At a press conference at the New York International Auto Show, the Mazda2 was declared the 2008 World Car of the Year.

The Mazda2 (Mazda Demio in Japan) 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. There are three British and one Irish members on the jury. 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.

Rather than being just a popularity contest, the objective was to ensure that the World Car of the Year would be the product of a fair and thorough assessment process that considered the needs and wants of consumers the world over. The process began with individual jurors evaluating and rating the candidates using a variety of standardized parameters - everything from styling and quality, to performance and safety. The jurors then voted in January 2008 to establish a top ten shortlist. The World Car of the Year was chosen from those finalists as tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG.

WCOTY jurors observed that, “This fresh Mazda compact makes the first-generation one-box-ish Mazda2 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”.

The top three contenders for 2008 World Car of the Year title were, in alphabetical order, the Ford Mondeo, the Mazda2 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

“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.”
Previous World Car of the Year winners were the Lexus LS460 in 2007, the BMW 3-Series in 2006 and the Audi A6 in 2005.

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.

Published : 21/03/08 Author : Melanie Carter

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