The six finalists were selected by an independent jury of 48 automotive journalists from 11 cars and 12 truck and utility vehicles. To be eligible, a vehicle must be redesigned or substantially changed and be introduced during 2013.
Six automakers had multiple nominees, led by General Motors with six: the Cadillac CTS, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Impala and Silverado, GMC Sierra and Buick Encore. Hyundai-Kia and Toyota Motor Sales each had three: the Kia Cadenza and Sorento, and the Hyundai Santa Fe LWB, and the Toyota Corolla and Tundra and Lexus IS.
The others are Nissan North America’s Nissan Rogue and Infiniti Q50; BMW’s 4 Series and X5; Jaguar-Land Rover’s Jaguar F-Type and Land Rover Range Rover Sport, and the Mazda3 and 6.
The other contenders: American Honda’s Acura MDX, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Chrysler Group’s Jeep Cherokee and the Subaru Forester.
In 2013, the Cadillac ATS was the North American Car of the Year and the Ram 1500 was the North American Truck of the Year.
Since 1994 when the award was created, 14 automakers have captured at least one title. Ford and GM vehicles have the most victories, with eight. The other multiple winners: Chrysler, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Hyundai.
The judging panel includes Edward Lapham, retired executive editor of Automotive News. To maximize their independence, the jurors pay dues 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 a short list. Jurors must pay $150 in annual dues to be eligible.
In early December, the jurors vote again, this year on 11 cars and 12 truck/utility vehicles. 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 as finalists today, the jurors will vote again, this time with 10 points to allocate in each category.