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Posts Tagged ‘nactoy’

Tony Swan, Dean of Automotive Journalists, Dead at 78

“Drive fast. Take chances.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.28, 2018

For some, the love of things that go "vroom" starts at a very young age.

I’d expected to see Tony Swan looking frail and subdued. He had, after all, just gone through the latest in a seemingly endless series of chemotherapy sessions, never mind surgeries. But things were as lively as ever at the Ypsilanti home he shared with wife Mary Seelhorst as I arrived for the annual holiday party. No question, Tony had been to hell, but he was back, and he had transformed the detritus of his chemo treatments, bags, tubes, rack and all, into a mad take on a Christmas tree.

Whether on track or behind the keyboard, Tony Swan maintained a zest for life and a passion for automobiles in every shape and form until almost the very moment he passed on last night. Indeed, he had gone on several media events over the last couple months, and attended a nearby Concours just a few weeks ago.

The Last Word!

“Drive fast. Take chances.” It was a clever coin of a phrase, but it was also one Tony lived by. Given the chance to do just one thing with his life, he’d probably have chosen racing, he would admit on occasion. Even after age and illness made it increasingly difficult to maintain the pace of his addiction he continued on a slower scale, partnering with friends and former colleagues on the LeMons circuit, championing vehicles that wouldn’t even have qualified for rent-a-wreck status.

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GM, VW Lead Pack in Battle for North American Car, Truck, Utility Vehicle of the Year Honors

But U.S. brands go empty-handed in passenger-car category.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.06, 2017

The Chevrolet Equinox is one of five GM models up for NACTOY awards - but none in the Car category.

General Motors and Volkswagen dominate this year’s first cut as members of the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year jury get down to comparing the dozens of new models coming to market through the end of 2017.

But while Detroit’s Big Three have a strong representation, overall, in the three categories jurors will consider, the big surprise is that there’s not a single piece of Motown sheet metal in the passenger car category. Asian and European manufacturers will have to shoot things out there. All told, Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will have nine entries in the truck and utility categories.

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The Big Picture!

That’s no surprise, perhaps, considering current market trends, light trucks – including pickups, vans and utility vehicles – accounting for nearly two-thirds of U.S. new vehicle sales. FCA going so far as to halt production of all passenger car models in the United States.

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New Trophy in Store for NACTOY Winners

Distinctive new award designed by retired GM styling chief Ed Welburn.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.06, 2016

Ed Welburn displays the new trophy to be given to the 2017 North American Car and Truck of the Year winners.

New year, new category and new trophy.

It’s a big year for the North American Car and Truck of the Year. One of the most highly regarded among a slew of best-of awards handed out each year, NACTOY will not only be adding a third category for 2017 but giving winners an entirely new trophy.

Award News!

The statue, depicting an exotic concept vehicle is based on a design developed by recently retired General Motors Global Design Director Ed Welburn. It will be presented as part of the opening ceremonies at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Jan. 9, 2017. (more…)

GM, Hyundai/Kia Take Lead as NACTOY Narrows List of Year’s Best

Annual awards add third category for utility vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.27, 2016

The new Genesis G90 is one of four semifinalists from Hyundai and Korean sibling Kia.

It’s been a busy year for the auto industry, with scores of new cars, trucks and utility vehicles making their debut. And that’s kept the 60 jurors from the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year equally busy.

Of the 44 eligible 2017 models, they’ve taken a first cut, narrowing the field down to 29 semifinalists that, for the first time, fall into three separate categories. For the coming model-year, the NACTOY jurors will be selecting winners in three separate categories: Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle.

Award Winner!

The initial cut includes a wide variety of Asian, American and European brands, but two manufacturers stand out, General Motors leading the list with a total of seven nominees, the Hyundai/Kia Motor Group close behind with four separate semifinalists.

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NACTOY Jurors Get First Run at Year’s Best New Cars, Trucks and SUVs

New SUV category added for 2017.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jul.06, 2016

The new Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible is one of the most expensive models to ever qualify for the NACTOY ballot.

American motorists have been delivered a bumper crop of new products this year, and that will make for a challenging assignment for the 60 automotive journalists who make up the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year jury.

The group of Canadian and American auto writers will have to sort out the very best from a first group of 43 eligible new vehicles covering virtually every possible section of the market. This year’s group includes entry-level offerings, like the Mitsubishi Mirage, all the way up to some of the market’s most expensive and exclusive models, including the Rolls-Royce Dawn.

Award Season Begins!

