Although the domestic auto season is not yet upon us, the picture for the 2014 model year is well established, with many models already on sale at dealerships. Likewise, the jurors of the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards are already in the thick of their new vehicle evaluations, and they’ve culled down their “long list” of nominees down to a tighter list of candidates. Whereas the long list essentially represents all new vehicles that are expected to launch in a given year, the “short list” below is a more focused look at what the self-funded, independent, non-profit jury of 50 North American auto writers feel is worth closer consideration.
This year’s NACTOY short list is composed of 12 cars and 12 truck and utility vehicles, with the latter category once again including crossovers. The list of Car of the Year candidates covers a broad bandwidth of segments, from sporty coupes (BMW 4 Series, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray) and convertibles (Jaguar F-Type) to bread-and-butter offerings like the Chevrolet Impala, Mazda3, Mazda6 and Toyota Corolla. Vying for the Truck/Utility award is everything from the tiny Buick Encore to honking full-size pickups like the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, along with luxury CUVs like the BMW X5 and Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
2014 North American Car of the Year short list:
BMW 4 Series
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
2014 North American Truck/Utility of the Year short list:
Hyundai Santa Fe LWB
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Footnote – Who Is NACTOY?
The North American Car and Truck of the Year, NACTOY awards is composed of no more than 50 automotive journalists, the jury – writers and broadcasters from across the U.S. and Canada, most of whom have covered the auto industry for decades. Operating expenses are defrayed by membership dues — there are no outside subsidies — and the voting of the jury is made public. They cannot be bought over by any automaker to showcase its product and their results are not sold to any automaker for marketing purposes.
First given in 1994, the NACTOY awards were patterned on the “Car of the Year,” which for decades has been the most prestigious automotive award in Europe. The goal is to select a car and a truck that set new benchmarks in the classes in which they compete. Jurors evaluate the vehicles on factors including value for the dollar, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction.
To be eligible, a vehicle must have been substantially changed from the previous model and must go on sale shortly after the announcement of the award, which is early in January.
Cars must have reasonably foreseeable annual sales in North America of 5,000 vehicles.
Trucks must have reasonably foreseeable annual sales in North America of 2,000 vehicles.
Voting takes place early December. The three finalist vehicles in each category are announced in mid-December, and the winners are unveiled at the outset of the annual North American International Automobile Show in Detroit.
In 2007 news about the awards was broadcast on 280 stations in 140 markets, and was seen by 17.3 million viewers. The awards were also the subject of thousands of news articles published around the world.