EV ruling, Detroit makers shutting down except for trucks
Los Angeles California -And then there were nine.
The Los Angeles Auto Show opened Thursday with the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year Awards announcing the finalists for the 2024 award. The finalists track industry trends with five of the finalists being all-electric and two being gas-electric hybrids. Governments led by California are increasing fines on automakers starting in 2026 for producing only electric vehicles by 2035.
Detroit brands dominated the truck category but were left out of the car and SUV candidates with only one electric vehicle, the Chevy Silverado EV work truck, making the list.
The NACTOY Awards are one of the most prestigious awards in the industry, with an independent jury of 50 North American journalists judging the results. “We come from diverse media backgrounds, and we come together to reach consensus. That’s the power of this award,” said NACTOY President Jeff Gilbert of WWJ Radio (950 AM) in Detroit.
The electric SUVs led the utility finalists: the $68,000 Genesis Electrified GV70, the $56,000 Kia EV9, and the $35,000 Volvo EX 30. As an affordable luxury electric car priced under $40,000, Volvo will be the favorite.
Notable cars that didn’t make the cut were affordable gas-powered SUVs like the Dodge Hornet, the three-row Mazda CX-90 and the Hyundai Kona. Gas-powered vehicles make up more than 90% of consumer sales, but the jury was keen to showcase the wave of electric vehicles coming to showrooms as automakers phase out gasoline-powered options.
With a starting price of $70,000, the Chevy Silverado V work truck is nearly twice the price of a comparable gas WT, but its driving dynamics and technology impressed jurors. The affordable four-cylinder midsize truck Chevy Colorado may be the favorite here, with the Ford F-250 Super Duty also present.
One of the most anticipated trucks of the year, the Tesla Cybertruck, didn’t make the cut because the Texas-based company didn’t make the truck available for media testing. Two midsize trucks that could have given the Colorado a run for its money — the 2024 Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger were not available for jury testing and will be contenders for the 2025 award.
“Ford is always a favorite for Truck of the Year due to the popularity of its trucks in the market,” Gilbert said. “It is unfortunate that we had to retire the Ranger and Tacoma for this year because they are both powerful small trucks.”
Two hybrid cars, the Honda Accord and Toyota Prius, lead the car category. They both have won NACTOY awards in the past. But the beautiful and innovative Hyundai Ioniq 6 EV might steal the show. Demand for cars has waned in recent years as Americans rely on SUVs, but sedans and sports cars remain industry style leaders.
In a surprise, the seventh-generation Ford Mustang did not make the final cut despite being the last remaining muscle car in the United States, as the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger were sacrificed to meet emissions regulations. The Chevy Corvette E-Ray, the first all-wheel-drive electrified ‘Vette, has also been overtaken by full-size sedans.
Expect the Prius to be a favorite in its class as the original hybrid has been turned the ugly duckling into a swan – without sacrificing fuel economy.
Over the past 30 years, NACTOY has recognized automakers that have achieved significant innovations in design, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value. Winners will be announced in January in Detroit.
Car of the yearHonda Accord, Toyota Prius/Prius Prime, Hyundai Ioniq 6
Truck of the yearChevy Silverado Electric Chevy Colorado Ford Super Duty
Benefit of the yearElectrified Genesis GV70, Kia EV9, Volvo EX 30
Henry Payne is a robot critic for The Detroit News. You can find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne.