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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The press preview days of the North American International Auto Show kicked off with the event’s version of the Oscars: the naming of the North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year.
Hyundai Elantra won the Car of the Year award, beating out the other finalists, the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Passat. The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque was named Truck of the Year, beating out the BMW X3, Honda CR-V.
The announcements were made Monday morning at Cobo Center in Detroit.
While it’s not an American branded car, Hyundai North America CEO John Krafcik said there is a Michigan connection.
“Well, it’s actually designed and styled in California with help from the … Michigan studio,” Krafcik told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Jeff Gilbert. “And a lot of the development work and some of the engine calibration work was done here in Michigan as well.”
Krafcik said this is a significant win for Hyundai.
“What’s great about this is the Elantra is right in the heart of our market. It’s in our sweet spot,” he said. “And to have that validation, for a car like this one, against great competitors like the Ford Focus, the Cruz, the Civic, the Corolla … it’s an amazingly competitive segment. To have this honor feels really good.”
Truck finalists were the BMW X3, Honda CR-V and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque. Fifty automotive journalists vote on the winning vehicles from a previously selected list of finalists annually. A vehicle must be all new or substantially changed to be eligible.
This is the 19th year for the awards. Organizers accept no advertising, although automakers capitalize on the marketing value of the honors.
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