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GM: Will It "Two-Peat" As Car And Truck Of The Year?

GM logo, General Motors logo
GM logo, General Motors logo

For the second straight year, General Motors is in a position to win the honors of North American Car and Truck of the Year. The winners will be announced at the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit January 13th.

This year, of the six finalists, four are GM Models. The Cadillac CTS, Chevy Malibu, and Honda Accord are up for car of the year. The Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and Mazda CX-9 are the finalists for truck of the year. Any way you look at those two lists, one thing is clear, GM's designers are finally getting the recognition they deserve for remaking their portfolio.

When we gave viewers their first peak at the new Cadillac CTS at last year's auto show, I immediately heard back from several viewers how impressed they were with the upgraded interior. I heard similar comments about the Malibu and the Buick Enclave.

The fact is, GM's interiors have gone from a major weakness to being more than competitive. Are they the best in the industry? No. Are they strong and getting stronger? Yes. And for that you can thank GM's designers under chief designer Ed Welburn.

A few years ago I was talking with Welburn when he bluntly said, "We have to do a better job making people want to be in their cars and trucks." It was a candid comment in an industry where executives often dismiss any suggestion that their models are not up to snuff. That may have been the case with GM 4 or 5 years ago, but not anymore.

The Malibu is competitive with rival Japanese sedans. The Enclave is a hidden jewel that has people actually contemplating buying a Buick. And the Tahoe Hybrid is a good first step into gas/electric autos.

Last year, GM swept the car and truck of the year awards with the Chevy Silverado and the Saturn Aura. Both have done well. Will it be a double delight for GM again? Even if it's not, it's clear the automaker is already winning.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

Autos