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The 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year finalist announced

Each year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the North American Car and Truck of the Year are announced and today, the top three finalists for each award were announced.

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Running for the North American Car of the Year, we have the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata and the 2011 Nissan Leaf. Should the Sonata win, it will be Hyundai’s second win, having won the 2009 NACOTY with the Hyundai Genesis. If the electric Nissan Leaf win, it will be the first electric car to claim the top honors and the second time that Nissan has won the award. This first North American Car of the Year was in 2002 when the Nissan Altima won. Should the extended-range electric Chevy Volt win, it will be the first time for this type of car to win and it will be GM’s 4th award – the last being the Chevy Malibu in 2008. Last year, the top car honors went to the 2010 Ford Fusion.

From the truck class, we have a trio of American sport utility vehicles with the 2011 Dodge Durango, 2011 Ford Explorer and 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee battling it out for the major award. Last year, the Ford Transit Connect took the honors from the truck class so for the second year in a row, a truck isn’t going to win North American Truck of the Year….and some people insist that SUVs are dead? Should the new Durango win, it will be Dodge’s second win (the 1994 Dodge Ram was their previous winner) and should the Jeep Grand Cherokee win, it will be the second time the Grand Cherokee has won the away, having previously won in 1999. Should the redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer take home the top honors for the trucks, this will be Ford’s second NATOTY in a row.

These 6 finalists were selected from two groups of 14, one for the trucks/SUVs and one for the cars and a panel of 49 automotive journalists, helping to decide on the awards for the 18th year. The winners will be announced on January 10th, 2011 at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show and will be there, bringing you every aspect of the North American International Auto Show!

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