'SA Car of the Year misses the point'

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 Porsche Macan COTY CONTROVERSY : Will the next SA Car of the Year awards generate as much controversy? Pictured here is the 2015 SA Car of the Year winner - the Porsche Macan. Image: Janine-Lee Gordon ~ Wheels24

Wheels24 reader OrdinaryCarMan responds to Bernard Hellberg Jr, chairman of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists, ahead of the 2016 SA Car of the Year competition.

It seems that you (Bernard Hellberg Jr) are missing the point readers are trying to make about the CoTy Porsche controversy.

According to your article: “We’re trying to find, at that point in time, the car that best represents the pinnacle of motoring excellence. It includes various things such as technology, engineering, aspects of generally pushing the envelope of motoring”.


A car with a price tag of R800 000 -  R1000 000 will have a lot more “technology, engineering, aspects of generally pushing the envelope of motoring” than a R120 000 affordable car.

Your counter point is: “What is important is whether the value of that car competes within its segment.”

Read: SA Car of the Year controversy explained

A small car in the R100 000 - R200 000 segment has a lot more competition than a Porsche.  There are Renault, Ford, Kia, Volkswagen, Chrysler, Citroen, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel, Toyota with products in that segment though I am sure I missed a few.  While in the Porsche’s bracket there are: BMW, Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes. In short a lot more competition with a lot less money.

To excel against a lot of competition with a small budget is extremely difficult, for example if you have a gizmo that costs R2000 extra in your car that costs R120 000 against another car that also costs R120 000 it is already a very BIG improvement, while the Porsche has 5 more gizmos than its competitor the value against the car’s price of R880 000 is not that big.

When competing with this limited budget, the smallest improvements is a huge achievement and, from our perspective, the judges does not seem to have taken this into account.


Also if price truly isn’t an issue, then my vote would have been for the LaFerrari (R15 million), Mclaren P1 (R21 million) or BMW i8 (R1.8 million), because they are so far ahead of their competitors. Especially the i8, it has a more standard than any of its competitors.

Finally, CoTY says: “We don’t expect people to buy the car and that’s why the value of the car is not important.” 

Then what is the point of the award, why is it even in the news, surely the whole point of a car competition is to show how good the car is in comparison to its competitors. If the car wins then you are saying that the winning car is the biggest and best in its class! You think people in its class should buy it.


If you truly believe that people shouldn’t buy the car you chose as  the winner then I agree with @HannalieLo “#WesBankCOTY is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. #whatajoke” and why are we even talking about it.

Kind regards,

What do you think of the SA Car of the Year awards? Do you think the competition could be improved? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.

Read more: What does SA CoTY jury actually do?