BMW continues its indomitable ways with the 3-Series by taking home the trophy for the 2006 World Car of the Year Award presented by the Midway Group. World Car jurors initially chose 27 candidates, which were later whittled down to three: the BMW 3-Series, Mazda MX-5 and Porsche Cayman S.

The WCOTY Award is only one year old, as the inaugural award went to the Audi A6 last year. It’s given away at the New York Auto Show, which unofficially represents the end of the auto show season until the following fall.

Other COTY winners for 2006 include the Porsche Cayman S for World Performance Car, the Honda Civic Hybrid for World Green Car and the Citroen C4 for World Car Design of the Year. 

Check out the full press release regarding the World Car of the Year Awards after the jump…



April 13, 2006 - For Immediate Release
At a press conference presented by the Midway Group and hosted by the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javitz Centre in Manhattan, New York, the BMW 3-Series was declared the 2006 World Car of the Year.

The BMW 3-Series was chosen from an initial entry list of twenty-seven (27) candidates nominated by the World Car jurors.

In selecting the winner a jury of 46 international automotive journalists considered a variety of parameters; then individually reviewed, evaluated, and voted on the World Car of the Year entrants by secret ballot.   The international accounting firm KPMG tabulated the ballots to first determine the finalists, and finally the winner.

Jurors observed that there has been considerable proliferation of models from BMW, from entry-level 1-Series hatchbacks to 500 hp M-Series supercars, but the heart of the BMW mystique lies, as it has for decades, with the 3-Series: sound, sensible and sporty sedans, coupes, convertibles and wagons.

Jurors felt that tradeoffs between performance and practicality; between style and seriousness are more perfectly balanced with the 3-Series than is the case with any other make. Variants include all-wheel drive models for difficult winters, ultra-high performance M models, and highly efficient four- and six-cylinder diesels.

Without changes from their basic specifications, the BMW 3 Series does the job as though specifically designed for local conditions.

The top three contenders for the second annual World Car of the Year in addition to the BMW 3-Series were the Mazda MX-5 and the Porsche Cayman S.

“We are delighted to receive this recognition of the 3 Series,” said Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO of BMW of North America.  “It is often more difficult to replace an acknowledged segment leader than to introduce a new car.  Based on awards like this and the reaction by customers, the fifth generation 3 Series is a worthy successor”.

Today’s world is truly a global village – especially within the automotive industry.  National borders are effectively non-existent in terms of where vehicles and their components are designed, engineered, developed, built, and sold. The World Car of the Year Awards, of which the Audi A6 was the inaugural winner in 2005, reflect the truly global nature of the 21st-century automotive business and, at the same time, recognizes and rewards automotive excellence on a global scale.
Announcing the annual World Car of the Year awards at the New York show is a fitting finale to the auto show season that begins each fall with either the Paris or Frankfurt motor shows.   Next, it’s on to Tokyo in alternating years.  The Detroit show takes centre stage in January while Geneva claims the spotlight in March.  Finally, in April, the season reaches its exciting climax at the New York International Auto Show.

Three additional specialty awards were handed out during the same press conference.   The Porsche Cayman S was declared World Performance Car; the Honda Civic Hybrid won the honours for World Green Car; while the Citroen C4 earned the World Car Design of the Year award for 2006.

Graham Johnson, co-chair of the World Car of the Year steering committee, announced the addition of the new specialty awards last October.  “Performance, design, and environmental responsibility are all key elements in the success of a vehicle on a global scale,” he said, “so we believe it is appropriate that we recognize exceptional achievement in those specific areas with their own awards.”

A panel of international experts in each of the environmental and design fields was chosen to assist the jurors by developing the short lists of finalists from the array of eligible candidates in each of those categories.  However, the 46 member jury themselves determined the top three finalists in the World Performance Car category.

The World Car of the Year Awards program is initiated by, organized by, and conducted by, automotive journalists from around the globe.  A non-profit association guided by a steering committee of journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America administers the awards program.  WCOTY is intended to complement, not compete with, existing COTY awards by raising consumer awareness of regional Car of the Year award programs as well as the World Car of the Year.

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