Trucks made as much news as cars at the Detroit auto show -- but no automaker made more news than General Motors.
Chevrolet won both the 2014 Car and Truck awards claiming honors for the Corvette Stingray and redesigned full-size Chevrolet Silverado pickup, the first time the bowtie brand has won both honors the same year. Ford did it in 2010 with the Fusion Hybrid and the Transit Connect truck.
"I'm really proud of the whole global product development team, starting with design through engineering and powertrain," said new GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, who took over Wednesday with the retirement of outgoing Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. "They've worked really hard. They've sweated the details of each and every aspect of those vehicles."
Company executives said the resurgence at Chevrolet shows how far GM has come since the bankruptcy and government bailout five years ago. GM sold 9.71 million vehicles in 2013, up 400,000 from 2012, and is looking to keep the momentum going and improve on its nearly 18 percent market share in the United States. Fifteen new or refreshed vehicles are scheduled for U.S. introductions this year and around 17 new or updated vehicles in China.
GM has posted 15 straight profitable quarters -- making billions -- and is paying a 30 cents per share dividend on common stock March 28, its first dividend since emerging from bankruptcy.
"Today's General Motors is designing high-quality, world-class vehicles for our customers and delivering consistently solid financial results," Akerson said in a statement. "The board understands that our investors should share in this success and is pleased to announce a quarterly dividend for our common stockholders."
Polishing its halo vehicle, Chevy debuted the racetrack-ready 2015 Corvette Stingray Z06 -- whose all-aluminum 6.2-liter supercharged V8 puts out at least 625 horsepower and 635 pound-feet of torque. The X06 has either a seven-speed manual transmission or an eight-speed full automatic with paddle shifters.
General Motors North America President Mark Reuss said the Z06 rivals "the most exotic supercars in the world."
Chevy sold 4.98 million vehicles worldwide in 2013, a record.
"We're right in the middle of 32 new products between 2013 and 2014," Barra said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. "My hope is as we continue to get more of these award-winning products out into the marketplace that we will get attention and continue to win customers."
Barra said she hopes consumers who ordinarily bypass Chevrolet and General Motors will come into a showroom "because I'm confident if they get to the showroom, they're going to see a lot of vehicles they'll like."
The other finalists for 2014 car of the year were the Cadillac CTS and the all-new Mazda3 compact. The Silverado beat the all-new Jeep Cherokee and Acura MDX for 2014 truck of the year.
The winners are determined by a jury of 48 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.
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Original headline: Auto Outlook: Corvette Stingray, Silverado pickup earn top honors
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