the NACTOY awards, as they are known, are decided by 57 judges from all types of automotive media nationally.
The judging process is strenuous. First a long list is developed that includes all of the possible entrants — a vehicle must be new or dramatically revised to be included. From that list, jurors pick about a dozen. Their selections are sent to Deloitte &Touche, an accounting firm in Detroit.
Jurors then select the finalists in early December by dividing 25 points for cars and an equal number for trucks among the short list. They must use all the points, but from there they are on their own as to how they divide them (or not). Three truck and three car finalists are announced in Detroit later that month. Being a finalist is a big deal.
Then the final votes are taken — this time jurors have 10 votes in each category. Again, they must all be used but can be divided any way they wish. This year’s car and truck of the year will be announced at the auto show one week from today, January 12.
Finalists represent a diverse lot
For 2014, the car and truck of the year were the Corvette Stingray and the Chevy Silverado, making the folks at General Motors hugely happy. This year, only Ford can take both categories, but it is still anybody’s guess at this point.
Finalists for 2015 Car of the Year are: (alphabetically)
I have driven all but one and the reviews on this (which I won’t disclose) are exceptional.
Finalists for 2015 Truck of the year are:
I have driven all of these multiple times and they are all great for the intended purposes. That said, it has always been a pet peeve of mine that SUVs and CUVs are judged as trucks, leading to things like the Evoque being named Truck of the Year a few years ago. I reported it in one of my early posts for this column and took a lot of heat even though I accused those of you who complained as “shooting the messenger.” SUVs and CUVs really deserve their own category by now. Trucks should be pickups and cargo vehicles and they serve distinct functions which should be recognized. That is my rant for this piece, so don’t expect more.
Who would you choose?
In a brave (or foolhardy) move, autoblog.com asked its readers to name the finalist which will win the competition, and here are the results. A reminder: autoblog was just the messenger so please don’t shoot them.
Ford Mustang (61.4%), Hyundai Genesis (12%) Volkswagen Golf/TDI (26.6%)
Chevrolet Colorado (32.9%), Ford F-150 (60.4%), Lincoln MKC (6.8%)
Those results would make Ford the winner in both categories. We’ll know next Monday.