With the start of 2011, comes the announcement of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACOTY). Each January, a group of automotive journalists from an array of publications come together to select the most outstanding vehicles of the year. The votes are now in and for the first time in the award’s eighteen-year history, all of the finalists in the car category – the Chevy Volt, the Hyundai Sonata and the Nissan Leaf, are at least part electric. The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid, the Hyundai Sonata is a hybrid and the Leaf is 100% electric.
The NACOTY award goes to a vehicle that is either new or has been substantially changed from its prior model. The panel of judges assesses the vehicles based on innovation, performance, safety and driver satisfaction. Another key requirement is that the vehicle has projected annual sales of at least 5,000 units in North America.
This year’s finalists demonstrate that the future of eco-friendly cars is bright and that hybrids continue to gain acceptance. The winners of the North American Car and Truck of the Year will be announced at the North American International Auto Show on January 10th.