The Ford Mustang, Hyundai Genesis and the Volkswagen Golf were named finalists for North American Car of the Year, while the Lincoln MKC, Ford F-150 and the Chevy Colorado were named truck/utility finalists.
The 2015 North American Car and Truck of the Year will be announced Jan. 12 during a press conference before the Detroit auto show press days. The finalists were named at an Automotive Press Association luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club.
Award organizers noted the VW Golf finalist includes three models: the TSI, TDI, and GTI.
They were selected from short lists of 10 cars and 12 truck and sport utility vehicles by an independent jury of 57 automotive journalists. To be eligible, a vehicle must be redesigned or substantially changed and be introduced in 2014.
The other cars on the short list were the Acura TLX, Audi A3, Chrysler 200, Honda Fit, Hyundai Sonata, Mercedes-Benz C class and Toyota Camry.
The other trucks on the short list were the Audi Q3, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Canyon, Lexus NX, Mercedes-Benz GLA class, Nissan Murano, Porsche Macan, Subaru Outback and Toyota Highlander.
In 2014, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was the North American Car of the Year, and the Chevrolet Silverado was the North American Truck of the Year.
Since 1994, when the award was created, 14 automakers have captured at least one title. GM vehicles have the most victories, with 10, and Ford has nine. The other multiple winners: Chrysler, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Hyundai.
The judging panel includes Richard Truett, engineering and technology reporter for Automotive News. To maximize their independence, the jurors pay annual dues of $150 to underwrite the costs of the annual competition.
The vehicles are judged on multiple factors, including innovation, design, safety, handling, comfort, value and driver satisfaction.
The competition is a three-stage process, with each vote being tallied by accounting firm Deloitte and Touche.
In early fall, the jurors view all eligible vehicles and vote for a dozen or so they believe deserve a further look, creating short lists.
In early December, the jurors vote on the vehicles on the short lists. Each juror has 25 points to allocate to cars and 25 to trucks, awarding all points among the entries and no more than 10 to any one vehicle.
With the three cars and three trucks named finalists, the jurors will vote again, this time with 10 points to allocate in each category.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen