With today's announcement of the 2012 list of nominees, the North American Car and Truck of the Year has further solidified itself as the laughing stock of auto industry awards. This year, the jurors, through their infinite wisdom and automotive expertise, have selected the Mini Countryman as a nominee for "Truck of the Year." No, I'm not making this up.
Winning a NACTOY award seems to be a big marketing deal for automakers — winners use their logo in millions of dollars worth of ads every year.
We've snickered a bit from the sidelines as we've seen the field of "no less than 50" NACTOY jurors make some silly calls — like in '95 when they voted for the Chrysler Cirrus as Car of the Year, or in 2001, when they voted for the obviously more relevant Chrysler PT Cruiser over the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight.
We've chortled a bit as, every year, an award judged worthwhile enough to engender tens of millions of dollars worth of automaker ads, is decided by the people who bring you such influential, prestigious and highly-read automotive publications as carlist.com, NewCarTestDrive.com and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The jury also includes outstanding automotive luminaries such as a guy who managed PR for three automakers, a woman who was let go from the Detroit News for not knowing that mid-size sedans don't normally get backup cameras, and this guy's boss.
But setting all that aside — what the hell kind of an award committee can call the Mini Countryman a truck? Sure, the Mini Countryman may be "big" in comparison to a Mini Cooper, but it ain't a truck. What kind of award would set the eligibility requirements for a truck in such a way that it could possibly include a friggin' Mini but exclude the new Ford Super Duty?
The kind of award that's a complete farce.
Here's the rest of the ridiculous nominees:
North American Car of the Year Nominees
Chrysler 300 (includes SRT8)
Toyota Prius V
North American Truck Of The Year Nominees
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque