December 17, 2002
North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists announced
Detroit, Michigan – The finalists for the 2003 North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards were announced on December 13th. The finalists in the Car category include the Mini Cooper, the Infiniti G35 and the Nissan 350Z; finalists for the Truck category include the Honda Element, Hummer H2, Nissan Murano and Volvo XC90.
The awards are given by 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada representing newspapers, magazines and the electronic media.
At the news conference Richard Gabrys, the vice chairman of the accounting and consulting firm of Deloitte & Touche, handed over sealed envelopes containing the names of the finalists to Michelle Krebs, an automotive journalist and member of the organizing committee for the awards.
While Mr. Gabrys released the names of the vehicles receiving the most points, only Mr. Gabrys knows the winners.
The winners will be announced at a press conference at 10:45 a.m. Sunday, January 5th at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit. While the awards are announced at the international show, the show is not otherwise involved.
The jury of journalists voted on Dec. 9th, sending their ballots directly to Deloitte. Normally, there are three finalists in each category. However, this year two of the truck nominees tied, resulting in four truck finalists, said Mr. Gabrys. It is the first time there has been a tie.
Established in 1994, the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards honor vehicles that set new standards or become new benchmarks in their class.
Each vehicle is judged on items including: general design; safety; fuel economy; handling and general roadworthiness; performance; comfort; assembly quality; functionality; technical innovation; driver satisfaction; and price. Jurors also consider value for the dollar and affordability so that the awards are meaningful to the largest possible number of consumers.
To be eligible a vehicle must be “substantially new.” While several dozen vehicles were technically eligible for each award in the fall, the jury selected 12 car nominees and 13 truck nominees that were considered to be significant enough for the final vote.
The North American Car of the Year nominees were: BMW 7 Series; Honda Accord; Honda Civic Hybrid; Infiniti G35; Mazda 6; Mercedes-Benz E-Class; Mini Cooper, Cooper S; Nissan 350Z; Pontiac Vibe; Saab 9-3; Saturn Ion; and Toyota Matrix.
The North American Truck of the Year nominees were: Ford Expedition; Honda Element; Honda Pilot; HUMMER H2; Kia Sorento; Land Rover Range Rover; Lexus GX470; Lincoln Aviator; Mitsubishi Outlander; Nissan Murano; Subaru Baja; Toyota 4Runner; and Volvo XC90.