17 November 2008

Euro vision

Vauxhall's Insignia wins Car of the Year gong

Vauxhall Insignia

Things might be rapidly turning smelly for GM, but here’s a bright spot. The Insignia has won European Car of the Year 2009.

Mind you, it was a close shave. Its points tally was 321 and the Ford Fiesta got just a point fewer. That’s really close. Like, as close as GM is to bankruptcy.

The award is judged by 59 jurors (including our very own Paul Horrell) from 23 countries across Europe. They arrive at a shortlist of seven cars every October. At the second round they have 25 points to distribute, and the maximum they can give to any one car is 10.

People sometimes say that it’s all a bit Eurovision Song Contest, with clear national voting blocks. But looking at the votes, it ain’t really so.

To be eligible for COTY, a car must be launched within the past 12 months. And it must be available in at least five European countries. And it must be properly new, so just an estate version or a facelift won’t do it. Nor will a new ashtray on a 911. Sadly.

As to the old GM-Ford faceoff, the last time Ford won was only two years ago, with the S-Max. That time the Corsa was just two points behind.

No BMW has ever won, and the last time Mercedes netted the trophy was 1974. Huh?

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