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GM scores prestigious win

Wes Corbett (left) and Simon Chrisman are Bainbridge musicians. - Courtesy of Norm Johnson
Wes Corbett (left) and Simon Chrisman are Bainbridge musicians.
— image credit: Courtesy of Norm Johnson

Auto writers name car and truck of the year

Every year before the first cloths are pulled off new production and concept cars, before any new vehicles debut, but after the first round (or two) of coffee has been served, the North American International Auto Show begins by unveiling its winners of the North American Car and Truck of the Year. As far as awards go, this one’s pretty important given the volume of the North American sales market.

One of the biggest surprises was the verdict on Car of the Year. Jurors chose Saturn’s midsize Aura sedan, ranking it first with 205 out of the 490 total points, beating out its chief rival, the popular midsize Toyota Camry. The Aura also faced stiff competition from Honda’s economical and very clever Fit. “We’re extremely pleased that the Aura has been named the North American Car of the Year,” said Jill Lajdziak, general manager for Saturn. “The Aura is an important step in our ongoing product revitalization plan, and this award is proof that our efforts are paying off.”

Saturn has changed dramatically in quite a short period of time. The Aura marks a revolution for a brand initially created for the sole purpose of import fighting. Aside from debuting the new generation Epsilon chassis, which will be featured on the new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, it broke ground offering never before seen powertrains, with the available 3.6-litre V6 and six-speed automatic combination in top trim. Saturn is also offering the Aura as a Green Line model with a 2.4-litre inline-four assisted by a mild hybrid electric motor, enabling buyers to get into a roomy and economical family sedan without spending too much money.

As for the trucks, Chevrolet won with its all-important Silverado. It earned a total of 243 points out of the 490 available. Technically speaking, it was the only “truck” in the competition, with second and third place going to a pair of crossovers; the sharp Ford Edge and the turbocharged, all-wheel drive Mazda CX-7. “We’re very pleased to receive this great annual honor,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “We’ve been confident all along that we’ve had the best truck out there with our all-new Silverado. This recognition from the top industry journalists provides validation and reinforces our leadership position.”

Last year’s winner in the Car category was Honda for its futuristic Civic, while the Ridgeline pickup won Truck of the Year.

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