DETROIT (AP) - Motor Trend Magazine has named the new Cadillac CTS its 2008 car of the year, saying it is proof that Detroit can build a world-class sedan.

The award, to be announced Tuesday, is significant because it shows the world that Detroit is back in the car business after years of focusing on sport utility vehicles and trucks, said magazine Editor-in-Chief Angus MacKenzie.

The car's appearance, fit and finish, quality of materials and performance rival that of its German and Japanese competitors, MacKenzie said.

"There's really not a lot of difference at all between BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac," he said in an interview Monday.

The CTS, made by General Motors Corp., won from a field of 18 significant vehicles such as the Honda Accord and new Dodge and Chrysler minivans, Motor Trend said in a statement. To be eligible, vehicles must be new or totally redesigned and released in 12 months prior to Jan. 1, 2008.

Japan-based automakers had five cars in the field, with seven U.S. models, four from Germany and two from Sweden.

Motor Trend said the CTS was chosen from among one of the toughest fields in the award's history.

"The CTS obliterates the old man image of Cadillac," MacKenzie said. "This car will turn heads in the same way the elite European models do, but it is unmistakably American."

The CTS, with a base price of $32,990, is a bellwether for GM's transformation to building world-class cars to be distributed worldwide, he said. The CTS was tested and developed in the U.S., Germany and China, he said.

Last year's winner was the Toyota Camry. Last month, the magazine named the 2008 Mazda CX-9 as its sport utility vehicle of the year.


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