Saturn Aura, Chevy Silverado Win Detroit Auto Show Honors

The Saturn Aura and Chevrolet Silverado, both General Motors Corp. products, were chosen as the 2007 car and truck of the year at the North American International Auto Show, it was announced Sunday.

Sunday was the first day of media previews for the show, which opens to the public on Saturday.

The winners were picked by a group of 49 full-time automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. Finalists had to be new or substantially redesigned from the previous model to be eligible to win the award, which has been granted at the show for 14 years.

Photo Essay: North American International Auto Show

The selection of two GM vehicles makes the second time in as many years that the winners came from a single manufacturer. Last year's winners were Honda Motor Co.'s Ridgeline pickup and Civic car line.

The Aura beat two other finalists in the balloting for North American Car of the Year, the Honda Fit and Toyota Camry. The journalists picked the Silverado as well as the Ford Edge and Mazda CX-7 crossovers as finalists.

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Judges praised the Aura's interior, its handling, the responsiveness of its engine and its six-speed automatic transmission.

The judges found the Silverado to be improved throughout in assembly quality, steering, braking and handling, while still keeping its heavy work abilities.

The Silverado also was honored late last year as Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year.

The North American honors have been given annually since 1994. Jurors scrutinize each vehicle's design, safety, handling and innovations. Judges also consider driver satisfaction and value.

U.S. brands have won the car award seven times, with Japanese brands taking top honors three times and European brands winning four times.

Domestic brands have fared better in the truck awards, taking them nine years, while Japanese brands have won three times and the Europeans have won twice.

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