“Car of the Year” awards are not uncommon, and there seem to be more of them every year. That raises a reasonable question: what makes The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards different?

The answer is simple: independence and the breadth and depth of the jury members’ expertise.

  The jury is composed of no more than 50 automotive journalists - writers and broadcasters from across the U.S. and Canada. Most have covered the auto industry for decades.
  Operating expenses are defrayed by membership dues — there are no outside subsidies —  and the voting of the jury is made public.
  First given in 1994, the North American awards were patterned on the “Car of the Year,” which for decades has been the most prestigious automotive award in Europe.
  The goal is to select a car and a truck that set new benchmarks in the classes in which they compete. Jurors evaluate the vehicles on factors including value for the dollar, innovation,  handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction.
  Unlike some awards, domestic and imported vehicles compete against each other.
  To be eligible, a vehicle must have been substantially changed from the previous model and must go on sale shortly after the announcement of the award, which is early in January.
Cars must have reasonably foreseeable annual sales in North America of 5,000 vehicles.
Trucks must have reasonably foreseeable annual sales in North America of  2,000 vehicles.
  Voting takes place early December. Each juror has 25 points to distribute for car and 25 for truck. No more than 10 points may be awarded to any one vehicle, and the 10-point maximum can be bestowed only once. However, the juror must award all 25 points.
  The ballots are sent directly to the Detroit office of Deloitte & Touche, the distinguished accounting firm.
  The three finalist vehicles in each category are announced in mid-December, and the winners are unveiled at the outset of the annual North American International Automobile Show in Detroit.
  Until that news conference the identity of the winning vehicles is known only to Deloitte and Touche staff.
  While the awards are announced at a news conference at the North American International  Auto Show the show itself does not give the awards.

In 2007 news about the awards was broadcast on 280 stations in 140 markets, and was seen by 17.3 million viewers. The awards were also the subject of thousands of news articles published around the world.