“Car of the Year” choice causes controversy

Every year, auto enthusiasts the world over wait with baited breath to find out which vehicle will be awarded Motor Trend Magazine's coveted "Car Of The Year" award. Past winners have included such American classics as the Mustang and Corvette, as well as foreign car-makers like BMW and Volkswagen.

However, every once in a while, the magazine that is considered by many in the auto industry to be akin to the Bible, will throw fans a curveball and give the big prize to a car that no one saw coming. This year, the magazine awarded one of the biggest prizes in the industry to the Tesla S Roadster, an all-electric car that is made by an independent manufacturer based out of California.

The car came out of nowhere to beat out new entries from brands like Cadillac and Acura, who have each taken the title in past competitions. This is one of the first times that Motor Trend has even considered a car from such a small company to compete in the rankings, though it is hardly the first time a choice has come out of left field.

One example is the 1993 winner, the Ford Probe GT. Looking back, editors must surely be cringing, as this thing was uglier than a Saturn and had long-term quality issues that would plague owners for years to come.

Another mistake came in 1980, when Motor Trend actually congratulated GM for producing its miserable line of X-body subcompacts when it named the Chevy Citation the "Car of the Year." These cars were the beginning of a long, sad tradition of American carmakers building sub-par small cars that, if anything, helped boost the profile of the foreign competition.

This wasn't the first time that Motor Trend would regret rewarding Chevy, as the both the Vega and the Corvair were given the distinction, in 1971 and 1960, respectively – two cars that have now become synonymous with scandals that revealed serious safety hazards.

Do you think that Motor Trend will regret their choice this year or that their decision is a sign of the times? Leave your comments below: