The 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is looming ever closer, which means the process to choose the 2009 North American Car and Truck of the Year has begun. The organization behind the very prestigious awards has trotted out the list of semi-finalists for both awards, which includes 26 vehicles total with 14 contenders for COTY and 12 for TOTY.

The defining line between each category has been muddled this year by a bunch of crossovers that could be considered either car or truck, though most were placed in the Truck category except for the new Toyota Venza. There are also two diesel-powered models being considered: the VW Jetta TDI and Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTec.

The jury that decides the winners is comprised entirely of automotive journalists, two of which are part of the Autoblog family: John McElroy who writes a weekly editorial called Autoline on Autoblog and Gary Witzenburg who writes a weekly editorial called At Witz' End on AutoblogGreen.

While the 2009 TOTY award is likely to go to either the new Dodge Ram or Ford F-150, this year's coveted COTY award will be the most hotly contested one in recent memory. Seriously, which one would you choose? The giant-slaying GT-R? The class-busting Genesis? The Hail Mary pass XF? The techno starship MKS? The Grade-A retro Challenger? You get the idea. Vote for which vehicle you'd like to win in each category below in our straw polls.

2009 Car of the Year
Audi A4979 (5.5%)
BMW 1 Series985 (5.5%)
Cadillac CTS-V2018 (11.3%)
Dodge Challenger2591 (14.6%)
Ford Flex502 (2.8%)
Honda Fit775 (4.4%)
Hyundai Genesis1563 (8.8%)
Jaguar XF648 (3.6%)
Lincoln MKS363 (2.0%)
Mazda6545 (3.1%)
Nissan GT-R4637 (26.1%)
Pontiac G81233 (6.9%)
Toyota Venza225 (1.3%)
Volkswagen Jetta TDI726 (4.1%)

2009 Truck of the Year
BMW X62088 (14.5%)
Chevrolet Traverse1352 (9.4%)
Dodge Ram2002 (13.9%)
Ford F-1501918 (13.4%)
Honda Pilot508 (3.5%)
Infiniti FX35/501207 (8.4%)
Kia Borrego389 (2.7%)
Mercedes-Benz ML320 BlueTec1030 (7.2%)
Nissan Murano463 (3.2%)
Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrid724 (5.0%)
Subaru Forester1643 (11.4%)
Volkswagen Tiguan1028 (7.2%)


[Source: Inside Line]