GENEVA, Switzerland - The new Peugeot 308 has been voted European Car of the Year. The decision came from a panel representing 22 European countries and was announced on the eve of the annual Geneva auto show.30 new models from North American, Korean, European and Japanese manufacturers, on sale in Europe during 2013 were eligible.The jury, reflecting the interests and tastes of 58 motoring journalists, has just delivered its verdict on the strong line-up of seven finalists pre-selected in December 2013: the new Peugeot 308 took the title.FOURTH TIME LUCKYThe recent South African Car of the Year title, a competition run by the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists, was awarded to the Porsche Cayman S - the brand winning the award for the second consecutive year. The Cayman came stone last in a readers' survey of the nine 2014 finalists on Wheels24.The 308 was the fourth Peugeot to be win the European award - the others were the 307 (2002), 405 (1988) and 504 (1969).Produced in Sochaux, the brand’s historic home in Eastern France, the new 308 was launched in Europe during the last four months of 2013 and in right-hand drive markets in January 2014.A spokesperson for Peugeot SA told Wheels24: "We are very happy and excited to win this coveted title and look forward to introducing this model to the South African marketing during the first quarter of 2015."This win is a good indication that Peugeot is at a strong point in our model cycle, which will translate into increasing market, not only in Europe – but worldwide." More than 55 000 orders have, Peugeot Europe says, been recorded since the launch of the model on the Continent. It is also, the automaker says, contributing to the brand’s move up-market - most orders are for the upper trim levels.A station-wagon version will be introduced in Europe later in 2014.'LEAP IN CONCEPT'Nine engines were available at launch – four petrol, five diesel – and will be supplemented at the 308 SW launch with a three-cylinder 1.2 PureTech e-THP 98kW turbopetrol engine and three BlueHDi engines, among them a new BlueHDi 1.6 90kW version with CO2 emissions of only 82g/km in the Hatchback, the lowest its segment.Maxime Picat, director-general of Peugeot Automobiles, received the award from jury president Hakan Matson. Picat said: “With the new Peugeot 308 we were convinced we had achieved a leap in concept, technology and quality which would soon allow it a place on the podium for the category in Europe."The prestigious 2014 ‘Car of the Year’ award, which I receive today on behalf of everyone at Peugeot, is the best confirmation of this.” Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 Geneva auto show.