The North American Car of the Year award panel has added a sport utility vehicle category for 2017. As SUV’s and crossovers make significant gains in popularity in North America, the panel responsible for doling out the award have decided it was time to add the third category.

“SUVs’ booming popularity is changing the auto industry. Customers use SUVs for everything from work to family transportation to off-road recreation. The NACTOY jury recognizes that with the new award,” said  NACTOY president, Mark Phelan.

Prior to the SUV addition the committee only sought award winners in the “car” and “truck” categories. The narrow focus has led to some arguments in recent years that the truck award was too broad.

The short-list of potential winners for all three categories will be announced on December 6, 2016. Winners for all three will be announced at the North American International Auto Show on January 9, 2017.