Fiat’s on a winning streak


Fiat Grande Punto elected “Carro do Ano 2008” in Brazil; Linea wins Europe’s “AUTOBEST 2008” prize

After winning “Car of The Year 2008” and numerous other prestigious international awards with the Fiat 500, the Italian automaker has just palmed in South America’s most important award, the “Carro do Ano 2008” with the Fiat Grande Punto. In addition, the Fiat brand has also brought home the coveted European “AUTOBEST 2008” prize with the Fiat Linea.

Carro do Ano 2008

The Fiat Grande Punto was elected “Carro do Ano 2008” in Brazil by a panel of 37 journalists representing the national specialised press. Organised by the magazine Auto Esporte and now in its 41st edition, the award is the most prestigious accolade for the Brazilian automotive industry, as testified by the top models in the running, which the Grande Punto beat with a total of 235 points: namely the Citroen C4 (208 points), Nissan Sentra (152 points), Renault Logan (146) and Chevrolet Vectra GT (134).

The prestigious accolade reflects the growing public success that this model has achieved in just three months: indeed, since its launch in August, approximately 10,000 units have already been registered in Brazil. The Grande Punto was conceived to set new benchmarks for design, safety, quality and comfort, and also features the innovative Blue&Me system, which sets new standards for on-board communication and entertainment.

The “Carro do Ano 2008” award joins an impressive number of prizes garnered to date from the South American press, starting with the “Auto Interamericana 2008”, assigned by the Interamerican Federation of Automotive Periodicals (FIPA).

This was followed by “Carro Nacional do Ano” and “Carro Abiauto do Ano”, both from the Brazilian Automotive Industry Association (Abiauto) and two prizes awarded by the panel of Top Car TV: “Best national car over 1001 cc” and “Best product advertisement” for the “Bola de Cristal” commercial. Last but not least is the “Big Idea Chair” prize from Yahoo Brasil.


The electors for “AUTOBEST 2008” comprised an international jury of 15 specialist journalists representing 15 European countries containing a total of about 300 million inhabitants: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine and Hungary.

The Fiat Linea placed first with 850 points, ahead of the Kia Cee’d (784), the Mazda 2 (705), the Skoda Fabia (679) and the Toyota Auris (583). Under the terms of the “AUTOBEST” award, the jury selects the winner from a shortlist of 5 finalists on the basis of 13 parameters that include design, comfort, economic running, driveability, price and value for money. Each member of the jury has a total of 240 points to distribute among the 5 cars and there is a ceiling of votes for each parameter.

The “AUTOBEST 2008” prize provides further confirmation of the acclaim with which Europe has welcomed the Fiat Linea, a three-box segment C saloon that offers original styling, functionality and driving pleasure as well as a very competitive price/content ratio.

The new car is manufactured in the Turkish factory of Bursa and marketed in a number of European and extra-European countries: from Spain to Germany, from Morocco to Finland. And starting next year, the Fiat Linea will also be produced and marketed in Brazil, China, Russia and India.

Backed by an extraordinary stylistic heritage, the Fiat Linea is a gracefully elegant 4-door vehicle, that comes with generous dimensions that set it at the top of its segment: 4.56 m long, 1.73 m wide, 1.5 m tall and a wheelbase of 2.6 m, in addition to a sizeable luggage compartment of 500 litres.

The “AUTOBEST 2008” award ceremony will take place in February in Istanbul (Turkey).

There are no plans as yet to introduce the Linea to South Africa.