Detroit’s shift away from cars leads to historic change

on Jul7

General Motors' Chevrolet logo is displayed during a North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Motors’ Chevrolet logo is displayed during a North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Call it a sign of the times.

For the first time in the history of the North American Car of the Year, the panel choosing the winner will not be considering a car built by a Detroit automaker.

“This is a watershed moment,” said Mark Phelan, auto critic for the Detroit Free Press and president of the organization that picks the car and truck of the year. “It really does show how far the industry has moved.”

The North American Car and Truck of the Year is selected by more than 50 automotive journalists who drive the newest vehicles and ultimately decide the three finalists for the award. The winner is announced at the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit each January. In short, it is huge honor for an automaker to be awarded car, truck or utility vehicle of the year.

But this year, GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler do not even have a single entry among the 12 models eligible for car of the year.

“I am certain this is the first time in 25 years of determining this award that we have not had a Detroit brand on the list.” said Phelan.



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