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Honda and Volvo take top awards at the Detroit Auto Show

The Honda Civic has been named North American Car of the Year. The truck of the year is the Volvo XC90.

The press preview days for the North American International Auto Show officially kick off with the awards. The announcements came Monday morning at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The other finalists in the car category were the Chevrolet Malibu and Mazda MX-5 Miata. The Nissan Titan XD and Honda Pilot also vied for the truck award.

Honda's John Mendel says it's not the first time the compact sedan has won this award.

"It's almost ten years to the day that we won it for the 2006 Civic and it's a great affirmation of what a great car it is that we've won it again," Mendell said.

Ford Motor Company sold Volvo to Geely Motors of China during the recession.  The X-C 90 was one of the first vehicles launched under the aegis of Geely.  Volvo's North American President Lex Kerssemakers says the SUV reflects the quality Volvo intends to deliver.

"As we are using the same platforms for all the other cars to follow, this shows that we are absolutely on the right track," Kerssemakers said.

The Volvo XC-90 is semi-autonomous, able to stay in a lane and keep pace with the car in front on its own.  There's also a plug-in hybrid version of the vehicle. 

About 55 automotive journalists vote on winners from the list of finalists.

A vehicle must be all new or substantially changed for eligibility.

This is the 23rd year for the awards. Organizers accept no advertising, though carmakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the honors.

*This post was updated at 8:30 a.m.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.