The Mercedes-Benz S-Class (above) has won the overall Women’s World Car of the Year award for 2014, beating second-placed Audi A8 and third-placed Tesla Model S, the battery-electric car the NZ Green Party wants the NZ Government to use as its ministerial fleet.
The S-Class also won the luxury category, again pipping the Audi and Tesla. But the US-built Tesla won the separate Green Car division, one of six categories voted on in a secret ballot by 22 women motoring writers in 15 countries.
Their collective readership/audience? Upwards of 28 million, says the founder of the annual award, New Zealander Sandy Myhre. One of the judges is England’s high-profile Vicki Butler-Henderson, from the Fifth Gear TV show. The New Zealand representative on the judging panel is NZ Herald contributor Jacqui Madeline.
Myhre says the 22 women motoring writers are well-informed about the industry and discerning about the cars they drive. “There was considerable discussion among the judges earlier this year about our voting format and cars on the short list,” said Myhre.
“The winning car companies can be justifiably proud of their achievement because it is very hard to get on the short list and to win a category, let alone the supreme trophy.”
The women’s COTY winners are: Family – Audi A3 sedan. Sports – Audi S3. Luxury – Mercedes-Benz S-Class. SUV – Range Rover Sport. Budget – Honda Jazz. Green – Tesla Model S.
Judges vote on 10 different criteria which remain the same in each category. As expected, elements such as design and function, style and appeal, comfort, storage and drive quality were included.
Other considerations in the voting procedure include the ‘wow’ factor, sex appeal and value-for-money, all of which the judges felt to be important to women car buyers. The supreme winner is the car that wins its particular category and collects the most overall points.
As a fun exercise, judges were asked to nominate their ‘dream’ car – the car they would aspire to own, if they don’t already. The car they wanted most: the Jaguar F-type coupe.
The Auckland office of international accountancy firm Grant Thornton counted and analysed the votes. Four of the categories produced the closest voting seen in the five-year history of the women’s award.
The Audi A3 saloon just nudged out the VW Golf Variant for the Family Car award. The Audi S3 pipped the BMW M4 in the Sports Car category. The closest vote came in the SUV category, with the Range Rover Sport inching out the Porsche Macan. The Budget Car and Green Car segments, however, produced clear winners.
The official supreme trophy is a ceramic plate with hand-painted inscriptions, designed and produced by Keri Blue (NZ). It will be presented to Daimler AG in the first quarter of 2015. Certificates designed by Peartree Studios (UK) will also be presented to the winning car companies in each category. The date of the presentations is yet to be confirmed.
The 22 judges: Regina Chan, Canada; Renuka Kirpalani, India; Lou Hammond, USA; Charlene Clark, South Africa; Sue Baker, England: Lauren Fix, USA; Vicki Butler-Henderson, England; Jil Mcintosh, Canada; Alicia Ryzewski, Agentina; Jaqui Madelin, New Zealand; Geraldine Herbert, Ireland; Holly Reich, USA; Karla Pincott, Australia; Xu Qian, China; Maggie Barry, Scotland; Bianca Carretto, Italy; Marta Garcia, Spain; Malin Brand, Iceland; Jenni Kurki-Suonio, Finland; Maria Leitner, Italy; Odiel Mennink, The Netherlands; Silvia Baruffaldi, Italy.