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AUTOMOBILE Magazine Names the Nissan GT-R Automobile of the Year

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ANN ARBOR, Mich.November 11, 2008; AUTOMOBILE Magazine announced today that the Nissan GT-R is the 2009 Automobile of the Year. The magazine also named the Audi A5 Design of the Year, Honda president and CEO Takeo Fukui Man of the Year, and Direct Fuel Injection Technology of the Year.

The winners are featured in the pages of the January 2009 issue of AUTOMOBILE Magazine, available on newsstands beginning December 2, 2008.

2009 Automobile of the Year: Nissan GT-R

The much anticipated Nissan GT-R is the first Japanese supercar to seriously threaten the reigning opposition, many of whom the GT-R bested on Germany's renowned Nurburgring. Editors noted that while the Nissan GT-R rides like a subway car, sounds like an appliance and weighs a ton, it still deserved to be named Automobile of the Year for delivering high-intensity fun and astonishing performance.

For decades, previous versions of the GT-R were never exported to the United States. Now we know what we've been missing, and are we happy to be invited to the party, said Jean Jennings, president and editor-in-chief of AUTOMOBILE Magazine. What we love about the GT-R is that it refuses to compromise. It is not comfortable, it is not trying to make friends and it is not trying to influence people. It exists for one reason only to go fast and it does.

In awarding the GT-R its ultimate prize, AUTOMOBILE Magazine editors cited the cars neck-snapping acceleration, super-accurate steering and incredible value by supercar standards.

Design of the Year: Audi A5

AUTOMOBILE Magazine's Design of the Year is notable for its restraint, elegance, and perfect execution on the interior and not just the exterior, according to editors. Initially, the editors were skeptical of Volkswagen Group design chief Walter de Silvas assertion that the Audi A5 is his best-ever design. It was on seeing the A5 on the road, however, that the magazine's editors could fully appreciate the quality of the A5s total design. Audi has indeed created a beautiful car.

The first point of appreciation comes upon approaching the car, said Design Editor Robert Cumberford. The second comes when the door is opened to one of the best interiors offered today, in any car at any price. The A5's elegance, stability, and sheer visual presence make it a clear winner.

Man of the Year: Takeo Fukui - President, Honda Motor Company

In a year when the U.S. auto market has been challenged by fuel prices and the financial meltdown, Honda stands as an exception. With Takeo Fukui at the reins, Honda maintained a diverse model mix, especially in the small-car arena, and successfully positioned itself for the current marketplace.

Under Takeo Fukui, Honda has successfully avoided faddish trends, said AUTOMOBILE Magazine Senior Editor Joe Lorio. He stayed true to the founding principles of Soichiro Honda and his successors by focusing on engineering excellence and following an independent course. That reason alone is why Takeo Fukui is AUTOMOBILE Magazine's 2009 Man of the Year.

Editors noted that Fukui is looking ahead to future technologies and leading the company outside of the mainstream. Under Fukui, Honda looked outside of its home market of Japan to develop a well-regarded diesel engine in Europe, and is the only automaker to have put fuel cell cars into the hands of paying customers.

Technology of the Year: Direct Fuel Injection

Direct injection - squirting pressurized fuel straight into each cylinder - has finally come to the fore. Sending gasoline or diesel fuel directly into an engine's combustion chambers improves power and mileage while minimizing emissions. The technology is the key to keeping internal-combustion engines relevant in the future, even extending the lives of engines at least another decade or two. For enabling a major step forward in gas and diesel engine power, efficiency, and cleanliness, direct fuel injection is the 2009 AUTOMOBILE Magazine Technology of the Year.

After decades of headaches, direct injection is gaining production application, said Technical Editor Don Sherman. Common-rail, direct-injection systems brought noisy, dirty, and sluggish diesel-engine cars back from the dead, first in Europe and now in North America.