DETROIT — Ford Motor Co., with its electric Mustang Mach-E and redesigned F-150 pickup, earned North American utility and truck of the year honors for 2021 from a jury of 50 automotive journalists from U.S. and Canada media.
The Hyundai Elantra took top car honors.
The winners were picked from a group of three finalists in each category.
In addition to the Mustang Mach-E, the other finalists for utility vehicle were the Genesis GV80 and the revived Land Rover Defender. The other truck finalists were the Jeep Gladiator Mojave and Ram 1500 TRX. The Genesis G80 and Nissan Sentra were the other car finalists.
The F-150 has captured the top truck honor five times — 1996, 2004, 2009, 2015 and 2021.
Utility vehicles became a separate award in 2017.
This is the second win in the car category for the compact Elantra and the fourth win in the category for Hyundai Motor Group, which also took the top spot with the Genesis sedan in 2009, the Elantra in 2012 and the Genesis G70 sport sedan in 2019.
The F-150 and Mustang Mach-E wins were particularly satisfying for Ford, which has struggled with recent product introductions, notably the latest Explorer.
The coronavirus pandemic brought more challenges to the launch of the F-150 and Mustang Mach-E, Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford Americas & International Markets Group, said during the awards program Jan. 11.
Ron Heiser, chief engineer for the Mustang Mach-E, called a successful launch a "team sport," adding it took a lot of effort from all of those involved this year.
The car honor is the latest in a string of industry milestones for Hyundai and Hyundai Group, which have made great strides in new-vehicle quality and engineering.
Eligible vehicles are either new or substantially changed and re-engineered. Jurors evaluate each vehicle based on innovation, design, safety performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value.
The winners in 2020 were the Chevrolet Corvette (car), Jeep Gladiator (truck) and Kia Telluride (utility).
The nine finalists for 2021 were selected from a list of 27 semifinalists, narrowed down from an original list of 43 vehicles.