Hollywood gathered Sunday night for Golden Globes, a largely meaningless award ceremony organized by a notoriously grafty group of film critics. Say what you will about the Golden Globes, but at least it’s a glamorous event held at a civilized hour on a pleasant southern California evening.
When the gaggle of automotive press gathered into the Cobo Hall atrium early Monday morning for an equally meaningless award—the North American Car and Truck of the Year—there was no glamor and 7:30 AM isn’t even close to a civilized hour. And while Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the Golden Globes, the Car/Truck of the Year doesn’t attract many celebrities beyond Sen. Debbie Stabenow.
In case you care, the Chevy Corvette and Silverado won the Car and Truck of the Year honors respectively. But you don’t care, nor should you.
Even by the already low standards of industry awards, the North American Car and Truck of the Year is utterly pointless.
This is the second time the Corvette, the official car of midlife crises everywhere, has won the Car of the Year honor. Past “Car” winners range from the for-early-adopters-only 2011 Chevy Volt, the remarkably bland 2006 Honda Civic, and the luxury 1994 Mercedes C Class. If you’re noticing a lack of overarching theme, that’s because this award is based on literally no established criteria of any kind.
CNN once dubbed the North American Car and Truck of the Year as the Prom King and Queen of car awards because the honor is equal to high school's time-honored superficial popularity contest.
"We're just a bunch of automotive writers who get together to decide which two vehicles we collectively think are the best," Car/Truck of the Year steering committee member John McElroy told CNN in 2006.
As far as this award goes, it doesn’t necessarily matter who is offering most impressive technological innovation, curb appeal, affordability, or even which new vehicle resonates best with the general public. Case in point, the 2012 runner-up Ford Focus outsold it's in-class competitor and Car of the Year winner, the Hyundai Elantra, by more than 40,000 units that model year.
For all anyone knows, the Car/Truck of the Year committee makes their decision based on which brand sprung for the best junket in the last 12 months. Or which ride most impressed nubile coeds when they gave it a test drive through Ann Arbor.
Ok, probably not. Still, when there is no standard by which the award is given from one year to the next it stands to reason the criteria could be just that dumb.
Really, all that matters is which car and truck John McElroy and his besties happen to decide is the neatest at a given moment.
It’s hard to imagine how a handful of auto critics’ feels would ever matter to someone walking into a new car showroom. Or anyone else.
Except to herd journalists in Cobo Hall’s atrium at 7:30 AM on this one winter’s morn.