At the NAIAS, the Chevrolet Volt and Ford Explorer have been named as the 2011 North American Car and Truck of the Year respectively by a panel of 49 US and Canadian auto journalists.

The series plug-in hybrid Volt took the gong ahead of the Nissan Leaf EV and the Hyundai Sonata, with other semi-finalists being the Audi A8, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Buick Regal, Volkswagen Jetta, Kia Optima, Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Cruze, Volvo S60, Infiniti M37/56 and the Jaguar XJ.

Meanwhile, over in the truck category, the Explorer nudged ahead of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango SUVs, with other nominees including the Lincoln MKX, Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Kia Sorento and Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Infiniti QX56, Honda Odyssey, Ford Edge, Volkswagen Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Toyota Sienna. The award follows on Ford’s win last year with the Transit Connect.