Volkswagen Polo named 2010 World Car of the Year - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Volkswagen Polo named 2010 World Car of the Year

The Volkswagen Polo The Volkswagen Polo
The Volkswagen BlueMotion Golf The Volkswagen BlueMotion Golf
The Chevrolet Camaro The Chevrolet Camaro
The Audi R8 V10 (photos ©Dan Meade) The Audi R8 V10 (photos ©Dan Meade)

By Dan Meade
Provided by WorldNow

The World Car of the Year Awards have become a tradition during the second day of New York Auto Show. The big winner this year was Volkswagen, which won awards in two of the four categories.

The World Car of the Year, or WCOTY, is a series of four awards -- World Car of the Year, World Green Car, World Design of the Year and World Performance Car -- that is determined by a panel of 59 automotive journalists from 25 countries around the world. WCOTY is meant to, in the words of co-chairman Peter Lyons, "reward the efforts of those automobile manufactures which are responding best to the challenging realities of engineering world cars that appeal for buyers and enthusiasts."

This year's awards ceremony began with the three finalists for World Car of the Year -- the Mercedes Benz E-Class, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Polo -- on the main stage to the right of the presenter's podium. The cars sat there, quietly awaiting their turn in the program, as the other three awards were given out. The finalists in the other categories were grouped along the sides of conference hall.

First was the World Green Car award, which was introduced by Mike Martini of Bridgestone Americas, one of the sponsors of the event. Martini spoke of the importance of "efficiency and eliminating waste" in manufacturing while being "good shepherds of the planet" as the reason why his company wanted to hand out the World Green Car trophy. Martini then proceeded to give the trophy to Volkswagen for their BlueMotion models of the Passat, Golf and Polo. WCOTY jurors were quoted as remarking that "the Passat BlueMotion can travel just about 1,000 miles on one tank of fuel in the European cycle. As far as internal combustion engines go today, these models are the ultimate you can get." The Honda Insight and Toyota Prius were the other two finalists for this award.

At first glance, the World Design of the Year award appeared to be a two car race between the Chevrolet Camaro and the Kia Soul. It was later revealed that the third finalist, the Citroen C3 Picasso, had been delayed by customs, but a representative was on hand to accept the award should Citroen win… which they did not. The trophy went to the Camaro, although in accepting the award, Chevy's Design Director Michael Simcoe made no mention of the Camaro's appearances as Bumblebee in the Transformers film franchise.

In presenting the World Performance Car winner, WCOTY co-chair Matt Davis spoke of the finalists -- the Ferrari California, Porsche 911 GT3 and Audi R8 V10 -- as the kind of cars that cause "the most heated discussions" among automotive journalists. From this contentious group, the Audi R8 V10 was chosen as the winner. Audi also won this award in 2008 with the R8.

The preliminary awards over, WCOTY's Peter Lyons returned to the stage to present the World Car of the Year trophy. To heighten the tension and add a bit of drama to the event, before Lyons read the name inside of the envelope, three drivers walked onto the stage and into the E-Class, Prius and Polo – the winning model would be driven to the front of the stage, leaving the other two in the rear. Lyons announced the VW Polo as the winner, the car revved its engine and drove forward and Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG came forward to accept the award.

Winterkorn remarked that "we're honored that the Volkswagen Polo was chosen by this distinguished group of jurors as the 2010 World Car of The Year. After the great triumph of the Golf last year, we are delighted to repeat this success with the new Polo. These automobiles have reaped numerous awards, winning well-nigh every prize the automotive industry has to award. This shows that Volkswagen is on the right track and is offering arguably the best range of products in its history."

The event ended with a photo session in front of, and around, the Polo. Previous World Car of the Year winners were the Volkswagen Golf in 2009, the Mazda2 / Mazda Demio in 2008, the Lexus LS460 in 2007, the BMW 3-Series in 2006, and the Audi A6 in 2005.

Dan Meade is the Auto editor for WorldNow and has been covering the New York Auto Show since 2008.

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