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Cadillac ATS, Ram 1500 Are Honored as Auto Show Opens

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- The Detroit Auto Show kicked off Monday morning with a car of the year selection for GM's (GM - Get Report) Cadillac ATS and truck of the year notice for the Dodge Ram 1500.

The awards were the kickoff to a long day of media hoards conducting interviews with auto execs and viewing the introductions of about 50 vehicles, including well-known standouts such as a concept for a new Toyota (TM - Get Report)Corolla, and later, on Tuesday, a new Ford F-150 pickup truck, the best-selling U.S. vehicle.

On Sunday, The Detroit Free Press awarded its 2013 automotive leadership awards to GM CEO Dan Akerson and Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA. Akerson led GM through a tumultuous year when it emerged as an election issue and saw its market share decline to an 80-year-low and lost more than $1 billion in Europe. This year looks better, thanks partially to the expected mid-year introduction of a new Silverado.

As for Toyota, it regained market share in 2012 after a sharp 2011 falloff due to the impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But its 14.4% share, up from 12.9% in 2011, is still down from 15.3% in 2010.

In assessing the two winning vehicles selected by the Automotive Press Association, jury member Marc Phelan, a Free Press auto writer, said the Cadillac ATS "changed the way GM develops vehicles and lifted Cadillac to the front row of global luxury brands," while the Ram 1500 "raises the ante for full-size pickups' efficiency and features."

-- Written by Ted Reed at the Detroit Auto Show.

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