DETROIT — Mass-market customers are well-served by this year's winners of the North American Car and Truck of the Year 2000 award. Ford Motor Co. beats out Audi AG — and its own Lincoln Div. — with the Focus subcompact besting the other NACOTY finalists, the Audi TT and Lincoln LS.

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. enjoyed confirmation of its resurging market acumen, as the popular-with-the-young-buyer Xterra sport/utility vehicle (SUV) is a surprise winner over the Toyota Motor Co. Ltd. Tundra pickup. Daimler-Chrysler's Dodge Dakota Quad Cab was the other NATOTY 2000 finalist.

This year marks the seventh year for the NACOTY and NOTOTY awards, which are patterned after the longstanding European Car of the Year award. A panel of 47 North American journalists — including WEVTU Editor Bill Visnic — nominates each year's contestants, from which three finalists and the eventual winner are selected for North American Car and Truck of the Year.