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Road to World Car of the Year: The contenders

2017-11-01 09:42

Mike Rutherford, director & vice-chair of the World Car Awards

Image: NewsPress

Germany - If there was a prize for the most nominated company in the 2018 World Car Awards, a highly unlikely manufacturer - Kia - would win it. It’s nothing short of astonishing that the comparatively small and modest marque from South Korea has beaten German giants BMW and Volkswagen into joint second place.

And even more remarkable is that Kia has forced its own ‘big sister’ brand, Hyundai, into fourth position. This wasn’t in the script. But the fact that Kia proudly sits on top of the WCA pile at the minute is no guarantee that its Niro, Picanto, Stinger and Stonic contenders will win the World Car of the Year and World Urban Car trophies the company has its sights on.

The competition is fiercer than ever this time around. Some countries, companies and cars previously thought of as underdogs on the global stage are now in with a real chance of picking up World Car honours at our New York Auto Show prize-giving ceremony next March.

2018 World Car of the Year contenders: Eligible vehicles

World car of the Year - Which model do you think deserves to win? (i.e Design of the Year) Email us

Special mentions

Italy deserves a special mention as does Alfa Romeo with its three nominations - the same number that far larger, wealthier Audi has secured. Japan’s highly competitive Suzuki also has three - the same as Toyota and Lexus combined.

It’s good to see France’s Renault, Peugeot and Citroen going for World Car glory, too - along with other relative newcomers such as Dacia of Romania, SEAT (Spain), Skoda (Czech Republic) and SsangYong (South Korea). And while our Top 5 Nations table (at the end of this article) shows that German, Japanese and South Korean firms are by far the most prolific makers of all-new cars for the world at this time, don’t rule out dark horse candidate countries like the UK with its Land Rover Discovery and Range Rover Velar. It has to be said that for a car-producing land of its magnitude and importance, the USA isn’t currently producing nearly as many globally significant all-new cars as might be expected.

This explains why there are so few Cadillacs, Chevrolets, Fords, Chryslers and Jeeps in contention this year. Japan’s highly competitive Suzuki has three nominations - the same as Toyota and Lexus combined.

Kia, on its own it has more nominations than all those legendary American brands put together. That’s something that nobody could have or would have predicted a decade or two ago.

If you’re wondering why some all-new cars - the McLaren 720S Coupe, for example - have somehow failed to make it onto our provisional lists of eligible vehicles it’s almost certainly because they will not be on sale in sufficient numbers on at least two continents by Spring 2018. Our rules on this are tough but fair - unless a model is ready to be delivered to paying customers across large parts of the globe by the early-mid part of next year, it can’t even be considered to be a 2018 World Car contender. And this, we believe, is the way it should be.

Total number of nominations in 2018
World car Awards
Kia 6 (South Korea)
BMW 5 (Germany)
Volkswagen 5 (Germany)
Hyundai 4 (South Korea)
Nissan 4 (Japan)
Audi 3 (Germany)
Alfa Romeo 3 (Italy)
Suzuki 3 (Japan)
Ford 2 (USA)
Honda 2 (Japan)
Land Rover 2 (UK)
Lexus 2 (Japan)
Porsche 2 (Germany)
Renault 2 (France)
SEAT 2 (Spain)
Volvo 2 (Sweden)
Buick/Opel/Vauxhall 1 (USA/Germany/UK)
Chevrolet 1 (USA)
Chrysler 1 (USA)
Citroen 1 (France)
Dacia 1 (Romania)
Ferrari 1 (Italy)
Genesis 1 (South Korea)
Jeep 1 (USA)
Lamborghini 1 (Italy)
Mazda 1 (Japan)
Mitsubishi 1 (Japan)
Opel/Vauxhall 1 (Germany/UK)
Peugeot 1 (France)
Skoda 1 (Czech Republic)
SsangYong 1 (South Korea)
Subaru 1 (Japan)
Toyota 1 (Japan)

Top 5 nomintaions by nation
Germany 17
Japan 14
South Korea 12
Italy 5

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