In a year when so many things have been tossed up in the air, one thing remains consistent: the 50 U.S. and Canadian journalists who are part of the North American Car and Truck of the Year, or NACTOY, jury, will have plenty of new products to evaluate before announcing three winners next January.
A total of 36 new products were included on the list of eligible models on Tuesday, a broad mix of American, Asian and European cars, trucks and utility vehicles. If anything, jurors will likely have to amend the list to take on other models, however, as manufacturers struggling to deal with coronavirus pandemic adjust product launch schedules.
“Product introductions have slowed for a while, but that will change during the second half of the year as automakers release a large number of important new cars, SUVs and trucks,” said NACTOY President Gary Witzenburg. “Our jurors will be very busy over the coming months as they work to drive and evaluate all of these new models.”
During a webinar hosted by the Automotive Press Association, Witzenburg hinted he knows of at least four other products that could yet qualify for NACTOY juror consideration. And there could be more in the works from some industry newcomers. That includes Lordstown Motors, the start-up hoping to start building an all-new battery-electric pickup at the old General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio later this year.
Currently, 10 passenger vehicles are competing in the “Car” category, a relatively modest number reflecting not only the pandemic but the ongoing shift away from sedans and coupes to SUVs, CUVs and pickups.
Another 23 models fall into the “Utility” category, reflecting its rapid growth. Meanwhile, just three new pickups will compete in the “Truck” category, meaning all will move on to become finalists should no additional models come to market by year-end.
Jurors have already begun evaluating many of the products and will take part in a series of votes later this year, eventually paring things down to three finalists in each category. A last vote in January will result in three winners to be announced at the TCF Center in Detroit next January at an event co-sponsored by the North American International Auto Show.
Here are the initial candidates:
Car of the Year
|2021||BMW||330e and 330e xDrive|
|2021||BMW||430i, 430i xDrive and M440i xDrive|
|2021||Hyundai||Elantra family (includes N Line and HEV)|
|2021||Mercedes-Benz||E Class Sedan, All-Terrain, Coupe, Cabriolet|
Utility of the Year
|2021||BMW||X3 xDrive30e and xDrive45e|
|2021||Ford||Mustang Mach E|
|2020||Land Rover||Defender 90 and 110|
|2020||Lincoln||Corsair Grand Touring|
|2020||Volkswagen||Atlas Cross Sport|
|2021||Volvo||XC40 P8 Recharge|
Truck of the Year