March 21, 2008 The World Car of the Year Awards began in 2005 when the Audi A6 triumphed, followed by the BMW 3-Series in 2006 and the Lexus LS460 last year. This year the top three contenders for 2008 World Car of the Year title were the Ford Mondeo, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Mazda2/Mazda Demio, which became the first compact car to win the award. Remarkably, the Audi R8 took out two of the main gongs, Car Design of the Year and Performance Car of the Year, but didn’t make the main event. The 2008 World Green Car of the Year was the BMW 118d
The Mazda2/Mazda Demio was chosen from an initial entry list of thirty-nine (39) entries nominated by forty-seven (47) World Car jurors from twenty-four (24) countries throughout the world. Each juror was appointed by the World Car Steering Committee on the basis of his or her expertise, experience, credibility, and influence. Each juror typically drives and evaluates new vehicles on a regular basis as part of their professional work.
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WCOTY jurors observed that, "This fresh Mazda compact makes thefirst-generation one-box-ish Mazda2/Demio fade into the mists of time even more so. The new version is exactly that -- completely new; particularly on the outside. The two-door sportier look was recently unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and reviews around the world have been primarily one big 'thumbs up'. Consumers will be drawn to the new Mazda compact because of its very appealing looks and high levels of standard equipment for the price."
"We are honored to receive this prestigious award recognizing the Mazda2/Mazda Demio as the 2008 World Car of the Year," said Dan Morris, Mazda's senior managing executive officer in charge of Marketing, Sales and Customer Service. "This is wonderful recognition which Mazda2 car owners and Mazda employees alike can celebrate worldwide.
"The all-new Mazda2 is exceeding our highest expectations, demonstrating it can compete and win against the best compact cars in any market in the world and is earning glowing praise at home and globally, having also won a number Car of the Year awards around the globe, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, New Zealand, and the RJC Car of the Year award in Japan."
The 2008 World Performance Car of the Year - Audi R8
The 2008 World Performance Car award, presented by Mobil 1, went to the Audi R8. Candidates for the World Performance Car award must demonstrate a specific and overt Sports/Performance orientation. They must also satisfy the same availability criteria as for the overall World Car award and may be chosen from that list of eligible vehicles.
Additional entrants may include newly introduced variants that satisfy the same criteria, but are derived from existing rather than brand-new models. In all cases, they must have a minimum annual production rate of five-hundred (500) vehicles.
"Last year, the Audi RS 4 won the World Performance Car award and we are thrilled to have retained the title with the Audi R8," said Johan De Nysschen, Executive Vice President of Audi of America. "This award is recognition for the superb work done by the engineers and designers who worked on the R8. It has immediately taken up a leadership position in the super sports car segment. We are also delighted that the World Car of the Year jurors voted the Audi S5 into the top three."
Mobil 1 announced its sponsorship of the World Performance Car award in November 2007. "Mobil 1 has long been recognized as the world's leading fully synthetic motor oil by authorities, such as vehicle engineers, manufacturers and car enthusiasts. We understand the value and honor of being singled out and acknowledged as a global leader noted for outstanding and superior performance in lubrication," said Nancy Carlson, strategic global alliances -- sales director, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Petroleum Specialties. "The Mobil 1 team was pleased to sponsor the 2008 Performance Car of the Year award and congratulates the Audi R8 on the achievement of being named the 2008 world's top performance car by the global panel of renowned automotive journalists serving on the Car of the Year jury."
Previous World Performance Car winners were the Audi RS4 in 2007 and the Porsche Cayman S in 2006.
2008 World Green Car of the Year - BMW 118d "BMW is very excited that the BMW 118d with EfficientDynamics won the World Green Car title," said Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO of BMW of North America. "The measures that we've implemented within our EfficientDynamics strategy into every BMW mean that we're able to provide customers with the driving pleasure they expect from a BMW, while still meeting the stringent requirements for fuel-efficiency and low emissions."
Jurors felt that BMW's EfficientDynamics technology, as applied to the 118d, comprises a range of features and improvements with the specific purpose of reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions. Its 143-hp, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine, with third-generation common-rail fuel injection, piezo-injectors, and up to 2,000 bar injection pressure is said to reduce fuel consumption by up to eight percent.
The top three contenders for the third annual World Green Car in addition to the BMW 118d with EfficientDynamics were the Mercedes-Benz Smart fortwo cdi and the Volkswagen Passat 1.9 TDI.
Previous World Car winners were the Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec in 2007 and the Honda Civic Hybrid in 2006.
Now in their fifth year, the annual World Car awards have become one of the most prestigious and credible programs of their type in the world.
The awards were inaugurated in 2003, and officially launched in January 2004, to reflect the reality of the global marketplace, as well as to recognize and reward automotive excellence on an international scale. The awards are intended to complement, not compete, with existing national and regional Car of the Year programs.
The awards are administered by a non-profit association, under the guidance of a Steering Committee of pre-eminent automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America. There is no affiliation with, nor are the awards in any way influenced by any publication, auto show, automaker, or other commercial enterprise. 2008 World Car Design - Audi R8
The top three design finalists were, in alphabetical order, the Audi R8, the Mazda2 / Mazda Demio and the Volvo C30.
The World Car Design of the Year category, and the corresponding award, is meant to highlight new vehicles with innovation and style that push established boundaries.
The World Car jurors praised Audi for “….transforming the sports car landscape”. “The R8 design is striking, original and full of interesting details, from the nose strakes to the much discussed vertical ‘blade’ behind the B pillar”. World Car design expert, Tom Matano, commented, “It is a great visual representation of the technology within…..a complete package of Techno-Iconic Design”. The R8 looks just as good as it performs, which is saying something. In design consultant Robert Cumberford’s opinion, the Audi is a “real tour de force in style, performance and practicality.”
“Having won the World Car Design of the Year award last year with the new Audi TT, it is a real pleasure to make it two in a row with the Audi R8,” said Johan De Nysschen, Executive Vice President of Audi of America. “Our designers surpassed themselves with our first super sports car, which is both a show-stopper and a traffic-stopper. Characteristic features such as LED headlights and customizable sideblades make the Audi R8 instantly recognizable. We are delighted that our designers' work has been acknowledged in this way by the World Car of the Year jurors.”
Previous winners of the World Car Design of the Year award were the Audi TT in 2007 and the Citroen C4 in 2006.View gallery - 7 images