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2008 ICOTY awards

2008 International Car of the Year (ICOTY)
Awards Winners' Buyer's Guid
by Martha Hindes

When an achievement reaches the pinnacle, one of the sweetest rewards is acknowledgment. Athletes win their sports trophies. Actors and actresses vie for statuettes that acclaim their superior performances. Scientists and humanitarians garner honors following years of laborious work. And prestige has a special place for the vehicles that express a combination of all those elements- agility and strength in performance, beauty in their excellence of design, technological superiority with a growing conscience. These are the best of the best.

A dozen years ago the automotive world took notice with the inauguration of ROAD & TRAVEL Magazine's first International Car of the Year Awards (ICOTY). The award ceremony, designed to honor the most important auto of the year, also honored vehicles in specific categories. Since then, the awards have grown to include an ICOTY Truck of the Year- now in its fourth year- and eight specific automotive segments, from sports and luxury cars to SUVs and crossovers.

"The ICOTY Award's unique theme focuses on the emotional connection between car and consumer, how vehicles reflect our lifestyles and self image, and attitude the average consumer can identify with," said Courtney Caldwell, ICOTY founder and producer. "Each of the 10 ICOTY Awards reflect a particular mindset during purchase or ownership, celebrating the relationship consumers have with their cars and how they make them feel."

For the first time, the elegant black-tie ceremony that has become an anticipated kickoff event for the annual North American International Auto show (NAIAS), was held in the new, opulent MGM Grand Detroit ballroom. With glittering fanfare, drum roll backing from The Jerry Ross Band and a sense of the excitement, winning vehicles were revealed one by one. Winners were greeted with "oohs" of surprise and agreement, healthy rounds of applause and gracious thanks from the company representatives who accepted the beautiful crystal trophies.

Top honors for Car of the Year for 2008 went to the handsome, sophisticated and newly revised Honda Accord Sedan, which wowed the judges with its performance and command. Truck of the Year honors were won by Chrysler's ingenious and multi-talented Town & Country minivan that aptly fits the company's description as a family room on wheels.

Vehicles in specific categories were honored for their excitement, innovations, performance, technology, love of the earth and ability to instill a sense of passion in drivers.

Humor and nostalgia also prevailed as one of the industry's notable journalists was honored with RTM's fifth annual Lifetime Legend Award, sponsored by Chrysler LLC. The honor was given this year to 30-year veteran automotive journalist Thos. L. Bryant, vice president and editor in chief of Road & Track. The fourth annual HEART STRING Award for the most compelling television commercial of 2007 was also presented at the ceremony. The winner was the Dodge Grand Caravan's "Rooms," for its friendly minivan commercial.

For the first time, environmental responsibility and respect for the earth was recognized by ICOTY with the inaugural presentation of the EARTH ANGEL Award to General Motors Corporation as the most environmentally friendly auto maker. On hand to co-present the honor was U.S. Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., a longtime industry advocate and watchdog.

A "Who's Who" list of notables attending the premiere event were treated to a festive evening of fun and music as awards were announced. Some of those in attendance were U.S. Congressman John D. Dingell, D-Mich., who gave opening remarks at the event; Royal Oak Mayor Jim Ellison Michigan; George Perry, president and CEO of Yazaki North America, Inc.; Anne Belec, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America; Barry Meguiar, president and CEO of Meguiar's Inc.; Bill Rains, president of U-Haul Company, Central Michigan; Mike Kosmowski, president of U-Haul Manufacturing; John deNysschen, executive vice president of Audi of America; Beth Lowery, vice president of Environment, Energy & Safety Policy at General Motors Corporation; Larry Jutte, senior vice president of American Honda; Tom McAlear, CEO of Event Solutions International and Bernard Glaser, general manager of Product Management at Mercedes-Benz.

The ICOTY Award winners were selected by a panel of jurors, which was comprised of nationally-renowed automotive journalists. Votes for the 2008 ICOTY Awards were officially tabulated by J.D. Power and Associates.

RTM proudly shares the winners and runners up of the 2008 ICOTY Awards.


International Car of the Year
Honda Accord Sedan

International Truck of the Year
Chrysler Town & Country

Most Sex Appeal/Sports Car
Audi R8

Most Dependable/Sedan
Honda Accord

Most Spirited/Entry-Level
Volvo C30

Most Compatible/Minivan
Chrysler Town & Country

Most Versatile/Crossover
Buick Enclave

Most Respected/Luxury Car
Mercedes Benz CL63 AMG

Most Athletic/Pickup Truck
GMC Sierra Denali

Most Resourceful/SUV
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

Learn more about the 2008 ICOTY Awards.