At a press conference hosted by the World Car Awards (WCA) and Prime Research in Paris today, an expert panel comprising 60 of the world’s top automotive journalists weighed in on today’s top global trends in the automotive industry.

The key findings of a scientific study conducted by Prime Research are:

Market Trends – Efficiency and connectivity are, in that order, the two top trends for 2013.  They are viewed by almost a quarter of the expert panel as the most important topics for 2013. Electric vehicles (EVs), at just over 10 percent, are a distant third – and, according to Prime’s global media analysis, a topic of decreasing importance. Light-weight vehicle technology is on the radar but still remains out of focus.

Engine efficiency remains the number one topic in global media coverage, but connectivity and telematics are closing in as a strong up-and-coming trend” remarked Dr. Rainer Mathes, president of Prime Research, which conducted the study in conjunction with the World Car Awards. “Reporting on electric vehicles, by contrast, has decreased for the first time in recent years, and our expert panel of top global journalists has voiced increasingly negative views. Light-weight technology still is almost a non-topic.”

Auto Alliances – In light of several widely-publicized alliances of various types among automakers, the expert panel maintains that mutual benefits and synergies, as well as the fit of corporate cultures, are more important factors in determining their ultimate success than are economies of scale.

The Renault/Nissan alliance was identified as a clear winner and one of the most successful overall while the now-defunct DaimlerChrysler merger was singled out as the most unsuccessful alliance ever. As far as current alliances are concerned, the one between BMW and Toyota is seen as the most promising by the expert panel, followed by the expanded Renault-Nissan-Daimler partnership. The GM-PSA alliance emerged as the clear loser.

Cars and Technologies of the Future – Range-extended electric vehicles are viewed by the expert panel as the most promising option for electric mobility, followed by plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles. The battery electric vehicle is seen as the least promising concept. This viewpoint is corroborated by an observed decrease in coverage on battery electrics by Prime’s global media analysis and a simultaneous increase in reporting on other electric alternatives.

The expert panel identified the Chevrolet Volt/Opel Ampera, a range-extended EV, as the most promising electric vehicle concept. Japan is seen as a key driver for e-mobility, followed by Germany and the USA in that order. As far as carmakers go, the top journalists expect Toyota and Renault/Nissan to be the most important electric vehicle players, closely followed by Tesla. Fisker and BYD are considered among the least likely to succeed in the survey.


– “Downsizing will continue to make its impact across all segments and markets.” (World Car Awards automotive expert panelist)

– “Look for carmakers to bring all the latest mobile phone, office and entertainment tools into the interior of their cars.” (World Car Awards automotive expert panelist)

– “The challenge is backpedaling on electrics without losing face, while getting most out of the huge investments made.” (World Car Awards automotive expert panelist)

– “BMW and Toyota are very ambitious players with big money and big thinking.” (World Car Awards automotive expert panelist)

– “E-cars have fallen from favor with the elite of global motor journalists. There is not only less, but also more critical reporting than ever before.” (Dr. Rainer Mathes, President, Prime Research)

– “Automotive alliances don’t generate positive coverage per se. Among our jurors, there is a clearly negative view of both the GM-PSA alliance and Daimler’s cooperation with BYD.” (Jens Meiners, Director, Steering Committee, World Car Awards)


Detailed findings and quotes from the survey among the top 60 global automotive journalists can be found in the full study, “Connectivity Hype and E-Car Recession” which is available for download on our website

Prime Research International, a global leader in strategic communication research and consultancy is once again the World Car Awards’ research partner.  The company will provide strategic reports in 2013 that analyze the awards’ global automotive media coverage.

The 2013 World Car Award winners will be announced at the New York International Auto Show on March 28, 2013.


Now in their ninth year, the annual World Car awards have become one of the world’s most prestigious, credible and significant programs of its kind.

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.

The awards are administered by a non-profit association, under the guidance of a Steering Committee of pre-eminent automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America.  Peter Lyon (Japan) and Matt Davis (Italy) are the co-chairs; John McCormick (USA), Jens Meiners (Germany), Mike Rutherford (U.K.), Eddie Alterman (USA), and Gerry Malloy (Canada) are the directors.  There is no affiliation with, nor are the awards in any way influenced by any publication, auto show, automaker, or other commercial enterprise.


PRIME Research International, a global leader in strategic communication research and consultancy, has joined forces with the World Car Awards to provide strategic studies in the fields of automotive assessment criteria and automotive awards. PRIME Research is a well-trusted research partner for the automotive industry with a broad range of automotive clients. Its full picture approach, which provides strategic benchmark information and SWOT analyses on over 100 brands and over 10,000 different automobile models, sets the standard in automotive media research.

About the 2013 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS)

Showcasing the latest automotive trends, the 2013 New York International Auto Show will unveil an extensive collection of the most technologically advanced vehicles on display anywhere in the world. More than four floors of displays, including the new Javits Center North exhibition hall, will house nearly 1,000 stunning new 2013/2014 vehicles as well as sensational futuristic concept cars.  NYIAS is owned and produced by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.

Important Show Information:   Press Days: March 27 & 28,  Public Show Dates: March 29 – April 7

Show Hours:  Monday – Saturday:  10 a.m. – 10 p.m.    Sundays:  10 a.m. – 7 p.m.