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Why the Porsche Coty controversy sucks

2015-03-20 09:25
 Porsche Macan

PORSCHE CONTROVERSY: The Macan S diesel has been named the 2015 SA Car of the Year, Porsche's third consecutive victory in the local competition. Image: Janine-Lee Gordon


Wheels24 published, some months apart, articles that I had submitted in respect of the so-called Porsche controversy.

In those articles I pointed out that readers should at least read the rules and criteria of the SA Car of the Year – which was so well summarised in the Wheels 24 article "What does the jury do?", before setting off on an ever-escalating outcry directed as an attack on the poor South African Guild of Motoring Journalists/judges who were so wrongly criticised.


Despite the remarkable wide range of commentary that followed, it is really disheartening to note that such a high percentage of the commentators have once again demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the, with respect, correctly formulated simple core rules and criteria of our Coty, namely:   

“During the judging process each finalist is compared to its peers: cars that are sold at similar prices, and are thus natural competitors in the market. While the finalists are a diverse collection of cars from different segments, they are all judged independently of one another – however each one is able to take home top honours. Last year the award went to the Porsche Cayman. Like that winner, this year’s top-scoring car will be one that offers good value for money, superb safety, surefooted driving dynamics, innovative technology, class-leading aesthetics, and excellent efficiency when compared to its natural market competitors. It should also evoke automotive passion and excitement – hallmarks for any iconic car.” (emphasis supplied)

SA Car of the Year - how it works

The fact that each finalist is compared to "other vehicles in its class" - and has mostly nothing to do with the other finalists as such (unless another finalist is in the same class) – is unfortunately still quite clearly completely lost on most readers and commenters.

Similarly ignored is the thorough and diverse testing regime to which each finalist is subjected. As far as I, as a dedicated car enthusiast and petrol head, can establish there is no other country in the world with a Coty competition that can be said to have such an objectively based set of rules and criteria, premised on the only standard that can truly be regarded as being just and equitable.

The decisions of the past two Coty awards (2013 Boxster and the 2014 Cayman S) was subsequently borne from findings of just about every authoritative motoring publication in the world  - and to summarise literally thousands of pages of comparative tests published: "(re the Cayman S )…one of Porsche’s greatest achievements in its all-encompassing, ever-present, entertainment value. If the Boxster is considered the sports-car enthusiast’s gold standard, then the Cayman is rapidly approaching platinum."


Although most petrol heads, me included, are not at all fans of SUV's, the Macan has already similarly trumped its opposition (remember - other vehicles in its class/natural competitors) in comparative road tests done by most of the leading international motoring publications.

So I say WELL DONE PORSCHE! - and given that most readers are at least familiar with Top Gear, it is interesting that the show/publication commented in 2014:  "Porsche is on the hottest of hot streaks right now. The Cayman is virtually unimprovable, the 911 GT3 unforgettable and the 918 genre-defining. In fact, so good is the entire range that we crowned Porsche our Manufacturer of 2013... The final proof we needed that Stuttgart has access to some magical elixir of fast-car goodness…”

One is mindful that most people do not subscribe or even read a the spectrum of accredited magazines but surely with all of the most salient information in this regard a mere click away on the internet, one should be able to expect and hope that readers familiarise themselves with the facts before embarking on a frenzied attack.

Please let us not descend to something like the "most popular/cheapest/most economical/people's choice/most practical" - that function can be served by simple polls that we find on websites every day.

Our SA Coty is much more than that and is something of which to be proud.


Morgan Reddy: Philip Higgo's mail on the deserved win by the Porsche Macan lacked facts or depth. If vehicles in Coty are judged in their class then how do you decide a winner across classes? The general outcry on this is surely an indication that the Coty competition should revisit its relevance to the target audience.

What do you think of the 2015 SA Car of the Year? Do you agree/disagree with PHILIP HIGGO?  Email us  and we’ll also publish your thoughts on Wheels24.

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