Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hyundai Genesis, Ford F-150 named top vehicles

Richard Truett
Automotive News
January 11, 2009

DETROIT -- The 2009 Hyundai Genesis today was named the North American Car of the Year by a panel of 50 of the nation's top automotive journalists. The redesigned 2009 Ford F-150 hauled away Truck of the Year honors

The Genesis defeated the Volkswagen Jetta TDI and Ford Flex. The F-150 came out on top over the redesigned Dodge Ram and Mercedes-Benz ML320 Bluetec.

The awards are given to the vehicles that get the most points by the panel of journalists. Each category had a total of 500 points this year, 10 points per judge.

"This award tells people that Hyundai maybe is a different car company than what they think," said John Krafcik, acting COO of Hyundai Motor America. "It signals that these guys have arrived."

The Genesis earned 189 points, just ahead of the Flex with 180 points. The Jetta TDI finished third with 131 points.

This was the third time Ford Motor Co.'s signature pickup truck has won the award. It also took the top honor in 1996 and 2004. This year, the F-150 took 259 points while the Ram garnered 167 and the ML320 Bluetec earned 74.

This year was the first time that two diesel-powered vehicles, the Jetta TDI and the ML320 Bluetec, made the list of finalists. It was also the first time a Korean vehicle, the Genesis, has been a finalist.

Voting started in September from a list of 14 new or substantially revamped cars and 12 new or redesigned pickups and SUVs. Cars that didn't make the final cut include the Dodge Challenger coupe, the Honda Fit and the Toyota Venza crossover. On the truck side, the Chevrolet Traverse, Volkswagen Tiguan and Subaru Forester didn't make the list of finalists.

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