World Car of the Year Awards

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April 18, 2006 The World Car of the Year Awards were announced over the weekend at the New York International Auto Show with the BMW 3-Series awarded the 2006 World Car of the Year, the Citroen C4 declared the World Car Design of the Year for 2006, the Porsche Cayman S taking out the 2006 World Performance Car title and the Honda Civic Hybrid scoring the title of World Green Car for 2006. The awards are the most prestigious of all automotive awards because the program is initiated by, organized by, and conducted by, automotive journalists from around the globe. Final voting on a variety of parameters is done by a jury of 46 international automotive journalists with voting tabulated by KPMG. Read on to see the details and the top three placegetters in each category.

WORLD CAR OF THE YEAR 2006

The BMW 3-Series was chosen from an initial entry list of twenty-seven (27) candidates nominated by the World Car jurors.

In selecting the winner a jury of 46 international automotive journalists considered a variety of parameters; then individually reviewed, evaluated, and voted on the World Car of the Year entrants by secret ballot. The international accounting firm KPMG tabulated the ballots to first determine the finalists, and finally the winner.

Jurors observed that there has been considerable proliferation of models from BMW, from entry-level 1-Series hatchbacks to 500 hp M-Series supercars, but the heart of the BMW mystique lies, as it has for decades, with the 3-Series: sound, sensible and sporty sedans, coupes, convertibles and wagons.

Jurors felt that tradeoffs between performance and practicality; between style and seriousness are more perfectly balanced with the 3-Series than is the case with any other make. Variants include all-wheel drive models for difficult winters, ultra-high performance M models, and highly efficient four- and six-cylinder diesels.

Without changes from their basic specifications, the BMW 3 Series does the job as though specifically designed for local conditions.

The top three contenders for the second annual World Car of the Year in addition to the BMW 3-Series were the Mazda MX-5 and the Porsche Cayman S

WORLD CAR DESIGN 2006

The top three contenders for World Car Design of the Year were the Citroen C4 as well as the BMW 3-Series and the European version of the Honda Civic / Civic Hybrid.

The Citroën C4, which won the top design honours, incorporates the same stylistic originality that defined the brand's reputation in the past, without reverting to a retro look. It is a modern, cost-effective design that allows two different body styles for the five- and three-door versions, creating two distinctly different looks from a common base.

Aerodynamics, a traditional cornerstone of the Citroën character, also play a key role. Other references to tradition, evolved in contemporary form, include Citroën's historical one-spoke steering wheel, manifested here as a tight two-spoke design in which the rim rotates while the hub housing all the controls remains fixed. True to its heritage, the car marches to the beat of its own drummer.

Claude Satinet, general managing director of Automobiles Citroën, made the following comments once the winner was known : “The C4 reflects Citroën commitment to bringing customers innovative and appealing cars. The C4 design is an excellent demonstration of Citroën’s knowledge, to create a design presenting three completely different cars, C4 coupé, C4 Berline and C-Triomphe on the same platform, with the same technology and safety level, and in this way obtaining 5 stars in the EuroNcap crash tests. The World Car Design award proves our capacity to innovate in modern car design and this new award for the C4 adds to the long list of prizes won in many countries around the world in 2005.”

The Citroen C4 was chosen from an initial entry list of twenty-seven (27) candidates nominated by the World Car of the Year jurors. All candidates for the overall World Car of the Year award, and only those vehicles, were eligible for the World Car Design of the Year Award.

A panel of four design experts was chosen by the World Car of the Year Steering Committee to first review each candidate, and then establish a short-list of six recommendations for the jury. Jurors then voted on those recommendations. . The international accounting firm KPMG tabulated all ballots to first determine the finalists, and finally the winner.

The four design experts were in alphabetical order:

Silvia Baruffaldi, Managing Editor, Auto & Design magazine: based in Turin, Italy, Ms. Baruffaldi has worked for the bi-monthly magazine since 1988. Thanks to Auto & Design, she has contacts with design centres of car makers and consultant studios from all over the world. Ms. Baruffaldi also contributes design articles to Il Sole 24 Ore, an Italian financial daily newspaper, and to Autokampioen in The Netherlands.

Peter Brock: best known as the designer of the classically beautiful, World Championship-winning Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, Brock also penned the sketches that ultimately turned into the Corvette Stingray. He taught auto design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and today remains involved with design on such cars as the South African-built Superformance Brock Coupe.

Robert Cumberford, Automobile and Auto & Design magazines. Both a car designer and a writer specializing in design for over 20 years, the first car made to Cumberford’s sketches - a one-off special body for a Jaguar chassis — was built when he was 15 years old. At 19 he was a designer for General Motors (Chevrolet Corvettes). He taught transportation design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

Akira Fujimoto, Editor-in-Chief, Car Styling magazine: based in Tokyo, Japan, Mr. Fujimoto has worked for the bi-monthly magazine, published in Japanese and English, since 1979. Mr. Fujimoto has a long and distinguished career as a judge: Japan’s Car Design Award; International Car Design Competition; Car of the Century; Concept Car of the Year by Automotive News International; and the World Automotive Design Competition sponsored by Alias (now Autodesk).

