The coveted European Car of the Year title belongs to Vauxhall and Opel for the next year. An international jury, comprising 59 of the most important motoring journalists from 23 countries, presented the marble and coloured-metals trophy for the new Vauxhall Insignia in the place where the successful model is built, in General Motors Europe's headquarters in Russelsheim.
As more than 500 employees proudly looked on, jury chairman Ray Hutton awarded the prize to GME President Carl-Peter Forster. Steve Cropley, editor-in-chief of Autocar magazine, which also initiated the award, and Vauxhall's marketing director, Andy Gilson also attended the ceremony.
Many Car of the Year journalists came to congratulate the whole team on the most prestigious international prize a car can win. "The standard set by this year's contenders was higher than ever, and the decision was one of the most difficult I can remember," Cropley said. "We very much hope that buyers will continue to recognise the Insignia's market-leading strengths, as we did."
The Vauxhall and Opel teams were particularly pleased with the jury's special praise for their work. "We congratulate you further on the fine quality standards you have been achieving right across the GM Europe range," Cropley added.
Carl-Peter Forster thanked and commended all team members for their exceptional dedication to the Vauxhall Insignia project. He also pointed to extremely tough competition that allows no time to bask in this success: "In an intensely competitive market, we have pulled out just ahead of the pack. This of course also means that even a little less effort on our part would have led to a very different result."
In winning this title, the Vauxhall Insignia had to demonstrate its superiority over 37 contenders in the categories design, safety, handling and performance.Published 27 January 2009