Countdown to Car of the Year announcement kicks off
Pretoria. Twenty-five members of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) have just spent two days on the road in the area surrounding the greater Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality to evaluate the nine finalists for the coveted WesBank/ SAGMJ Car of the Year award, to be announced in less than a month.
Each of the 25 jurors had already been exposed to the finalists, having either attended the local launch event of the vehicle or having tested them for at least three days, under normal driving conditions, in 2013. During the evaluation days, the jury had to test each finalist under simulated extreme conditions at the Gerotek vehicle testing facility. In these controlled conditions, the jury were enabled to evaluate each of the finalists’ dynamic and response in wet conditions, steering inputs and stability at high speeds, road comfort and suspension on simulated extreme road surfaces as well as handling, braking and cornering abilities on the facility’s Dynamic Handling Track.
According to Mr Christo Valentyn, chairman of the SAGMJ, the South African version of the Car of the Year award is one of the toughest and most professionally run events of its kind.
“The competition is unique in that all full members of the Guild have input in which vehicles ultimately become finalists. These members also determine the jury who conducts the formal evaluation of the finalists on behalf of the broader membership, making it one of the most representative and experienced jury panels used in competitions of this nature,” he says.
“The demographics of this year’s jury include a wide spectrum of individuals that represent a fair cross-section of the motor-buying public. In terms of age, the youngest jury members are, for instance in their twenties, while the oldest is in his seventies. And considering the important role women play in vehicle purchasing decisions, the jury also included four highly experienced and respected women.”
Over the next week, the jury members will evaluate the finalists for the COTY trophy in their segments with due consideration of aesthetics, quality, price, cost of parts and services and value for money.
“The jury has the mandate to select, from the nine extremely worthy finalists, the car that, against its direct competitors and in the market as a whole, displays the ultimate in motoring excellence. This is the competition’s primary criterion,” says Valentyn.
The jury members will cast their secret votes online, after which the votes will be tallied and audited. The finalist vehicle with the highest score will be awarded the title of 2014 WesBank/ SAGMJ Car of the Year, the ultimate award in the South African motoring industry, at a gala event in Sandton on 19 February 2014.
The nine finalists for the 2014 WesBank/ SAGMJ Car of the Year competition is:
- Audi A3 Sportback 1.4T FSI Manual
- Jaguar F-TYPE 3.0 V6 S
- Lexus IS 350 F-Sport
- Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG
- Peugeot 208 GTI
- Porsche Cayman S
- Renault Clio4 66kW Turbo Dynamique
- Volkswagen Golf 7 1.4 TSI 90kW Comfortline DSG
- Volvo V40 D3 Geartronic Excel
Issued on behalf of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists and WesBank.