Less than one month from now, the 2009 World Car of the Year Award winner will be announced at the New York Auto Show. The international jury panel (chosen by the World Car Steering Committee on the basis of experience, expertise, credibility and influence) has whittled down the original list of eligible entries to just three in each category (in alphabetical order):

2009 World Car Finalists

2009 World Performance Car Finalists


2009 World Green Car Finalists

This year, the committee has appointed three "green experts" to assist in the selection of the World Green Car finalists. Our own Sam Abuelsamid (from Autoblog and AutoblogGreen) was the sole representative from North America! Check out the full press release after the jump.

[Source: World Car of the Year]



PRESS RELEASE

Top Three Finalists Announced In Four Categories
2009 World Car Awards


March 9, 2009 - For Immediate Release. The countdown continues in preparation for the 2009 World Car Awards winners' press conference at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday, April 9, 2009. Announcing the annual World Car of the Year awards at the New York show is a fitting finale to the international auto show season that begins each fall with either the Paris or Frankfurt motor shows.

From an initial entry list of fifty-one (51) new vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of ten finalists, the top three contenders for the overall 2009 World Car title were announced today by the international accounting firm KPMG. They are, in alphabetical order:

  • Ford Fiesta
  • Toyota iQ
  • Volkswagen Golf VI

To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the contender had to be in production, and sold, on at least two continents during 2008.

Vehicles are selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of fifty-nine (59) top-level automotive journalists from twenty-five (25) countries around the world. Each juror was appointed by the World Car Steering Committee on the basis of his or her expertise, experience, credibility, and influence. Each juror typically drives and evaluates new vehicles on a regular basis as part of their professional work.

Three additional winners for the World Performance Car, World Green Car award, and the World Car Design of the Year will also be announced at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday, April 9, 2009.

In preparation, KPMG announced today that the Top Three finalists for the 2009 World Performance Car award, presented by Mobil 1, are, in alphabetical order:

  • Corvette ZR1
  • Nissan GT-R
  • Porsche 911 Carrera


While the winner of the overall World Car award must excel in a broad range of attributes, the World Performance Car award must demonstrate a specific and overt sports/performance orientation while satisfying the same availability criteria as for the overall World Car of the Year award.


Entrants may be chosen from that list of eligible vehicles, or they may be newly introduced variants that satisfy the same criteria, but are derived from existing rather than brand-new models. In all cases, they must have a minimum annual production rate of five-hundred (500) vehicles.


""For more than 30 years, Mobil 1 engineering teams have been at the forefront of evolving engine technologies and design, collaborating with many of the world's leading automotive manufacturers," said Nancy Carlson, strategic global alliances - sales director, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties. "Our teams have worked to ensure that Mobil 1 fully synthetic motor oil continues to deliver outstanding protection and performance benefits required for today's advanced engines. As the returning sponsor of the World Performance Car Award, we are pleased to be involved in recognizing the top performance cars of 2009 from this year's very impressive group of nominees. We wish them all the best o f luck."


To be eligible for the 2009 World Green Car* award, a vehicle had to available in at least one major market during 2008. The vehicle or the green technology could be in production or an experimental prototype with potential near-future application, provided that it was released for individual or press fleet evaluations in quantities of ten or more during 2008. Tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and use of a major advanced power plant technology (beyond engine componentry), aimed specifically at increasing the vehicle's environmental responsibility, were all taken into consideration.


Due to the complexity of some of the 'green' technologies, three (3) green experts were appointed by the World Car Steering Committee to extensively review all documentation and specs associated with each candidate. They were asked to create a short-list of five finalists for review by the fifty-nine (59) jurors in their second round of voting in February.


The three green experts were in alphabetical order:

Sam Abuelsamid (representing North America) is the technical editor of several 'green' web sites including GreenFuelsForecast.com, DieselForecast.com and HydrogenForecast.com. In 2006, he began writing for AutoblogGreen.com and Autoblog.com; becoming a full-time writer and photographer and editor in 2007.


Dean Slavnich (representing Europe) is editor of Engine Technology International (ETi) and its sister publication, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International (E&H), for the past four years. Engine Technology International is widely regarded as the most readable, passionate and informative publication currently produced on the subject of OE engine and powertrain design, development and manufacture.

Tadashi Tateuchi (representing Asia) is the creator and chairman of the Japan Electric Vehicle (EV) Club. He was awarded the Environment Minister's medal in 1998. A juror on the Japan Car of the Year panel, he contributes regularly to Car Graphic magazine and the Japan Automobile Federation's monthly magazine.

The fifty-nine (59) member jury chose the following top three finalists for the 2009 World Green Car award:

  • Honda FCX Clarity
  • Mitsubishi iMiEV
  • Toyota iQ

Cars eligible for the 2009 World Car Design of the Year award are taken from the list of World Car candidates.


A design panel consisting of four highly respected world design experts was asked to first review each candidate, and then establish a short-list of recommendations for the jurors. The design experts were:

  • Silvia Baruffaldi: Managing Editor, Auto & Design magazine
  • Robert Cumberford: design critic, Automobile and Auto & Design magazines
  • Akira Fujimoto: Editor-in-Chief, Car Styling magazine.
  • Tom Matano: Executive Director, School of Industrial Design, Academy of Art University, San Francisco,

Jurors then voted on the experts' recommendations. The top three design finalists are, in alphabetical order:

  • Citroen C5 Sedan / C5 Tourer
  • Fiat 500
  • Jaguar XF

Now in their sixth year, the annual World Car awards have become one of the most prestigious, significant, and credible programs of their type in the world.

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 a global 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. There is no affiliation with, nor are the awards in any way influenced by any publication, auto show, automaker, or other commercial enterprise.

For more information, please visit our web site at www.wcoty.com