Ann Arbor, Michigan – Automobile Magazine has named the Nissan GT-R as its 2009 “Automobile of the Year”. The U.S.-based magazine also named the Audi A5 as “Design of the Year”, Honda president and CEO Takeo Fukui “Man of the Year”, and direct fuel injection as “Technology of the Year”.
The winners will be featured in the magazine’s January 2009 issue.
The editors noted that while the Nissan GT-R “rides like a subway car, sounds like an appliance and weighs a ton,” it deserved the title for delivering high-intensity fun and astonishing performance. “For decades, previous versions of the GT-R were never exported to the United States,” said editor-in-chief Jean Jennings. “Now we know what we’ve been missing, and are we happy to be invited to the party. What we love about the GT-R is that it refuses to compromise. It is not comfortable, it is not trying to make friends and it is not trying to influence people. It exists for one reason only, to go fast, and it does.”
The editors said that they were initially skeptical of Volkswagen Group design chief Walter de Silva’s assertion that the Audi A5 was his best-ever design, but on seeing it on the road, the editors said they fully appreciated the quality of the total design.
Takeo Fukui was named for maintaining a diverse model mix, especially in the small-car arena, and successfully positioning itself for the current marketplace in a year of challenging fuel prices and financial meltdowns. Editors noted that Fukui is looking ahead to future technologies; under him, the company developed a well-regarded diesel engine in Europe, and is the only automaker to have put fuel cell cars into the hands of paying customers.
Direct injection was named as a technology that is key to keeping internal combustion engine relevant in the future, and even extending the lives of at least another decade or two. The editors said that it enables a major step forward in gasoline and diesel engine power, efficiency and cleanliness.