The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf made its North American debut at the New York International Auto Show yesterday and it will go on sale here as a 2015 model early in 2014.
But it has already been on the market in other parts of the world since late last year and has earned sufficient critical repute to be voted 2013 World Car of the Year by 66 top automotive journalists from 23 countries who are jurors for the World Car Awards.
The winner was chosen from an initial entry list of 42 new vehicles from all over the world, which was first whittled down to a short list of 10 for a second round of voting. The four finalists for the overall award were announced last month at the Geneva auto show.
The sixth-generation Golf also won the World Car of the Year award when it was introduced in 2009.
In a statement concerning today's win, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, said: "We at Volkswagen are all delighted that the Golf has been named ‘World Car of the Year’. To win this award again shows that the Golf is and remains in a class of its own all around the world."
He added that the Golf will also be launched soon as a plug-in hybrid and as a 100% electric car.
World Car jurors described the new Golf as, "as close to the perfect hatchback design as any car company has come yet; right sized, but spacious, practical and comfortable inside... (plus) it’s fun to drive. If ever there was a car for everyman, the Golf is it."
To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the candidates must be available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2012 and ending May 30, 2013.
The awards were inaugurated in 2003, and officially launched in January 2004, to reflect the reality of the global marketplace, as well as to recognize and reward automotive excellence on an international scale.
The program is administered by a non-profit association, under the guidance of a steering committee of eight prominent automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America.