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GM sweeps 2014 North American car and truck awards at Detroit show

Tadge Juechter, chief engineer for the Corvette, poses with the Car of the Year Award next to a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray during the press preview day of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 13, 2014. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM) on Monday swept the coveted awards handed out each year at the start of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, claiming the top prize in both the car and truck categories.

The company's redesigned Chevrolet Corvette Stingray was named 2014 North American car of the year by a jury of automotive writers, while its redesigned full-size Chevrolet Silverado pickup was named 2014 North American truck/utility of the year.

It was the first time in GM's history that it won both awards in the same year.

The milestone came just days before GM is scheduled to make history in another way: On Wednesday, Mary Barra, head of the U.S. $15 billion global product development group, Will replace Dan Akerson as CEO, becoming the first-ever female chief of a global automaker.

The recognition of the Silverado also comes at a good time for GM. Last week, the company said it was recalling about 370,000 pickups, including some of the redesigned Silverados, to reprogram software that could cause parts of the exhaust to overheat and lead to fire.

GM said eight fires had been caused by the problem, but there were no injuries. The company said all of the fires had occurred in very cold places, and it urged customers to avoid leaving trucks idling unattended.

Finalists for car of the year included the Cadillac CTS and the Mazda3.

Truck/utility of the year finalists included the Acura MDX and the Jeep Cherokee.

(Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Nick Zieminski)