The unique thing about these awards are that they aren't limited to the US domestic market (that's why they're called the World Car of the Year awards). For example, nominees for the overall award included the Skoda Superb, Renault Kadjar, and Subaru Levorg. In the Performance category, the forbidden fruit was repped by the Honda Civic Type R. But both the Civic and the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe were beat out by a far more expensive competitor – the new Audi R8.
The fourth-generation Toyota Prius and the second-generation Chevrolet Volt, were two of the big finalists for the World Green Car of the Year award. They both lost out, though, to the Mirai fuel-cell car. Yes, a hydrogen car beat out two of the world's premiere hybrids.
The luxury race that was perhaps the hardest to predict. That's because each of the three finalists have received near universal acclaim. In the end, though, the BMW 7 Series beat out the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90.
Finally, we have the World Car Design of the Year, where the overall winner (MX-5) and the Mazda CX-3 faced off against the new Jaguar XE. While both the CX-3 and XE are handsome vehicles, the WCOTY committee realized the answer is always Miata, and awarded Mazda's iconic roadster another 2016 award.
NEW YORK – March 24, 2016 ‐ For Immediate Release
The Road to World Car journey ended today with the declaration of the MAZDA MX‐5 as the 2016 World Car of the Year. The winner was announced during a press conference hosted by the New York International Auto Show, Bridgestone Corporation and Autoneum.
2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the partnership between World Car and the New York show, and the third consecutive year that the World Car Awards have retained their ranking as the number one automotive awards program in the world in terms of media reach.
Mazda Motor Corporation is no stranger to the World Car Awards program – now in its 12th year. The Mazda2/Mazda Demio was the 2008 World Car of the Year. While the Mazda3 (2014), Mazda6 (2013) and Mazda MX‐5 have all earned "Top Three in the World" status as voted by our 70 plus international automotive journalists that make up the jury.
The MAZDA MX‐5 was chosen from an initial entry list of 23 vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of ten, then three finalists: the Audi A4 Sedan/Audi A4 Avant, the Mazda MX‐5, and the Mercedes‐Benz GLC.
"What a wonderful honor, to have the Mazda MX‐5 named World Car of the Year," said Masahiro Moro, president and CEO, Mazda North American Operations, and Managing Executive Officer, Mazda Motor Corporation.
"As our iconic MX‐5 roadster approaches one‐million units of production, this award is proof that it is as young, vibrant, fun and relevant as ever. While I accept this award on behalf of the company, I do so representing every Mazda employee, retail partner and customer around the world who has ever felt the joy of driving a pure roadster. We say 'Driving Matters' in our advertising, and we prove it in our cars."
The World Car Awards jurors observed that, "With the launch of its all‐new MX‐5, Mazda has thrown out the blueprint and gone back to basics – back to 1989 basics. Shorter, lower, wider and – most importantly – lighter, the new MX‐5 comes with a choice of either 1.5 or 2.0‐litre naturally aspirated petrol engines and the promise of unparalleled 'Jinba ittai' – a term meaning oneness between car and driver. And yes, it's still one of the best driver's cars around."
To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2015 and ending May 31, 2016.
This year, vehicles were selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of 73 top‐level automotive journalists from 23 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. Through their respective outlets they collectively reach an audience of many millions world‐wide. The international accounting firm KPMG tabulates the jurors' ballots.
Previous World Car of the Year winners were the Mercedes‐Benz C‐Class (2015), the Audi A3 (2014), the Volkswagen Golf (2013), the Volkswagen Up! (2012), the Nissan Leaf (2011), the Volkswagen Polo (2010, the Volkswagen Golf (2009), the Mazda2 / Mazda Demio (2008), the Lexus LS460 (2007), the BMW 3‐Series (2006), and the Audi A6 (2005).
The Road to World Car began in Frankfurt on September 15, was followed by a four and a half day stop in Los Angeles for test‐drives of the North American, Japanese and Swedish contenders in November, continued in Geneva with the Top Three in the World announcement, and finally ended today with the declaration of the winners in five categories at the New York International Auto Show.
The Global Trends Report, co‐presented by Prime Research and Autoneum, was presented just before the winners' press conference. Autoneum CEO Martin Hirzel said, "The findings of the Global Trends Report show clearly that sound inside the driver cabin has major influence on the overall evaluation of a car. Since decades, we from Autoneum are experts in the field of noise reduction for vehicles. Our lightweight and multifunctional products support the car manufacturers to reduce emission, noise and heat and thereby lead to an enhanced driving comfort for the end‐ customer. The global need for our products confirms us in further focusing on driving innovation in acoustic and thermal management solutions."
The World Car Awards media breakfast and winners' press conference at the New York International Auto Show is presented by Bridgestone Corporation, the world's largest tire and rubber company. This is the 8th year Bridgestone has sponsored World Car of the Year. "The future of the auto industry will be built on innovation, performance and sustainability – from automakers and also their suppliers," said Mike Martini, president, original equipment tire sales, U.S. and Canada, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. "Bridgestone invests heavily in research and product development to ensure that we continue to deliver world‐class products in collaboration and partnership with automakers around the world."
As the global nature of the industry continues to strengthen, and the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, World Car is proud to be a part of this amazing journey along with the New York International Auto Show, Prime Research, Bridgestone, Autoneum, KPMG and Newspress.