The changing face of the American car market has been highlighted through the announcement of six finalists for the 2009 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards, including two diesel-powered vehicles and, for the very first time, a Korean automaker. Car of the Year hopefuls include the Ford Flex, Hyundai Genesis (pictured) and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, while the Dodge Ram, Ford F-150 and the Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTEC round out the choices for Truck of the Year. The winner in each category will be announced on January 11th at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards recognize the most outstanding vehicles based on innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value. To be eligible, vehicles must be considered "all new" or "substantially changed". Fifty automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada serve as judges every year, representing a variety of print, broadcast and electronic media. Overall, more than 50 vehicles were considered. Out of that initial pool, 14 cars and 11 trucks earned semi-finalist status.