An international group of automotive journalists has selected the Honda Fit (Jazz), the Saturn Aura and the Toyota Camry as finalists for the 2007 North American Car of the Year.

The Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Edge and Mazda CX-7 are finalists for the 2007 North American Truck of the Year (which includes SUVs and crossovers).

The awards are unique in the United States because - instead of being given by a single publication, radio or television station - they are given by 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.

The awards are designed to recognise the most outstanding vehicles of the year based on factors that include innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. To be eligible, vehicles must be "all new" or "substantially changed" from the previous model.

Winners will be announced on 7 January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Although the winners are disclosed at a news conference at NAIAS, the show does not give the awards.

The jurors represent outlets such as the Toronto Star, Car and Driver magazine, AutoWeek, The Chicago Tribune, MotorWeek, USA Today, Autoline Detroit,, Road & Track magazine, the San Jose Mercury News, Consumer Guide, the Boston Globe, Automotive News, Popular Mechanics and Fortune.

Last year the 2006 North American Car of the Year was the Honda Civic, and the 2006 North American Truck of the Year was the Honda Ridgeline.

Domestic automakers have been named "North American Car of the Year" six times. Japanese cars have won three times. European cars have won four times.

Domestic automakers won "North American Truck of the Year" eight times, Japanese automakers have won three times (Honda and Acura took two of those) and European automakers have won twice.

While more than 60 new vehicles were eligible, jurors finally voted on 11 cars and 15 trucks.

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