And the Winner Is…CATIA

January 26, 2012

When the six finalists for the 2012 North American Car/Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards were announced on 15th December 2011, it didn’t take Dassault Systèmes long to take advantage of the fact that all six were developed using CATIA.

The finalists in the car category were the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat, while the BMW X3, Honda CR-V and Range Rover Evoque led the way in the truck category.  “We feel honored that our solutions have played a part in helping…deliver exciting vehicles to the industry while meeting multiple criteria,” said Olivier Sappin, DS’s vice president, transportation & mobility industry.

Inspired by Europe’s Car of the Year, the NACTOY awards are given each year by a coalition of veteran automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. The goal is to select a car and truck that set new benchmarks in their classes. Jurors evaluate vehicles on value, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction. Selection begins in early September, when jurors review a list of all eligible vehicles and pick the 10 cars and trucks they think deserve a place on the ballot. 

In December, the Detroit office of Deloitte notifies the volunteer organizing committee, led this year by Tony Swan, editor-at-large at Car and Driver, which three cars and trucks move on to the final round. The jurors vote again, using a 25-point system to pick a winner: Each juror has 25 points to distribute for cars and 25 for trucks. No more than 10 points may be awarded to any one vehicle, and the 10-point maximum can be bestowed only once. Each juror must award all 25 points. Each year, the winners are announced at a press conference at the start of the North American International Automobile Show in Detroit.

In the car category, domestic automakers have won top honors 10 times in the award’s 19-year history. European automakers have won four times, Japanese automakers have won three times and a certain Korean automaker has won twice. The results have been similar for trucks, with domestic automakers winning 12 times, Japanese automakers winning four times and European automakers winning three times. Overall, this year was the strongest showing by European automakers in 15 years. So who won this year?!

The Hyundai Elantra won the car category with 174 points, followed by the Passat with 161 and the Focus with 155. “The Hyundai Elantra is sporty, yet sensible. Luxurious, yet affordable. Spunky, but safe. The Elantra is a series of paradoxes and every one is another argument for the latest, impressive entry in the Hyundai lineup,” wrote Jayne O’Donnell, a member of the jury from USA TODAY.

In the truck category, the Range Rover Evoque overwhelmed the competition with 254 points, followed by the the CR-V with 142 points and the X3 with 94. Juror Alex Taylor of Fortune wrote that “Range Rover successfully charts a new direction for the venerable SUV trailblazer with a fresh design and advanced thinking about environmental issues.” 

I’d like to congratulate all the designers and engineers who worked on the cars and trucks that made it to the final round this year. Their performance using CATIA to create award-winning vehicles is truly impressive.