DETROIT — Volkswagen’s Golf snagged the North American Car of the Year on Monday, arguably the most prestigious award among the many in the auto world, in what was perceived as a surprise win over Ford’s completely redone Mustang.
The Golf had already won a number of honors this year, but Ford had made quite a splash with the improvements that it made in the Mustang. Even VW officials were caught by surprise.
“Flabbergasted” is how Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen of American, says he reacted when he heard of his victory. He said at the North American International Auto Show going on here that he certainly believed that Golf deserved the award, but noted its stiff competition, which also included a third finalist, Hyundai’s Genesis luxury sedan. He says Golf is noteworthy not only because of the other awards it has won, but because of its impressive design and craftsmanship.
“I thought it would be too good to be true,” Horn says. And the win is a bit personal: He says he grew up with the Golf.
Golf garnered the most votes from a panel of 57 jurors representing dozens of print, online and broadcast operations.USA TODAY’s James R. Healey is a juror.
The Hyundai Genesis premium sedan and Ford’s overhauled 2015 Mustang were the other finalists.
Though Golf’s won a number of other prizes since it went on sale earlier this year, it still was a bit of a surprise, because there was wide expectation the nod would go to Ford’s completely re-done 2015 Mustang