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New era for SA Car of the Year: vehicle categories, public vote, a new sponsor and more!

2018-09-17 12:48

Porsche Panamera - the 2018 SA Car of the Year winner. Image: Wheels24

This year the iconic SA Car of the Year (SACOTY) competition receives a digital-media injection with the announcement of major changes to the voting and judging criteria, as well as the signing of a new sponsor - AutoTrader.

Innovation planned for the 2019 competition includes the introduction of individual categories alongside one overall winner; a re-engineered qualifying period to ensure the bulk of the new releases in September are included; and the all important inclusion of the consumer vote.

The South African Car of the Year award has always been a pivotal moment in the motoring year, a decree that shapes both motoring interest and sales for the year to come.

Roger McCleery, President of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists, said: "The new partnership with AutoTrader starts an era of a new look for the South African Car of the Year Competition. After much discussion with our stakeholders, the 2019 event will certainly suit the entire motor industry."


What do you think of the new format for the SA Car of the Year competition?  Email us


A new opportunity

"Partnering with the South African Car of the Year competition is an opportunity for us to add value to the motoring industry, in a variety of new ways. It is the most reputable, prestigious and longest running motoring award in the country. We’re excited to tackle this new opportunity," said AutoTrader CEO George Mienie.

READ: Porsche Panamera crowned 2018 SA Car of the Year

The Porsche Panamera has won the coveted title in 2018; among the top three finalists, the Volvo S90 grabbed second place while the Alfa Romeo Giulia was third.


First run in 1986, the SACOTY was founded by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ), itself approaching 57 years in existence. AutoTrader’s added 26 years of experience give the competition over a century of combined motoring know-how, along with a shared desire for innovation.

With a judging process based on both rigorous judge selection - the competition uses a minimum of 22 judges chosen by voting, peer, and industry-wide selection, across the SAGMJ’s 300 plus membership; and relentless judging criteria - cars are personally scored on between 10 and 12 factors, test driven on track and road, and verified by each judge within a set time period - the SACOTY is respected across the globe.

"The South African Car Of the Year competition remains about excellence and our jury has always reflected that sentiment; it takes a minimum of 5 years for any journalist to be eligible for jury duty." said Rubin Van Niekerk, Chairman of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists.

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post, who has been a SA Coty judge, says: "The new format is exciting and especially because the jury, industry players, and the public's concerns have been taken into account and suggestions are now a reality. With public participation also now part of the programme, things can only get better for the competition." 

SAGMJ chairman Rubin Van Niekerk says: "A number of meetings and workshops were held with many different stakeholders on the innovative changes that are required in the format of the competition to amplify the prestige, excellence and cutting-edge technology represented by COTY. 

"The South African Car Of The Year Competition enjoys international recognition and there is no doubt that COTY remains the most advanced competition in South Africa, and in most of the World. It has set the benchmark in the automotive industry for more than 3 decades. 

"Through the Guild’s well thought out strategic planning, this competition remains the ultimate measureof excellence and is not simply a “popularity contest”.


South African Car of the Year: Previous winners

2018 Porsche Panamera
2017 Opel Astra
2016 Volvo XC90
2015 Porsche Macan S Diesel
2014 Porsche Cayman S
2013 Porsche Boxster
2012 Hyundai Elantra 1.8 GLS
2011 VW Polo 1.6 TDI and BMW 530d
2010 VW Golf 6 1.4 TSI Comfortline
2009 Honda Accord 2.4i Executive
2008 Mazda 2 Individual
2007 Honda Civic 1.8 VXi
2006 Audi A3 Sportback 2.0T FSI
2005 Volvo S40
2004 Renault Mégane 1.9 dCi
2003 VW Polo 1.4 TDI
2002 Audi A4 1.9 TDI
2001 BMW 320d
2000 Renault Clio 1.4 RT
1999 Alfa Romeo 156 T-Spark
1998 Ford Fiesta Fun
1997 BMW 528i
1996 Audi A4 1.8
1995 Opel Astra 160iS
1994 Opel Kadett 140
1993 BMW 316i
1992 Nissan Maxima 300 SE
1991 Opel Monza 160 GSi
1990 BMW 525i
1989 Toyota Corolla GLi Executive
1988 BMW 735
1987 Mercedes-Benz 260
1986 Toyota Corolla Twin Cam

Most wins by manufacturer

6 BMW 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2011
4 Opel 1991, 1994, 1995, 2017
3 Audi 1996, 2002, 2006
3 Volkswagen 2003, 2010, 2011
4 Porsche 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018
2 Honda 2007, 2009
2 Renault 2000, 2004
2 Toyota 1986, 1989
2 Volvo 2005, 2016
1 Alfa Romeo 1999
1 Ford 1998
1 Hyundai 2012
1 Mazda 2008
1 Mercedes-Benz 1987
1 Nissan 1992

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