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Top auto awards go to Hyundai and Ram

Top auto awards go to Hyundai and Ram

The Korean automaker hopes the award would help burnish the company's image in North America and drive sales in the key market where it has been grappling with falling demand.

The Utility of the Year is the Hyundai Kona/Kona EV.

Organizers accept no advertising, though automakers try to capitalize on the marketing value of the awards, which are now in their 25th year.

Drum roll please. the North American vehicle and truck of the year were announced at the Detroit auto show Monday.

Kamloops, B.C. -born Reid Bigland, CEO of FCA Canada, poses with the award for North American Truck of the Year next to the winning Ram 1500.

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The Hyundai Genesis G70 and Hyundai Kona won the North American auto and utility vehicle of the year awards, respectively. The company's luxury brand, Genesis, won vehicle of the Year for the G-70.

Hyundai will have a lot to brag about in those commercials thanks to the awards given to Genesis, its new luxury brand created in 2015 to compete against lines like Toyota's Lexus and Volkswagen's Audi.

The awards are given to cars that achieves highest scores on categories of innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. The selection process started last June. The North American International Auto Show expects to have 5,000 journalists from more than 60 countries, with some 30 vehicle debuts and more than 750 vehicles on display.

Kona was the first Hyundai compact utility vehicle model to win in the utility vehicle of the year category. Its sister company Kia also unveiled Telluride, a large SUV, targeted for the U.S. market.