SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
The first official media day of the 2013 North American International Auto Show kicked off with the Cadillac ATS wining the Car of the Year Award and the Ram 1500 Truck of the Year.
The winners, selected from three finalists in each category, are chosen by a jury of 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.
In addition to the ATS, finalists for Car of the Year included the Honda Accord and the Ford Fusion. Finalists for Truck of the Year included the CX-5 and the C-Max in addition to the Ram 1500.
Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac, said the Car of the Year honor for the ATS is a major win for the brand.
“The recognition for the ATS as Car of the Year is validation of all the hard effort that the women and men of Cadillac and GM have put into this vehicle, built all-new from the ground up to take on the world’s best,” said Butler. “It’s just a testament to all the great work we are doing at Cadillac.”
Robert Hegbloom, director of Ram brand marketing, said the Truck of the Year Award caps off a big year for the company.
“To win the truck of the year in Texas, Motor Trend Truck of the Year and then this is incredible,” said. “If you go back, we started the program for this truck when we were at the lowest point in our company’s history. So here we were with our backs against the wall, but we focused on the vision of where we wanted to be and we delivered on it.”
The North American International Auto Show Car and Truck of the Year awards – now in their 20th year – are voted on by a group of automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada who represent magazines, television, radio, newspapers and web sites.
The awards are designed to recognize vehicles that are benchmarks in their segments based on factors including innovation, comfort, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
The 2013 award was the first win for Cadillac and the fifth car win for General Motors. The Cadillac CTS was a finalist in 2008.
It was the third truck win for Chrysler. The Dodge Ram 1500 won in 1994.
To be eligible for the car and truck of the year awards, a vehicle must be all new or substantially changed. The jurors considered dozens of new vehicles before sending their ballots to Michelle Collins, a partner at Deloitte & Touche early in December.
The 2013 North American International Auto Show is open to the public from Jan. 19 – 27.