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by Matt Brogan

Hyundai Genesis has taken top honours in the most exclusive award of the NAIAS being named 2009 North American Car of the Year.

A jury of 50 independent automotive journalists evaluated all the new cars introduced last year and chose the 2009 Hyundai Genesis as the best new model.

“Genesis represents everything we’ve learned, so far, about engineering great automobiles and we’re delighted that the judges have recognised the good work of our R&D teams,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America acting president and chief executive officer. “And we’re not stopping here Genesis will share company in Hyundai showrooms this spring with its rear-wheel drive platform-mate, the Genesis Coupe.”

This year the jurors considered more than 50 new vehicles before selecting the top three cars and top three trucks. The Volkswagen Jetta TDI and Ford Flex were the other finalists.

The North American Car of the Year award is decided by a jury of 50 independent, full-time automotive journalists from the United States and Canada. This is the 16th year of the awards, which were inspired by the prestigious European Car of the Year.

They are administered by an organising committee and are funded exclusively with dues paid by the jurors. Jurors judge the cars on a number of factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for money.