Arguably, the North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year Awards (NACOTY) are the most sought-after honors acknowledging vehicular excellence.

When an automaker receives one of these accolades, they literally jump for joy. Underscoring the importance of the awards, the physical trophies handed out by this multinational organization have been completely reworked for 2017 and they were just revealed at an Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit this afternoon.

The totally revamped trophies have been sculpted by none other than Ed Welburn, the former vice-president of General Motors Global Design who retired from the company last June after 44 years of service. He said his goal with this project was to create something that lives up to the prestige of the accolades handed out by NACOTY.


"I wanted this award to be an inspiration," explained Welburn, adding that the statuettes handed out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sparked his creative fire. "If Oscar had a car, this would be his car."

A chrome art-deco automobile dominates the new NACOTY awards. Welburn said the vehicle in question has a timeless elegance, though it was not meant to represent any particular brand.

Welburn said he came up with the first sketches for this award while on the beach during a vacation.

Aside from the individual trophies handed out to automakers for each winning vehicle, there will also be a larger, single award. It will have victorious models' names engraved on it, with more and more added each year. This trophy will be on display in Detroit's COBO Center, home to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).


NACOTY finalists are selected by a panel of around 60 esteemed journalists from the United States and Canada. Winners are announced at NAIAS every January. To recap, finalists for Car of the Year in 2017 are the Chevrolet Bolt, Genesis G90 and Volvo S90. The Ford Super Duty, Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Titan made it to the last round of voting on the truck side. As for utility models, the Chrysler Pacifica, Jaguar F-Pace and Mazda CX-9 are all finalists.

With outstanding products like these on the market, Welburn said, "Today's North American auto industry is alive," adding there's so much creativity and so many great ideas in this industry. His long-term involvement in the car business has made him the "luckiest guy in the world."