DETROIT — The Chrysler 300 – which becomes the 300C when it's equipped with Chrysler's Hemi V-8 engine – collected its latest honor as 2004 North American Car of the Year. Ford's new Escape hybrid SUV garnered the award as 2004 North American Truck of the Year. The awards were announced during the first day of media previews at the auto show, according to the Associated Press. The honors have been given annually since 1994 by a group of about 50 full-time automotive journalists from the U.S. and Canada. They scrutinize each vehicle's design, safety, handling, and innovations. The judges also consider driver satisfaction and value. To be eligible, a vehicle must be substantially changed from the previous model or a completely new vehicle.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials