Looking at the list of nominees for the 2010 NACOTY, there's a lot of exciting stuff.  The ravenous new X4.  The CTS, taking Caddy's edgy shape to its next level.  Ford's new Taurus, the best thing to happen to large American cars in a long time.  Soul, Kia's low cost statement.  Porsche's Panamera, the latest in their Brand extension program.  Camaro's re-birth, etc..

But it seems that to qualify for NACOTY, there should be more required than engineering improvements (as significant as some are), romantic design or new catagory entries.

The NACOTY should be a game-changer.  A zig to the indursty's zag.  Something that portends a new direction.

And that is why this piece suggests that NACOTY award should go to the Buick LaCrosse.

Because of it's fluid new shape.  Nope.

Because of its nod to eco-consciousness by forgoing a big V-8 as its upmarket motor and instead fitting a slightly de-tuned version of the V-6 currently making its statement in Cadillacs and Camaros.  Nope.

Because of its radical, breathtaking, high-tech, gorgeous, unique (add adjectives as you see fit) interior with its otherworldly blue glow arcing across the dash.  Could be.  But nope.

Here's why and how the LaCross is so radical.

Reason #1.  Buick cars were among the first American cars imported into China.  At that time, only the highest-ranking Government officials could drive them.

This established Buick among the face-conscious Chinese as an upscale car.

Reason #2.  Buicks are sought-after by the same high-ranking Government types as well as China's emerging businessmen and industrialists. 

Buick has been so successful that today more Buicks are sold in China than in the U.S.A. True fact.

Reason #3.  All of these people are much too important to drive, so they sit in the rear seat leaving the Chinese equivalent of Jeeves to do the wheeling.

As a result, the rear compartment of the new Buick LaCrosse is sized, styled and appointed to the levels only heartofore seen in high-end luxury cars.

And this is the reason the new LaCrosse deserves the NACOTY.

For years the talk has been that American car companies had to get serious about overseas markets. 

But it was always the same thing.  The American market gets what we want, and the export markets make do.

With the LaCrosse, Buick is building what they want.  And guess what.  It ain't bad.

This clearly shows a new kind of thinking at good old GM.

Which is good for a North American Car Of the Year Award any day.