March 4, 2013 at 5:19 PM ET
The Volkswagen Golf has been named the European Car of the Year for 2013, beating out a wide array of alternatives from around the world.
The seventh-generation VW hatchback soundly beat out its closest competitors in balloting by 58 automotive journalists from 22 European countries. The Golf scored 414 votes compared to 202 for the Subaru BRZ sports car, which took second place, and the 189 votes tallied by the Volvo V40.
“People are looking for commitment and trust,” said Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Volkswagen AG Board of Management, during an award presentation the night before the formal opening of the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. “They are looking for substance and value more than ever before.”
COTY jurors gave a number of reasons for their choice, pointing to the fit and finish of the new Golf, the number of different body styles and powertrains, and the new models significant improvement in fuel economy.
“It was a massive win,” said Steve Cropley, one of the judges, and editor of Britain’s Autocar magazine.
This marks the second time the Golf has won the European honor, previously taking home the trophy in 1992. It is only the second car to win the Car of the Year honor twice.
The latest version of the Golf was introduced late last year and VW is unveiling several new versions during this week’s Geneva show, including a diesel-powered wagon it claims will get better than 70 miles to the gallon.
The European Car of the Year award is one of the most prestigious in Europe and carries weight in many other parts of the world, including the United States, where Volkswagen has significantly increased its presence over the last several years.
But U.S. buyers will have to wait awhile for this version. Volkswagen has decided to shift production of the hatchback for North America to its plant in Puebla, Mexico, a move that should sharply reduce costs. That means the 2013 VW Golf won’t roll into American showrooms until sometime next year.
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