General Motors Company’s 2013 Cadillac ATS has been selected as the Car of the Year award, and Chrysler Group LLC has been awarded the Truck of the Year award for its Ram 1500 pickup. The awards were presented to the two Detroit automakers during the opening ceremonies of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
In accepting the Truck of the Year award, Ram’s general manager Fred Diaz said, “I need someone to come up here and pinch me to make sure that has really happened.” He went on to say that the award is all the more amazing considering how close the automaker came to being completely dissolved just a few years ago. The same is true of General Motors, which also underwent its own federally mandated bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.
In the 20-year history of the North American Car and Truck of the year awards, Cadillac had only been nominated once before, and had never taken home an award. ATS chief engineer Dave Leone said, “When you consider Cadillac’s effort to reestablish itself as the ‘standard of the world,’ this is an important moment.” This year marks the second time Chrysler has been honored with the Truck of the Year award. The previous win was also for the 1500 pickup, when Ram was part of the automaker’s now-defunct Dodge division.
This was the first year that the Truck competition included both conventional light trucks and utility vehicles. The three finalists for the award included the Ram 1500 pickup, and Mazda CX-5 and Ford C-Max utility vehicles.
Finalists for the Car of the Year honor included the Cadillac CTS, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion. Ford has been a perennial favorite at the awards and claimed both the Car of the Year and Truck of the Year awards in 2010 for the Fusion Hybrid and Transit Connect.
Voting for this year’s awards was a distinguished panel of 49 jurors from the U.S. and Canada. The field of three Car of the Year and three Truck of the Year finalists was selected from more than 50 vehicles.
In the award’s two-decade long history, Detroit’s Big Three automakers have taken home 11 Car of the Year awards and 13 Truck of the Year awards.