The Golden Globes and American football playoffs may have monopolised eyeballs on Sunday night, but at the first press conference of the Detroit auto show on 14 January, at least a few hundred were usurped by the crowning of the Cadillac ATS and Ram 1500, winners of North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards, respectively.

This was the first year for the expanded Truck/Utility category, reflecting an expanding roster of crossover utility vehicles, said Michelle Krebs, of, who presented the award. This year’s cadre of 49 jurors consisted of North American automotive journalists in print, digital and broadcast media.

“This is the proudest moment ever for the Ram brand”, said Ram president Fred Diaz. Ram – which was spun off in recent years from Dodge, the Chrysler division, as a stand-alone brand – was the inaugural recipient of the award two decades ago. It beat out the Ford C-Max hybrid MPV and Mazda’s CX-5 crossover sport-utility vehicle, itself the recipient of Japan Car of the Year in 2012-13.

The ATS, General Motors’ attempt to replicate, if not surpass, the benchmarked BMW 3 Series, claimed top honours over the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord sedans. Upon receiving the award, Dave Leone, ATS vehicle line executive, said the model presaged the first of many Cadillacs to “get it right, and get it light”.