Chevy Volt Motor Trend Car of the Year

Motor Trend has selected the Chevy Volt as its 2011 Car of the Year. Keeping with a trend common in automotive awards, the magazine has selected a car not yet available to the public for purchase. And, it has managed to select a car that has limited availability, too. When it rolls out in December, Chevrolet will only launch Volt in seven markets, in limited quantities: California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Chevy Volt a 'Significant Vehicle'

According to the Detroit News, Motor Trend editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie said the Volt — the $41,000 extended-range, plug-in car with a backup gasoline engine — is one of the most significant vehicles to receive the prestigious award in the 61 years it has been handed out.

Of course, there is ongoing debate on how prestigious an award this is because there has been grumbling by PR executives that the presentation of the award can be tied into a manufacturer's marketing budget. That could explain why the car of the year tends to be from larger manufacturers with more money to spend.

Recent past winners include:

  • 2010 Ford Fusion
  • 2009 Nissan GT-R
  • 2008 Cadillac CTS
  • 2007 Toyota Camry
  • 2006 Honda Civic
  • 2005 Chrysler 300
  • 2004 Toyota Prius
  • 2003 Infiniti G35
  • 2002 Ford Thunderbird
  • 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser
  • 2000 Lincoln LS

Famous past winners (tongue firmly planted in cheek) include the Plymouth K Car, the Chevrolet Caprice Classic (there was nothing classic about it), the AMC/Renault Alliance (which forever turned Americans off to French cars) and the Chevrolet Citation. Frankly, not a good car in the bunch.

We weighed in on the Volt with a report showing that it is facing lots of criticism before it even comes to market. Chevrolet has cut back sales expectations to 20,000 from what was once rumored to be in 100,000 in annual sales.

By the way, more significantly, Green Car Reports has selected the Nissan Leaf as its Car of the Year. It is, as the article points out, the only mass-produced electric car on the market. Tesla is all-electric, too, but sold in limited numbers. The Nissan Leaf is more the Car of the Year than the Volt, which some call a hybrid.

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