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EVs Make a Splash at the 2023 NACTOY Awards

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It’s that time of the year when automotive companies, motorheads and industry watchers alike eagerly wait for the winners of the prestigious NACTOY (North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year) awards. The wait is over. The results of the 2022 NACTOY awards were announced yesterday. An independent jury of 50 automotive journalists determined the winners from the three finalists in each category (car, truck and utility vehicle) announced in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Meet the Winners

Japan’s auto biggie Honda (HMC - Free Report) luxury brand Acura’s Integra model won the Car of the Year award. This marks the first NACTOY win for the Acura brand since 2001. NACTOY jurors were impressed by Acura Integra’s distinctive sporty design, premium features and exhilarating driving experience. It has earned the top spot in the premium sport compact segment in just seven months on the market. Integra is the most preferred choice for buyers under 35 years of age. In 2022, 13,037 units of Acura Integra were sold. This summer, the Acura lineup will get a boost with the launch of the Integra Type S. 

U.S. legacy automaker Ford (F - Free Report) took the Truck of the Year honor for its Ford F-150 Lightning. This marks the company’s third consecutive NACTOY win in the truck category. Ford took home the North America Truck of the Year award for Maverick and F-150 in 2022 and 2021, respectively. Ford’s F-series has been the best-selling truck in the United States for more than four decades. And its electric version, named F-150 Lightning Pro, is carrying forward the success. It was recently also named the 2023 Truck of the Year by Motor Trend magazine.F-Lightning Pro (launched in May) became the best-selling electric truck in 2022 in the United States, with 15,617 units sold.

South Korea-based Kia’s Kia EV6 claimed the Utility Vehicle of the Year win. This was the first time Kia won a NACTOY award for its EV model. And it was the second time in four years that NACTOY presented Kia with the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award. To date, more than 19,000 KIA EV6 models have been sold. The EV6 model is part of the Kia "Plan S" strategy to roll out at least two battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) every year, creating a portfolio of 14 BEVs by 2027.

While Ford carries a Zacks Rank $4 (Sell) currently, Honda is Ranked #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Electric Vehicles Steal the Show

In a telling sign that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future of mobility, the NACTOY 2023 awards were dominated by green vehicles. Two of the three NACTOY winners were EVs. The Acura Integra was the sole gas-powered model to drive home with a trophy. Importantly, six of the nine finalists were battery-powered.

It should be noted that all three finalists in the utility vehicle category were battery-powered. This was the first time in NACTOY Awards history that all three finalists in a specific category were electric. The finalists in the utility vehicle category included Cadillac Lyriq, Kia EV6 and Genesis GV60. All three finalists had a base price of more than $45,000.

In the truck category, Chevrolet Silverado ZR2, Ford F-150 Lightning and Lordstown Endurance were the finalists, with the latter two being battery-powered trucks. All three finalists had a starting price of more than $55,000.

The nominees for the car category were Acura Integra, Nissan Z and Genesis G80 EV, with the former two being ICE models and also more affordable among all the nine finalists. Acura Integra’s base price starts at somewhere around $31,000, while Nissan Z’s starting price is about $40,000.

At the 2022 NACTOY awards, it was the ICE models that made a clean sweep. While EV finalists made their way to the runners-up position, they could not get the trophy home. But this time around, EVs made the most noise, and it is only the beginning.

EVs are disrupting the auto space with novel designs and technologically advanced features. Auto biggies are investing large sums of money to shift gears to electric. Considering the fact that green vehicles are fast gaining ground with buyers, John McElroy, a long-time auto analyst, TV host, and NACTOY juror, said, “This may be the last time we see a gas-powered vehicle win a NACTOY award.”

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