DETROIT - The Hyundai Elantra has been named the 2012 North American Car of the Year.
The announcement was part of the kickoff of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A panel of 50 journalists chose the Elantra over the other finalists, the Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Passat.
The 2012 Truck of the Year award went to the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, an SUV that gets 28 MPGs. The other finalists were the BMW X3 and the Honda CR-V.
Before the awards were announced, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood talked about the resurgence of the American auto industry, pointing out that the Big 3 automakers are all posting a profit for the first time since 2004, and their market share is increasing for the first time since 1988.
LaHood said the auto industry is expected to add 60,000 jobs in the U.S. this year. He also said he was thrilled that foreign automakers are setting up shop here in the U.S.