For the second consecutive year, Volvo claimed the top Japanese auto award when the XC40 was named the 2018 Japan Car of the Year. The Volvo XC60 won the same award in 2017.
It is the first ever back-to-back victory for an importer in Japan’s COTY award program.
All 60 jurors and 40 of Japan’s most influential automotive publications, as well as automaker executives, were present to witness the vote counting and award ceremony at the Tokyo International Exchange Center.
The public vote counting kicked off as an apparent battle between the Volvo XC40 and the Toyota Corolla Sport for top honours. After the XC40 picked up an early lead, the Corolla made a comeback to briefly overtake the Swede midway through counting. But then, the Volvo accelerated away to win by 49 votes, 363 to 314 votes respectively.
The VW Polo ranked third with 197 votes, while the Toyota Crown came fourth with 170 and the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross was fifth with 165 votes.
Accepting the trophy in front of 60 Car of the Year jurors and more than 200 industry colleagues, Volvo Japan’s CEO, Takayuki Kimura said, “After the XC60 won last year, we are ecstatic with this back-to-back victory and I’d firstly like to thank our nationwide staff for this award. The XC40 is the perfect size and competitively priced for the Japanese market so we hope to transfer this award into solid sales.”
In the special awards categories, the Honda Clarity PHEV (plug-in hybrid) won the Best Innovation Award while the BMW X2 captured the Emotional Award and the Daihatsu Tocot took home the Small Mobility gong.
Toyota may have missed out on the top award but its Gazoo Racing team did receive the COTY steering committee’s ‘Special Achievement Award’ for its hugely popular victories in the Le Mans 24-hour race and the World Rally Championships. In a second ‘Special Achievement Award,’ the Honda N-Van was also honoured.