The 2018 World Car competition concluded today at the New York International Auto Show with the declaration of the Volvo XC60 as the 2018 World Car of the Year, as well as the presentation of awards to winners in five other classes.
The Road to World Car for 2018 began with the release of a list of eligible vehicles at the Frankfurt auto show last September and continued with group test drives in Tokyo and Los Angeles, as well as individual evaluations by the program’s 82 automotive journalist jurors, from 24 countries all around the world.
World Car of the Year - Volvo XC60
The Volvo XC60 was chosen as World Car of the Year from an initial entry list of 34 vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of ten, reduced to three finalists as announced in Geneva earlier this month. The other finalists were the Mazda CX-5 and the Range Rover Velar. Last year’s winner was the Jaguar F-Pace.
“I am pleased to see our company’s product investments paying off,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars. “We are up against some tough competition, but this award for the XC60 shows that Volvo has the right combination of design, connectivity and safety that appeals to customers across the world.”
Earlier this month in Geneva, Volvo Car Group’s president and chief executive officer, Håkan Samuelsson, was honoured as the recipient of the inaugural “World Car Person of the Year” award.
To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the candidates had to become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2017, and ending May 31, 2018.
The winners were chosen by secret ballot evaluations of the cars on a broad range of parameters, including comfort and convenience, performance, safety, environmental responsibility, value and emotional appeal. Those ballots were tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG.
Beyond the overall World Car of the Year, the winners in five other categories were as follows:
World Luxury Car – Audi A8
The Audi A8 won the World Luxury Car award over the Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Panamera. It's the ninth time that Audi AG has won a World Car award in the program's 14 year history.
The brand previously won World Car of the Year in 2014 (Audi A3) and the very first World Car of the Year award in 2005 (Audi A6). Audi has also won four World Performance Car titles: 2016 (Audi R8 Coupé), 2010 (Audi R8 V10), 2008 (Audi R8) and 2007 (Audi RS 4). The company also captured the World Car Design of the Year award in 2007 and 2008.
“This award is a special honour for us and our flagship model,” Peter Mertens, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG, said. “The Audi A8 is an innovation driver for our entire industry. With its innovative touch control system, consistent broad-based electrification and the technical prerequisites for highly automated driving, the A8 sets new standards in automotive engineering.”
World Urban Car – Volkswagen Polo
The Volkswagen Polo outscored the Ford Fiesta and the Suzuki Swift to claim the second annual World Urban Car award.
2018 marks the sixth time that Volkswagen has won a World Car award, previously claiming top “World Car of the Year” honours a total of four times: in 2013 (Golf), 2012 (Up!), 2010 (Polo) and 2009 (Golf VI).
“The whole team at Volkswagen is delighted to have won the 2018 World Urban Car award with the Polo,” said Klaus Bischoff, Head of Volkswagen Design. “With around 17 million units sold, the Polo is one of the most successful compact cars of all time and a pillar of the brand. And the sixth-generation, based on the MQB platform, is even sportier and more grown-up than its predecessors.”
The World Urban Car award was introduced last year as an award whose time has come. World Car vice-chairman, Mike Rutherford, commented, “Everyday cars in many - perhaps most - parts of the world will have to become smaller if road and parking space is to be found for them in increasingly packed towns and cities whose populations are swelling annually.” Last year’s inaugural World Urban Car winner was the BMW i3 (94Ah).
World Green Car – Nissan Leaf
The Nissan Leaf beat out the BMW 530e iPerformance and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid to become the 2018 World Green Car. The Nissan Leaf previously won the overall World Car of the Year title in 2011 while the Nissan GT-R won the 2009 World Performance Car award.
“We’re very proud that since Nissan LEAF launched in 2010, we’ve been able to put more than 300,000 zero-emission electric vehicles on the road worldwide, helping to reduce carbon footprints around the globe,” said Daniele Schillaci, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Sales, Zero Emission Vehicle and Battery Business; Chairman of Management Committee for Japan/A&O (Japan, Asia, Oceania Business); Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.,. “We’re honoured to be recognized by this esteemed jury and proud to continue to expand the vision of Nissan Intelligent Mobility.”
World Performance Car – BMW M5
Defeating the Honda Civic Type R and the Lexus LC 500 to become the 2018 World Performance Car, the BMW M5 is the seventh BMW to win a World Car award in the program's 14-year history.
Previously, the brand won the inaugural World Urban Car award in 2017 (BMW i3); the 2016 World Luxury Car award (BMW 7 series); two back-to-back World Green Car awards (BMW i8 – 2015, BMW i3 – 2014) as well as another World Green Car win in 2008 (BMW 118d with Efficient Dynamics). In 2006, the BMW 3-Series captured top honours as the World Car of the Year.
“We at BMW are very excited to receive this award from the World Car of the Year organization. The BMW 5 Series has always played an important part of the BMW product portfolio. With this 6th generation BMW 5 Series we are able to offer our customers a broad range of variants ranging from the extremely efficient BMW 530e plug-in hybrid, all the way to the BMW M5, which is the quickest BMW ever built, reaching 0-60 in under 3.2 seconds.”
World Car Design – Range Rover Velar
The Range Rover Velar was chosen over the Lexus LC 500 and the Volvo XC60 as the 2018 World Car Design of the Year. Prof. Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said: “Receiving the World Car of the Year award means a lot to us. I feel very honoured and I want to thank all jury members for their trust and support in encouraging the Land Rover team to continue on their unique path. I also want to thank our Velar team for their passion and commitment, for going the extra mile to move boundaries for extraordinary solutions.”
Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, said: “The continued evolution of our design philosophy is driven by a relentless focus on creating highly desirable vehicles our customers will love for life. The Range Rover Velar brings a new dimension of modernity to the Range Rover family with an abundance of innovative technologies, all making this vehicle a joy to drive and be driven in. We’re honoured that the jury recognised the tireless endeavours of our designers and engineers in delivering a vehicle with compelling design, tailored technology and relevant innovation which come together to create a vehicle of instant desirability.”
All vehicles eligible for other World Car awards were also eligible for the Design award. Before they were voted on by the jury of journalists, those entries were reduced to a short list of recommendations by a design panel consisting of seven highly respected world design experts comprising, in alphabetic order:
Anne Asensio (France - Vice-President, Design - Dassault Systemes);
Gernot Bracht (Germany - Pforzheim Design School);
Patrick le Quément (France - Designer and President of the Strategy Committee - The Sustainable Design School);
Sam Livingstone (U.K. - Car Design Research and Royal College of Art);
Tom Matano (USA - School of Industrial Design at Academy of Art University in San Francisco);
Gordon Murray (U.K. - Gordon Murray Design);
Shiro Nakamura(Japan - CEO, Shiro Nakamura Design Associates Inc.).
World Car Awards
Now in their 14th year, the annual World Car Awards are the number one awards program in the world for the fifth consecutive year, based on the Prime Research 2017 media report.
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 awards are intended to complement, not compete with, existing national and regional Car of the Year programs.
They are administered by a not-for-profit association, under the guidance of a Steering Committee of automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America.
2018 is the 12th year of World Car’s partnership with the New York show, and the 10th year of its partnership with Bridgestone. Other partners supporting World Car include Autoneum, KPMG, Newspress and Prime Research.