The 2015 North American International Auto Show got off to a surprising start in Detroit. Ford Motor Co., which many expected to sweep the 2015 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards, won Truck of the Year for its all-new F-150. The Volkswagen Golf/GTI beat out the Ford Mustang and Hyundai Genesis for Car of the Year.
“It’s a competitive set when you look at the Golf, and the Genesis and the Mustang” said Ford President of the Americas Joe Hinrichs following the announcement at Cobo Center. “We knew it was going to be a very competitive competition. We recognize and salute the Golf for winning.”
Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn said he was “pleasantly surprised” that the compact Golf, starting at $18,000, won the award.
Prior to the announcement, some jurors expected the Mustang to win because of the iconic pony car’s reputation, all-new redesign for 2015 and its importance to the Dearborn automaker. Plus, the awards have traditionally favored Detroit automakers.
“I had predicted a Ford sweep,” said AutoTrader.com senior analyst and juror Michelle Krebs. “I expected if there was a wild card in it, it would be on the truck side. The Volkswagen Golf is a terrific car.”
Before this year, domestic automakers had won the car award 12 times and foreign automakers have won nine times. Domestics had won the truck/utility award 14 times and foreign automakers have won seven times.
On the truck side, the F-150 beat out the Lincoln MKC, also a Ford product, and the Chevrolet Colorado, which some thought might give Ford a run for its money after winning Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year award.
“For us, making trucks is what’s in our DNA,” Hinrichs said while accepting the truck award. The F-150 has won the award three previous times — 1996, 2004 and 2009.
After not having a finalist for the 2014 awards, Ford represented three of the six finalists announced
Both awards are intended to recognize a car and truck that set new benchmarks in the classes in which they compete. A jury of 57 journalists from the U.S. and Canada evaluate dozens of vehicles on factors including value for the dollar, innovation, handling, performance, safety, and driver satisfaction.
To be eligible for the awards, a vehicle must have been “substantially changed from the previous model and must go on sale shortly after the announcement of the award.”
Chevrolet swept the 2014 awards for General Motors Co. with the Corvette and Silverado.
Detroit automakers have swept both awards eight times — 1995, 1996, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 — since the awards started more than 20 years ago.