The Chevrolet Malibu and the Mazda CX-9 have been
chosen car and truck of the year respectively at the North American
International Auto Show in Detroit.
The awards were presented Sunday on the first day of media
previews for the show. It opens to the public next Saturday.
It's the second major award for the CX-9 crossover, which was
named Motor Trend's 2008 sport utility of the year in October.
Mazda executive vice-president Robert Graziano says the CX-9 was
designed for North America and that this award ``is recognition that
the team delivered on the promise.''
General Motors' vice-chairman of product development Bob Lutz
says GM is rapidly trying to add more production capacity to keep up
with demand for the Malibu.
He says demand for the revamped Malibu has ``gone way beyond our
Four of the six finalists for the awards were GM products.
The Malibu, Cadillac CTS and Honda Accord were finalists for car
of the year, while the CX-9, the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Tahoe
Hybrid were finalists for truck of the year.
GM was a double winner in 2007, while Honda Motor Co. captured
both honors the year before.
To be considered for the coveted honour, which often is used in
automakers' advertising, vehicles must be new or substantially
changed from the previous model. More than 50 new vehicles were
eligible this year, but jurors winnowed that list to 15 cars and 13
The winners were selected by a jury of 46 automotive journalists
from the United States and Canada. Jurors consider a variety of
factors, including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver
satisfaction and value.
The North American honours have been given annually since 1994.