New York - The winner of the World Car of the Year awards has been announced at the New York Motor Show.
The World Car of the Year honours went to the Mazda2, which has just been named as the South African Car of the Year too. Other finalists included the Ford Mondeo and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. There were an initial entry list of 39 new vehicles from all over the world.
Based on the recommendations of a design panel consisting of four highly respected world design experts, the Mazda2 was also voted by the jurors onto the short-list of top three design finalists, together with the Audi R8 and Volvo C30.
The WCOTY awards were officially launched in January 2004 and are initiated by, organized by, and conducted by automotive journalists from all over the world.
A jury of 47 international automotive journalists selected the overall winner by secret ballot, based on their experience with each candidate as part of their professional work.
The jury members constitute a balance of representation from Asia, Europe, North America, South America, as well as other parts of the world.
"We are delighted that the 2008 World Car of the Year jury has chosen the all-new Mazda2 as their 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 of Car of the Year awards around the globe, including South Africa, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, New Zealand, and the RJC Car of the Year award in Japan."