For only the second time since the NACTOY awards were first launched in 1994, a new category is being added, the winner of the first-time utility-vehicle award set to be announced, along with the top car and truck choices, at the Detroit Auto Show on January 9, 2017.

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NACTOY Adds Third Award

Numerous changes with premier annual car/truck awards.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jun.21, 2016

The Range Rover Evoque won the Truck of the Year Award in 2012; however, SUVs will now have their own honor at the Detroit Auto Show.

After more than 20 years, the North American Car and Truck awards will be going through some big changes this year, including the addition of a third award to be presented during the opening ceremony of the Detroit Auto Show next January.

The addition of an award for the best SUV reflects one of the biggest changes to sweep through the U.S. auto industry in decades. Light trucks, in general, now account for about 60% of the American new vehicle market, utility vehicles accounting for the lion’s share of that growth.

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“SUVs’ booming popularity is changing the auto industry,” said Mark Phelan, NACTOY president. “Customers use SUVs for everything from work to family transportation to off-road recreation. The NACTOY jury recognizes that with the new award.” (more…)

North American Car, Truck of Year Finalists Announced

Big Three only gets one nominee this year.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.08, 2015

The 2016 Nissan Titan XD will come in five grades, including this Pro 4X version. It's also a finalist for North American Truck of the Year.

Three cars and three trucks have been named finalists in the North American Car and Truck of the Year competition, which will culminate in an announcement of the winners in both categories at the opening of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The finalists for the car of the year are the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, Mazda MX-5 Miata and Honda Civic, while the list of truck and utility vehicles nominees include the Volvo XC90, Nissan Titan XD and Honda Pilot.

Breaking News!

Lindsay Brooke, one of the 53 NACTOY jurors who presented the nominees during a luncheon hosted by the Detroit’s Automotive Press Association, said the challenge for this year’s jurors was the large number of new vehicles that debuted during 2016. Forty-nine new vehicles made their debut during the year. (more…)

Ford Grabs Three Slots for North American Car/Truck of the Year Finalists

VW, Chevrolet and Hyundai also up for honors.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.09, 2014

The 2015 Ford F-150 is looking for a little redemption by taking top honors in the truck of the year voting.

Ford Motor Co. could be the company to beat in an otherwise hotly competitive automotive race. The Detroit maker landed three of the six eagerly coveted spots as the finalists for 2015 North American Car and Truck/Utility were announced today.

But Ford will face some tough competition from Chevrolet, Hyundai and Volkswagen, the other brands to be named finalists.

Your Source for Auto Show News!

The finalists were chosen by a panel of 57 jurors, all automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. The same group will now select the winners, with the trophies set to be handed out next month at the North American International Auto Show. (more…)

Mazda2 Wins Japan Car of the Year Honors

Second Mazda victory in three years.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.13, 2014

The Mazda2 gets a nod from Japanese jurors.

The annual awards season is getting off to a big start for Mazda, its little Mazda2 model winning honors as the 2014-2015 Japan Car of the Year.

It was the Japanese maker’s second win in the JCoTY competition in three years – and follows the first-ever victory by a foreign maker, Volkswagen winning last year with the latest-generation Golf line.

A Real Winner!

“We are both honored and grateful that the Mazda Demio has received such a prestigious award,” said Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai, referring to the car by its name on the Japanese market. “We will continue our quest to build cars that add a certain sparkle to the lives of their owners, and aim to become the one-and-only brand chosen by customers again and again.”

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NACTOY Jurors Make First Cut for Car, Truck of the Year

U.S., Japanese makers land equal numbers on “short list.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.23, 2014

Ford hopes to smoke the competition with the 2015, 50th anniversary remake of the Mustang.

With most of the new 2015 models now in showrooms, and the stragglers soon set to follow, the nearly 60 journalists on the North American Car and Truck jury are beginning to weigh all the options in the hunt for the top products of the year.

Members of the group – which includes this author – were asked to weigh in on dozens of new offerings, from the little Honda Fit to the full-size Ford F-150 in the first of a three-part voting process that will wrap up in time for the annual Detroit Auto Show next January.

Be a Winner!

The jurors have culled the original list down to a much more manageable 10 cars and a dozen trucks and utility vehicles. That includes two U.S, three European, three Japanese and two Korean passenger car models. Domestics dominate the truck list, however, with five separate entries, including the Ford F-150 and GM’s new midsize pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. The Japanese have four, with European makers landing three models on the truck/utility list.

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