Not A Car of the Year

Not a Car of the YearAnother Not a Car of the Year
There’s a FIFA flavour about Car of the Year voting. Clear winners don’t get prizes. In 20 years COTY has never elected a Jaguar, Range Rover or Land Rover. It can’t be anti-Englishness. Munich doesn’t come off well either. There has been no BMW. A range that goes from Rolls-Royce to Mini has never met COTY criteria. The 57-strong jury that elected the electric Nissan may be environmentally aware, yet it doesn’t do safety. Volvo and Saab have never featured. Engineering excellence? Bentley has never made it despite the W12’s technological mastery. Production quality? There have been no Hondas. Value for money? No Skodas or Seats.

Still Not a Car of the Year
Not only have these exemplary makes never won top award, they have never made the first three. Mercedes-Benz did once, a lowly third in 1994. Korean makes have been excluded so strong sellers with long warranties, it seems, don’t count. There has never been a Porsche or an Aston Martin.

Unworthy as a Car of the Year, any year
I have long had qualms about COTY. Judge the jury’s deliberations since my Sunday Times column covered the 1991 Car of the Year.

Right click to enlarge copy
1992: VW Golf, Vauxhall/Opel Astra, Citroën ZX 1993: Nissan Micra, Fiat Cinquecento, Renault Safrane 1994: Ford Mondeo, Citroën Xantia, Mercedes-Benz C-class 1995: Fiat Punto, VW Polo, Vauxhall/Opel Omega 1996: Fiat Bravo, Peugeot 406, Audi A4 1997: Renault Mégane Scénic, Ford Ka, VW Passat 1998: Alfa Romeo 156, VW Golf, Audi A6 1999: Ford Focus, Vauxhall/Opel Astra, Peugeot 206 2000: Toyota Yaris, Fiat Multipla, Vauxhall/Opel Zafira 2001: Alfa Romeo 147, Ford Mondeo, Toyota Prius 2002: Peugeot 307, Renault Laguna, Fiat Stilo 2003: Renault Mégane, Mazda 6, Citroën C3 2004 Fiat Panda, Mazda 3, VW Golf 2005 Toyota Prius, Citroën C4, Ford Focus 2006 Renault Clio, VW Passat, Alfa Romeo 159 2007: Ford S-Max, VauxhallOpel Corsa, Citroën C4 Picasso 2008: Fiat 500, Mazda 2, Ford Mondeo 2009: Vauxhall/Opel Insignia, Ford Fiesta, VW Golf 2010: VW Polo, Toyota IQ, Vauxhall/Opel Astra 2011 Nissan Leaf, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Vauxhall/Opel Meriva.

That makes eight Vauxhall/Opels, eight VWs, eight Fords, seven Fiats, five Renaults, five Citroëns, four Toyotas, four Alfa Romeos, three Peugeots, three Mazdas, two Nissans and two Audis.

Never made it into first three as Car of the Year
COTY jurists’ integrity is beyond reproach. They must believe the Nissan Leaf is worthy, never mind what this blog thinks, nor Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph: “Even with a taxpayer subsidy of £20.7 million, to allow the price of each of these supposedly planet-saving vehicles to be brought down to £23,000, this will only enable the lucky purchaser to drive quite slowly for 100miles…”
Yet another Not a Car of the Year