Ford Truck Award
Orlin Wagner  /  AP
In this Oct. 1, 2008 file photo, the 2009 F150 pickup truck is displayed in front of the Kansas City Ford Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.
updated 12/16/2008 8:59:07 AM ET 2008-12-16T13:59:07

Motor Trend said Tuesday it has voted Ford Motor Co.'s F-150 model truck as its 2009 Truck of the Year, the third time in its production history that the half-ton pickup has taken top billing.

In 2008, Toyota Motor Co.'s Tundra pickup truck took the prize.

"The stakes were high and the field of contenders was among the best yet for this year's voting," said Angus MacKenzie, editor in chief of Motor Trend. "Despite the downturn in the economy, the pickup truck remains the automotive backbone of America, providing a tough, durable workhorse for business and recreational users alike. No matter what shape the American auto industry emerges from the current crisis, the pickup truck will remain a key part of the American automotive landscape."

Motor Trend, a unit of media and marketing services company Source Interlink Cos. Inc., said the report will be published in the magazine's February issue, available on newsstands Jan. 6.

The Ford F-150 was one of four trucks eligible for the Truck of the Year title. The other contenders were the Dodge Ram 1500, Suzuki Equator and the Hummer H3T. To be eligible, a vehicle must be totally new or redesigned, and released in the 12 months before Jan. 1, 2009.

Ford claims it sells more of its half-ton pickups to work and commercial customers than its competitors, and the company predicts this segment will grow to 45 percent of F-150 sales. The automaker is struggling, however, amid the continued rapid deceleration in the nation's car market and as the housing downturn hurts construction activity.

The company's U.S. sales tumbled 30 percent in November, as the iconic Detroit automaker submitted a transformation plan to Congress, cancelling 2009 bonuses for most workers and requesting a $9 billion bridge financing loan.

Ford sold 118,818 vehicles last month, down from 169,258 vehicles in the same month last year. Sales of Ford brand cars and trucks plunged 30 percent, with total truck sales falling 29 percent to 81,546 vehicles in November.

So far this year, Ford Motor Co. sales are down 19.2 percent to 1.8 million vehicles, compared with 2.2 million sold in the first 11 months of 2007.

Founded in 1949, Motor Trend has a circulation of 1.1 million and a total readership of 7.1 million.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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