WORLD PERFORMANCE CAR 2006

The Porsche Cayman S was chosen from an initial entry list of twenty-nine (29) candidates nominated by the World Car of the Year jurors. The top three contenders for the World Performance Car in addition to the Porsche Cayman S were the Audi RS4 and the BMW M5.

The Porsche Cayman S impressed the World Car jury with its distinct presence set squarely between the Boxster and 911. The 295-horsepower coupe possesses all of the balance of the Boxster's rear-mid engine placement and all of the body stiffness of a 911 coupe, while its sonorous flat six-cylinder engine delivers a seamless rush of middleweight punch. The Cayman S polishes Porsche’s halo with its perfect combination of stellar handling, looks and power. It is truly a world-class performer.

"Positioned between the 911 and the Boxster, the Porsche Cayman S has established its own unique styling and performance identity," related Peter Schwarzenbauer, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America in receiving the award on behalf of Porsche. "Its selection as World Performance Car of the Year for 2006 is an early indicator it will take its place along side these two famed models as yet another benchmark sports car from Porsche."

The World Performance Car award is just one of a trio of specialty awards announced by the World Car of the Year steering committee last October. Performance, design, and environmental responsibility are all key elements in the success of a vehicle on a global scale. Accordingly, it is appropriate to recognize exceptional achievement in those specific areas with their own awards.

To be eligible for the World Performance award a vehicle had to have a specific and overt performance/sports orientation; be all-new or substantially revised; be in production, in quantities of at least 1000 per year; and introduced for sale to consumers in at least one major market during calendar year 2005.

WORLD GREEN CAR 2006

The Honda Civic Hybrid was chosen from an initial entry list of twenty-one (21) candidates nominated by the World Car of the Year jurors.

The Civic Hybrid averages a combined U.S. city/highway fuel economy of 50 mpg (U.S.) by mating a lightweight 1.3-liter, 4-cylinder, variable valve (VVT) engine, a 20- hp electric motor, and a fourth-generation continuously variable transmission (CVT) into a hybrid-electric configuration. A Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system shuts down all four cylinders to permit full-hybrid electric-only operation. The Civic Hybrid achieves California’s stringent PZEV (Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle) tailpipe emission certification.

The top three contenders for World Green Car were the Honda Civic Hybrid as well as the Citroen C1 1.4 Hdi (Diesel) and the Lexus RX 400h/Toyota Harrier Hybrid:

“Honda continues to be a leader in producing environmentally responsible vehicles that set the standard for fuel economy and low emissions," said John Mendel, Senior Vice President, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “The award-winning 2006 Civic Hybrid is the latest embodiment of Honda’s long-term commitment to the development of environmentally friendly technologies that are also fun to drive.”

The World Car of the Year Awards are intended to reflect today’s auto industry and market trends. Northing is more au courant than concern for the environment – hence the creation of this eco-friendly category.

To be eligible for the World Green Car award, a vehicle had to be all-new or substantially revised, in production and introduced for sale to consumers in at least one major market between September 2004 and January 2006. In addition, the cars had to satisfy one or more of the following “green” criterion:

a. Tailpipe emissions equal to or better than California SULEV or US EPA Tier 2, Bin2, or Euro V regulations, or equivalent.

b. Fuel consumption equal to or lower than 5.0 L/100km (47.6 mpg US) combined (55% City + 45% Highway) or equivalent.

c. Use of an advanced powerplant technology aimed specifically at increasing the vehicle's environmental responsibility (e.g. - hybrid)

A panel of three “green” experts was chosen by the World Car Steering Committee to first review all documentation associated with each “green” candidate, then establish a short-list of eight recommendations for the jury. Jurors then voted on the eight recommendations. The international accounting firm KPMG tabulated all ballots to first determine the finalists, and finally the winner.

The three “green” experts were in alphabetical order:

Yasuhiko Kawamura: a contributor to Japan’s Car and Driver magazine, Motor Magazine, Car Graphic, Rosso, Web Car Graphic, and autobytel-japan.com. Kawamura is consulted by Japanese manufacturers whenever they require a critique on new product, whether it be hybrid, fuel cell or gasoline powered. He is a mechanical engineering graduate from Japan's Kogakuin University and votes on the Japan Car of the Year jury panel.

James Kliesch: a Research Associate with the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the author and principal vehicle analyst of ACEEE’s Green Book® Online, the pre-eminent U.S. buyer’s guide to environmentally friendly vehicles. He has worked on an array of energy-related topics, including computer modeling of vehicle emissions, vehicle lifecycle assessments, and CO2 emissions trend analyses.

Dr. Ferdinand Panik: the former Vice-President of DaimlerChrysler AG and head of the Group’s strategic fuel cell project. Under his management, the first fuel cell cars running on hydrogen and methanol were set up, as well as the first commercial demonstration vehicles (buses and vans) powered by fuel cells. Dr. Ferdinand Panik initiated the cooperative ventures of DaimlerChrysler with carmaker Ford and with fuel cell producer Ballard Power Systems, e.g. the “California Fuel Cell Partnership”. Since 2003 he is Professor for Alternative Vehicle Concepts at the University of Applied Science in Esslingen in Germany.

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