2011 Ford Explorer (top); 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Click image to enlarge
Detroit, Michigan – A group of 49 prominent American and Canadian automotive journalists have voted the Chevrolet Volt 2011 North American Car of the Year and the Ford Explorer the 2011 North American Truck of the Year. The winners were revealed Monday morning at a news conference at the North American International Auto Show.
While hybrid vehicles have won North American Car of the Year four times in the 18 years that the awards have been given this was the first win for an extended range electric vehicle.
It is the fourth time General Motors has won the North American Car of the Year. Most recently, the Chevrolet Malibu was the 2008 North American Car of the Year.
It was the second year in a row that a Ford was named the North American Truck of the Year. Last year the winner was the Transit Connect. It is also the seventh time a Ford has been the “North American Truck of the Year,” a category it has dominated.
The Volt won with 233 points followed by the Hyundai Sonata with 163 and the Nissan Leaf electric with 94.
The Explorer won with 253 points while the Jeep had 138 and the Durango 99.
“The Volt seamlessly bridges the gulf between today’s liquid fueling infrastructure and the plugged-in electric future,” commented juror Lindsay Brooke of Automotive Engineering International.
Mark Phelan, the auto critic of The Detroit Free Press said the Explorer offers “class-leading fuel economy and technology and features you can’t get in luxury crossovers that cost twice as much.”
To be eligible 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.
On December 16th the three car and truck finalists were announced. But only Ms. Collins knew the winners until she handed over envelopes today to Karl Brauer of Edmunds.com, a member of the awards’ organizing committee. Mr. Brauer announced the winners.