December 8, 2015
Mazda's all-new 2016 MX-5 (called the Roadster in Japan) has been named the Japanese Car of the Year at an award ceremony held in Tokyo.
The MX-5 sports car scored 442 votes, beating the Honda S660 mini-coupe by 41 votes. The BMW 2 Series finished in third place with 177 votes, thus also claiming the Import Car of the Year title.
The significant spread in scores is a result of the Car of the Year Japan organization's scoring system which requires each of the 60 voting jurors to award 10 points to their first choice. They then have 15 points to distribute as they wish among their next four choices.
The Mazda MX-5 polled the maximum 10-point score from 25 jurors while the Honda S660 earned 10-point votes from 22 jurors.
This win gives the Hiroshima-based automaker back-to-back car-of-the year victories, after claiming the title for the Mazda2 last year.
In accepting the award, Mazda’s vice president in charge of product planning and head of the company’s Skyactiv technology R&D, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, said, “We went through some tough times during the financial crisis and 2011 earthquake, but we stuck to our founding principles and created a winning formula. We think the jurors’ response to our MX-5 shows that sports cars are making a strong comeback in Japan. This award means a lot to our development team.”
The Car of the Year Japan steering committee also presented a Special Award to the Toyota Mirai – which did not meet the criteria to compete for the main award – acknowledging its technological achievement in advancing the spread of hydrogen powered fuel-cell vehicles.