Michigan made cars take home auto honors

Two Michigan made autos have nabbed car and truck of the year honors at the annual Detroit Auto Show.

Two Michigan made autos have nabbed car and truck of the year honors at the annual Detroit Auto Show.

The Cadillac ATS was named Car of the Year while the Ram 1500 pickup took home the Truck of the Year award.

The awards, judged from a panel of 49 auto critics, were announced Monday and have become very important for sales.

The Cadillac ATS is a compact luxury car that is built to compete with the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes C-Class.

This year marks the first win for Cadillac in the 20-year history of the award, though GM has won Car of the Year five times, including a 2011 victory with the Chevrolet Volt.

The Ram victory gave the Chrysler Group its first win since 2005 when the Chrysler 300 took home the Car of the Year award.

Awards are nothing new for the Ram 1500 pickup, however. The truck has already won the Motor Trend Truck of the Year honors, one of the industries most prestigious awards.

This pickup boats a significantly increased fuel economy, averaging 20 miles per gallon, a 25% improvement from the previous year's model.

It was a shutout for Ford this year, unexpectedly, which was nominated in both categories and expected to take home at least one award.

Meanwhile at the auto show, the head of Chrysler's Jeep brand says the company is in talks to build some of it's vehicles in China for that market.

Jeep's President and CEO Mike Manley told reporters during press previews for the auto show that any production would be "relatively incremental." Jeep sells several models in China, including the Grand Cherokee, Wrangler and Compass.

Chrysler is owned by Italian carmaker Fiat SpA. Manley says Jeep has been talking with a Fiat partner in China about production.

Manley says the Wrangler always will be built in the U.S. and the brand's home is "always going to be" the U.S.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, GOP candidate Mitt Romney came under criticism for an ad saying Chrysler would build Jeeps in China.