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(LEAD) Hyundai, Kia SUVs on N. American Car of the Year finalists

Autos 17:26 November 25, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS details para 2, comments in paras 5-6)

SEOUL, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Co.'s Palisade and Kia Motors Corp.'s Telluride sport utility vehicles have been named finalists for this year's North American car of the year, Hyundai Motor Group said Monday.
Last week, a jury of automotive journalists from numerous outlets in the United States and Canada selected nine finalists for the title of 2020 North American Car of the Year, Utility of the Year and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) out of 29 semi-finalists after evaluating them based on innovation, design, safety, driver satisfaction and value for the U.S. dollar.

The nine include Hyundai's Sonata sedan and Palisade SUV and Kia's Telluride SUV, the group said in a statement. The Telluride, manufactured in Kia's U.S. plant and sold in North American markets only, was named the 2020 SUV of the year by MotorTrend.

The two South Korean firms' competitors are General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Corvette Stingray sports car, Toyota Motor Corp.'s Supra sports car, Lincoln Motor Co.'s Aviator SUV, Ford Motor Co.'s Ranger pickup truck, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Jeep Gladiator pickup and Ram Trucks' Heavy Duty pickup, the statement said.

Every year, the jurors vote on the finalists after spending months driving dozens of new vehicles. To be eligible, vehicles must be all-new or substantially new and available at dealerships before the end of the year, NACTOY said in a statement.

"Competition in the red-hot utility category is especially tough, with entries from a variety of mainstream and luxury classes, including a strong set of three-row crossovers and a new electric SUV," NACTOY Secretary Kirk Bell said in the statement.

The group expects the fact that Hyundai and Kia made it to the NACTOY list with their three models will help boost sales in the U.S., the world's most important automobile market.

Hyundai's Genesis luxury sedan and Avante compact won the NACTOY awards in 2009 and 2012, respectively. For the year of 2019, Hyundai's Genesis G70 sedan and Kona subcompact SUV won the awards, the statement said.

The winner of the NACTOY will be announced at the Detroit Auto Show on Jan. 13, next year.

This file photo provided by Kia shows the carmaker's Telluride SUV. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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