DETROIT: Ailing automaker General Motors began the new year with something to smile about, thanks to forty-nine US and Canadian motoring journalists who voted its Saturn Aura saloon and Chevrolet Silverado truck as 'Vehicles of the Year' for 2007.

The awards, announced at the 100th annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit, were greeted with delight by Jill Lajdziak, general manager of Saturn.

She said: "This is a great day for General Motors. Just watch us grow and continue as we continue to revitalize this brand."

The victory was all the more satisfying for GM as the Aura beat two Japanese rivals to the accolade, the Toyota Camry and the Honda Fit.

The Silverado overcame challenges from the Ford Edge and Mazda CX-7 to win its truck of the year title. Commented Chevrolet general manager Ed Peper: "Everybody has worked extremely hard to get this day and time."

GM lost $115 million (€88.4m; £59.5m) in the three months to September 2006. Its turnaround plan calls for the closure of fourteen plants and the slashing of its manufacturing payrolls in the US and Canada by around 35,000 jobs in the next few years.

Chairman/ceo Rick Wagoner says this will save the company $9 billion annually.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff