Winning automakers tout car, truck awards

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 18, 2016

 The 2016 Honda Civic was named North American Car of the Year.

The 2016 Honda Civic was named North American Car of the Year.

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The winning vehicles from the 2016 North American Car & Truck/Utility of the Year Awards could receive additional publicity and prestige when they appear on the dealership floor, according to some automotive industry insiders.

Those awards — which were based on North American journalists’ opinions — were announced Jan. 11 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. 

The 2016 North American Car of the Year distinction went to the Honda Civic. Other finalists in that category were the Chevrolet Malibu and the Mazda MX-5 Miata. 

That same day, John Mendel, executive vice president at American Honda Motor Co. Inc., said the Civic won the same award 10 years ago, in 2006. During a presentation, he called the new Civic “the most ambitious remake in the 43-year history of our top-selling vehicle globally.”

The 2016 North American Truck/Utility of the Year title went to the Volvo XC90, which beat two other finalists, the Honda Pilot and the Nissan Titan XD. 

Jim Nichols, product and technology communications manager for Volvo Car USA, said the truck/utility field is a very competitive segment that fits a wide definition. He said the XC90 stands out for its engine, its horsepower and a center touch screen that is “being lauded as one of the best-designed infotainment systems on the market right now.”

“It really kind of represents a new benchmark for large SUVs, both in the United States and in the world,” he said. 

Nichols explained that the XC90 also won the North American award in 2003, and the latest win has already been positive and has brought a sense of validation.

“What it does is it introduces the vehicle to people who may have not considered a Volvo in the past,” he added.

According to the auto show, 53 American and Canadian journalists were involved in the decisions, which are based on factors such as comfort, design, safety and value.

In 2015, the Volkswagen Golf took the top car title, and the Ford F-150 was ranked best truck or utility vehicle.

As to whether awards affect sales, Chevrolet communications spokesman Monte Doran said the Chevrolet Camaro and the Chevrolet Colorado each won Motor Trend’s 2016 car and truck of the year awards, respectively, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. 

But Doran said he thinks that “it’s too soon to tell” what kind of impact the Motor Trend awards have made on sales since he said the Camaro and Colorado started shipping in the last couple of months.

 “It raises the awareness and the consumer consideration for these cars,” he said. “It gives customers a sense that these are really, truly significant cars that they should take a look at. 

“So I think what you’ll find is, without question, the award has helped drive interest and drive customers to the website and, I think, also to the showroom floor because they want to find out more about it.” 

Learn more about the North American Car & Truck/Utility of the Year Awards by visiting www.northamericancaroftheyear.org.

 

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