The first-ever Women’s World Car of the Year awards have been announced from London. The supreme winner, the car that received the greatest number of votes, is the Jaguar XF.
Over the past year eight women motoring writers from around the world have tested 21 cars from the short list and the Jaguar XF was the clear winner, edging out the Volvo XC60 and the VW Golf diesel, in that order.
There are four categories in these awards and individual results are:
Women’s World Family Car of the Year: Volvo XC 60
Runner Up: Honda Accord
Women’s World Sports Car of the Year: Audi TTS
Runner up: Mazda MX-5
Runner Up: Ford Fiesta
Runner up: Audi A6
That a luxury car has won the supreme award in the Women’s World Car of the Year is an unexpected result given the ubiquitous ‘shopping basket’ is what many in the car industry consider to be a ‘woman’s’ car. But judges clearly considered the Jaguar XF to be well-constructed, competent, comfortable, a combination of sport and luxury and ideal for women.
Judges are women motoring and published writers from around the world. Chief Judge, Sandy Myhre from New Zealand, says a woman’s voice in the car industry and via the media is hard to find.
‘We searched for quite a while to gather together women motoring writers who could qualify to vote for this award and it wasn’t easy because female motor journalists aren’t exactly thick on the ground.
‘In the end we have eight judges from around the world whose work is of the highest calibre and who are all published writers.
“We intend to increase the number of women on the judging panel in 2010 and beyond.”
The awards were conceived in November last year and stemmed largely from the fact the USA-based World Car of the Year judging panel did not have a single woman judge in 2007. Indeed, the majority of car awards around the world are decided by a vast majority of men yet statistically women will make the final decision in all car purchases in as much as 85% of all sales.
Judging criteria represented the known ‘shopping list’ of women car buyers. This included storage spaces, dashboard friendliness, child friendliness, aesthetic appeal and driveability. There wasn’t the strict requirement to ascertain 0-100 in so many seconds or the Newton metres of torque (horsepower) but judges did, nonetheless, decide how well the car drove. The car’s ‘sex appeal’ was also considered.
Since model specification can differ between countries the decision was made for judges to also consider the overall model range in their voting, rather than one specific model.
Cars that qualified had to be sold in at least 10-countries world-wide and available to the marketplace from between September 2008 and September 2009. A shortlist of 21 cars was decided early this year.
Judging was by secret ballot and votes were audited by international accountancy practice, Grant Thornton, from their Auckland, New Zealand, offices.
None of the judges knew each other’s scores. Grant Thornton senior partner, Paul McCormick, says when he received the voting forms his preconceptions about the possible result were proven inaccurate.
I assumed a woman would inevitably place higher importance on characteristics such as value for money and child friendliness.
“As the voting forms were received it soon became evident that factors such as sex appeal and carbon footprint were assessed more critically and were awarded relatively low scores compared to some other categories.
It is also interesting to note that driveability and comfort rated the highest scores overall.”
Paul McCormick also says voting in some categories was particularly close.
“The race for the Sportscar award, for instance, and which was eventually awarded to the Audi TTS, changed several times as votes were received and it was exciting and surprising to see the significant effect each judge had on the final outcome.”
Certificates will be awarded to individual category winners and to the supreme winner early in 2010. The certificates have been designed by Bob Child of graphic design company Peartree Studios in Colerne, Somerset, England.
The feminine graphic gracing the certificates was designed by artist and landscape architect, Trish Menzies, of Queensland in Australia.
The website is the design product of Neone, Auckland, New Zealand.
The supreme winner trophy has been designed and manufactured in South Africa.
Sandy Myhre says the surprising result sends a message to car manufacturers, to car dealers and to the advertising world.
The primary objective of these awards is to educate.
“Overall the most exciting thing for us as judges from various countries around the world is that for the first time and collectively we have had our own say in our own way as to what cars we are impressed with.”
She said judges don’t all know each other and the hope is to meet together at the presentation of the supreme awards.
“It would certainly create history to have women-only motoring writers together at the one time!”