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2012 is almost in the books and automakers are spending December gearing up for the 2013 auto show season, which tips off next month at the Detroit Auto Show. Traditionally, the latter opens up with the announcement of the North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards, and this year figures to be no different.
But up until this moment, we didn't know which six vehicles would be parked ahead of the stage as finalists, with executives and engineers waiting for the winners to be disclosed. Whittled down from October's "short list" of nominees (11 cars and 10 truck/utility vehicles), the finalists are as follows:
2013 North American Car of the Year:
Ford has just released a teaser for its Super Bowl ad, and unlike just about every other automaker, it seems that the Blue Oval is going to make us wait until Sunday to see the full spot. The teaser is, um, strange.
It stars James Franco, who believes he is Ron Riggle, the comedian, Fox NFL Sunday host and retired Marine lieutenant colonel. There's also a tiger. The vague spot has Franco claiming that "this is no ordinary commercial." You'll note on the bottom right, there's a Ford logo and the hashtag #nearlydouble.
According to Automotive News, it's part of a massive viral effort being pushed forward by Ford and its dealerships. Ford sent different teasers and "vignettes" to dealership employees and asked them to share them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, in the hopes of creating a viral effect.
It's taken four years of study, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has finally closed the books on its investigation into rollaway accusations surrounding 1.56-million Ford SUV models.
The probe, which centered on the 2002-2005 Ford Explorer, 2002-2005 Mercury Mountaineer and 2003-2005 Lincoln Aviator, ends without the federal agency calling for a recall. According to The Detroit News, the investigation was closed due to a "low number of complaints" - NHTSA documented 180 such complaints that resulted in 14 crashes and six minor injuries, but the number of incidents have been slowing. The suspected defect rate for the trucks' automatic transmissions was found to be 4.4 per 100,000 units, and the brake-shift interlock mechanism failure rate was judged to be even lower at 3.4 per 100k.