We had a great time, drove a lot of fantastic cars, and came up with our winner. As you now know, we surprised ourselves by choosing a car that every person in the room had something to complain about. And yet, it was our unanimous choice, a very rare outcome indeed. You should know that, despite our immense affection for many of the cars we considered for Automobile of the Year, only the exquisite Jaguar XF Supercharged offered any serious competition to the Nissan GT-R-at least in the talking phase leading up to the actual vote.
Next month, we'll give you the rest of the story-our ten 2009 Automobile Magazine All-Stars.
This is the second time Nissan has won Automobile of the Year, the first being awarded in 2003 for the 350Z. Over the course of two decades, fifteen manufacturers have won the big prize, and only three other than Nissan have won it more than once. Volkswagen's 1999 Beetle and 2007 GTI were winners, and so were BMW's 1995 M3 and 2006 3-series. Only Chrysler has won AOY three times: two years in a row-in 1993 for the LH cars (Chrysler Concorde, Dodge Intrepid, and Eagle Vision) and in 1994 for the Neon, produced under the expert guidance of then-president Bob Lutz-and in 2005 for its last big hit, the mighty 300C. Is it any wonder that Chrysler's sad situation is so heart wrenching? We are just waiting for the thirty pieces of silver to change hands.
(May I take a brief moment to point my finger back in time at the real devil in this deal? That would be Lee Iacocca, the man who ensured the collapse of Chrysler by installing the wrong Bob as his successor, in a haughty bitch slap to the too-big-for-his-britches Lutz. Yeah, well that worked. The legacy of chairman Bob Eaton will forever be that he was hoodwinked into selling the once proud Chrysler Corporation to foreigners, taking an obscene chunk of money to help assuage his guilt and shame. And Chrysler has never been the same, if it is still here at all.)
It's worth noting that, over the years, our AOY has randomly gone to a Japanese manufacturer eight times, and six times each to the Germans and the Americans. I point this out as a bit of proof that we really aren't biased toward foreign cars. In addition, eleven of the twenty cars we've named Automobile of the Year have cost $30,000 or less.
When we say, "No boring cars!" it's not about money. This magazine is simply a celebration of cars that you will love to drive.