On January 12, as a precursor to the North American National Auto Show in Detroit, the 12th annual International Car of the Year (ICOTY) was named with all the flair and "to do" of the Academy Awards. The black-tie presentation ceremony took place at Detroit's new MGM Grand Casino with 700 industry leaders and media in attendance. The Honda Accord Sedan was chosen as the ICOTY (along with nine other category winners) by a diverse panel of nationally renowned Automotive Journalists. Ballots were tabulated by J.D. Power and Associates.
Unlike so many awards, the theme of ICOTY is not based on performance but rather on the emotional appeal of the car to the consumer. Courtney Caldwell, the brains behind the award (and the Editor-in-Chief of Road & Travel Magazine), said, "The ICOTY Awards unique theme focuses on the emotional connection between car and consumer; how vehicles reflect our lifestyles and self image. It's about how we feel about our cars, and how our cars make us feel."
The 2008 International Car of the Year winners are as follows:
· International Car of the Year - Honda Accord Sedan
· International Truck of the Year - Chrysler Town and Country
· Pick-Up Truck of the Year ("Most Athletic") - GMC Sierra Denali
· Sports Car of the Year ("Most Sex Appeal") - Audi R8
· Sedan of the Year ("Most Dependable") - Honda Accord Sedan
· Luxury Car of the Year ("Most Respected") - Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
· Minivan of the Year ("Most Compatible") - Chrysler Town and Country
· Entry Level Car of the Year ("Most Spirited") - Volvo C30
· Crossover of the Year ("Most Versatile") - Buick Enclave
· SUV of the Year ("Most Resourceful") - Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
In order to be eligible for these awards, vehicles must be a brand new model entry. Or, if the vehicle is an existing model, it must have significant changes in design and/or technology for the new model year. Attributes considered during the voting process include: appeal to men and women, head turning ability, ergonomically friendly, style, affordability, performance, practicality, grocery getting potential, safety and dependability, proud to be seen in, fun factor, and the vehicle's "cool" factor.
In addition to these 10 basic categories this years awards included the "Earth Angel Award," which was bestowed upon General Motors Corporation as the most environmentally-friendly automaker. The "Life Achievement Award," recognized veteran automotive journalist Tom Bryant. Road & Travel Magazine also presented and sponsored the annual "Heart String Award" for best car commercial in 2007, Dodge Grand Caravan's "Rooms."