2012 North American Car/Truck of the Year Finalists Chosen

DETROIT, Michigan, December 16, 2011 (ENS) – A coalition of 50 automotive journalists has selected the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat as the finalists for the 2012 North American Car of the Year.

All three finalists are highly fuel efficient cars.

The 2012 Ford Focus, with its 2.0 liter engine, has a projected fuel economy of up to 40 miles per gallon.

The Hyundai Elantra gets 40 mpg on the highway with its 148-hp 1.8 liter motor, while the Volkswagen Passat’s 2.5 liter turbodiesel gets 34.3 mpg.

The three finalists for the 2012 North American Truck of the Year are the BMW X3, a “sports activity vehicle” that gets 25 mpg; the Honda CR-V, a compact sport utility vehicle with mileage of 31 mpg on the highway; and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, an SUV that gets 28 highway mpg.

The finalists were revealed Thursday at an Automotive Press Association luncheon in Detroit.

Last year the 2011 North American Car of the Year was the Chevrolet Volt and the 2011 North American Truck of the Year was the Ford Explorer.

2012 Hyundai Elantra (Photo courtesy Hyundai)

This is the 19th year of the awards, which are unique in the United States. Rather than being given by a single media outlet, as many automotive awards are, they are awarded by a coalition of automotive journalists from the United States and Canada representing magazines, television, radio, newspapers and websites.

The awards are financed by the jurors’ dues and North American Car/Truck of the Year does not accept advertising from automakers. To be eligible a vehicle must be all new or substantially changed. After considering dozens of vehicles this year the jurors voted on 17 cars and seven trucks.

Earlier this month jurors sent their ballots to Michelle Collins, a partner at Deloitte & Touche, LLP. Today Collins handed over envelopes containing the names of the finalists to Karl Brauer, a member of the awards’ organizing committee and the editor-in-chief for Total Car Score, a system for finding the best car to buy.

Now a second round of voting on the three car and three truck finalists begins. Those ballots also go to Collins. She will be the only one who knows the winners until she hands over the envelopes at 7:15 am, January 9 at Cobo Hall in Detroit for the first announcement to be made on the first press day of the North American International Auto Show, NAIAS.

Some 35 press conferences will be presented over the two press days by official NAIAS exhibitors, manufacturers and automotive suppliers from around the world.

More than 40 vehicle introductions are anticipated, most of which are worldwide unveilings. “This is an amazing line-up of press events and announcements that will absolutely rock the automotive industry,” said Bill Perkins, chairman, NAIAS 2012.

“We have listened to the feedback from journalists all over the world, as well as our manufacturer partners and the Tier One suppliers that sponsor the NAIAS, and have returned to a two-day schedule packed with worldwide and North American vehicle introductions on both days,” said Perkins. “This show will educate, entertain and astonish.”

Each of the press conferences will take place at the newly-expanded Cobo Center and adjacent Joe Louis Arena, which is being utilized as Cobo Center is under renovation.

The Michelin Media Center will once again be headquarters for the more than 5,000 credentialed journalists from around the world covering the North American International Auto Show. Sponsored by Michelin North America, the 22,000 square-foot center is located on the third level of the Cobo Center Concourse.

“As show organizers,” said Perkins, “we take great pride in annually providing an international stage and attracting an impressive media audience so global automakers can unveil spectacular vehicles and technology for maximum news impact.”

He said the two-day schedule was made possible by the early commitments of Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Toyota, which all committed to press announcements and worldwide reveals on both press days.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2011. All rights reserved.