) -- The U.S. auto industry is wrapping up a year that included strong sales of innovative, well-built cars and trucks as well as an election victory by a president who listed Detroit bailouts as a primary achievement.
Several 2013 introductions provided signs of a resurgent industry finally able to anticipate customers' preferences and to deliver on them.
As the Detroit Auto Show approaches, the Automotive Press Association jury, composed of 50 automotive journalists, has rolled out its list of the top six finalists for the 2013 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. Winners will be announced Jan. 14 on the media day at the car show.
To be eligible, a vehicle must have been substantially changed from the previous model, must be available for purchase shortly after the award is announced and must be likely to reach minimum sales levels of 5,000 for cars and 2,000 for trucks.
Last year's winning car was the Hyundai Elantra. The winning truck was the Range Rover Evoque.
spoke with Karl Brauer, CEO and editor of
Total Car Score
and a member of the jury, about the entries and the likely winners.