North American Car & Truck of the Year winners

North American Car & Truck of the Yeare awards are unique because — instead of being given by a single publication, radio or television station — they are given by a jury of automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.

Last years “North American Car of the Year” was Ford Fusion Hybrid.2011_chevy_volt North American Car & Truck of the Year winners 2011 Detroit auto show (NAIAS) Alternative Fuels Alternative vehicles Auto industry news Car shows Manufacturers North American Car Truck of the Year (NACTOY) Technology

The Chevrolet Volt winning makes this the fourth time General Motors has won the North American Car of the Year. Most recently, the Chevrolet Malibu was the 2008 North American Car of the Year.

The Ford Explorer winning makes this the seventh time a Ford has been the “North American Truck of the Year.” Ford has dominated the truck category. Last year the Ford Transit Connect was the winner.

Here are some observations:

* Domestic automakers have won North American Car of the Year nine times. Japanese automakers have won three times. European automakers have won four times. A Korean automaker has won once.

* Domestic automakers have won North American Truck of the Year 11 times. Japanese automakers have won four times. European automakers have won twice.

The Grand Cherokee won in 1999 and the Dodge Ram won in 1994.

Nissan Altima won in 2002.

The Hyundai Genesis was the 2009 North American Car of the Year.

Four hybrids have been named North Ameican car or truck of the Year.

Here are the vehicles on which the jurors voted:

2011 North American Car of the Year

Audi A8

Buick Regal

Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet Volt –

Ford Fiesta

Hyundai Sonata/2.0T/Hybrid

Infiniti M37/56

Jaguar XJ

Kia Optima

Mazda Mazda2

Nissan Juke

Nissan Leaf

Volkswagen Jetta

Volvo S60

2011 North American Truck of the Year

Dodge Durango

Ford Edge

Ford Explorer

Honda Odyssey

Hyundai Tucson

Infiniti QX56

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Kia Sorento

Kia Sportage

Lincoln MKX

Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Porsche Cayenne

Toyota Sienna

Volkswagen Touareg

My thoughts on the  Chevy Volt winning North American Car of the Year

Lou Ann Hammond

North American Car of the Year: There are three cars nominated for the car of the year; Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Sonata. All good competitors. Hyundai Sonata gets the most bang for the fuel buck, and is stylish inside and out. The Volt and the Leaf have the most in common because they are both advanced technology that epitomize the political and economic sentiment of this year.

Congress is mired in partisanship and is too busy trying to keep their jobs to create an energy policy. Back in the ’70s we had gas rationing. Brazil had the same problem as we did with gasoline. Brazil created an energy policy and found a different energy source to compete against gasoline. Today Brazil is off the dependence of foreign oil.

According to the Foreign Trade division of the Census Bureau imported oil will cost the United States about 270 Billion dollars for 2010. Bob Tippee, editor of the Oil and Gas Journal, extrapolated the yearly refined motor gasoline from imported oil. Tippee estimates that we are paying 113 billion dollars for imported oil refined into motor gasoline for 2010. We still have no energy policy and no competition against oil, until today.

Our infrastructure is not ready for everyone to go full electric. Whether it is a case of reconfiguring circuit breakers so that hair dryers are not on the same circuit breaker as your EV, or rewiring your old house because you still have cloth wiring, or knowing that your reset button on your Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is in a completely different part of the house. One learns more about what they have taken for granted, and that many things need to be changed before we can have a mass market of electric vehicles.

With an electric vehicle, and range extender, we get to look at how energy is used in our house and how it is used nationally.

The best hybrid can give you fifty miles to the gallon. But you still need that gallon of gasoline, and it is climbing back up to $3.00 a gallon. You can charge these EVs for about $1.50 a charge in the comfort of your own garage.

You save money in your personal budget

You give gasoline a competition

You reduce the trade deficit by importing less oil.

You can take that money that stays in the United States and provide jobs to upgrade the energy  infrastructure and create new jobs around clean energy.

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has over compensated on their emission rating. At one time the EPA gave a tax credit to the manufacturer for a flex-fuel vehicle that most people used gasoline to run. But when it comes to the Volt the EPA would only look at the gasoline side of the equation, even though every customer that buys the Volt or Leaf will have access to electricity.

Another issue in some circles is the $7,500 tax credit that some consumers will have access to use on their taxes. A friend of mine’s signature on his email reads, fuel efficiency equals national security. National Security is supposed to be one of the primary uses of our taxes, according to our constitution.

When you drive a Chevy Volt or a Nissan Leaf it gives you a paradigm of thinking about you, your house, your budget, the energy infrastructure, the Nation’s debt. These two cars put theory into practice.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.