Bobby Cheetham, Coty Jury Member
THE Car of the Year is the Porsche Cayman S. The 2014 WesBank/ SAGMJ Car of the Year (Coty) was announced on Wednesday at a gala event in Sandton and is the ultimate award in the South African motoring industry. The black-tie event was attended by captains of the motor industry and leading businesspeople.
This is the second year in a row that Porsche has won the title – last year it won with the Boxster.
The nine finalists were:
Audi A3 Sportback 1.4T FSI Manual;
Jaguar F-TYPE 3.0 V6 S;
Lexus IS 350 F-Sport;
Mercedes-Benz A 45 AMG;
Peugeot 208 GTI;
Porsche Cayman S;
Renault Clio4 66kW Turbo Dynamique;
Volkswagen Golf 7 1.4 TSI 90kW Comfortline DSG and Volvo V40 D3 Geartronic Excel.
All 25 members of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists (SAGMJ) spent two days on the road in the area surrounding the greater Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality to evaluate the finalists.
Each of the 25 jurors had already been exposed to the finalists, having either attended the local launch event of the vehicle or having tested them for at least three days, under normal driving conditions, last year. During the evaluation days, the jury had to test each finalist under simulated extreme conditions at the Gerotek vehicle testing facility.
In these controlled conditions, the jury was able to evaluate each of the finalists’ dynamics and response in wet conditions, steering inputs and stability at high speeds, road comfort and suspension on simulated extreme road surfaces as well as handling, braking and cornering abilities on the facility’s dynamic handling track.
According to the chairman of the SAGMJ, Christo Valentyn, the South African version of the Car of the Year award is one of the toughest and most professionally run events of its kind.
“The competition is unique in that all full members of the guild have input in which vehicles ultimately become finalists.
“These members also determine the jury who conduct the formal evaluation of the finalists on behalf of the broader membership, making it one of the most representative and experienced jury panels used in competitions of this nature.
“The demographics of this year’s jury included a wide spectrum of individuals who represented a fair cross-section of the motor-buying public. In terms of age, the youngest jury members were, for instance, in their 20s, while the oldest is in his 70s.
“And considering the important role women play in vehicle purchasing decisions, the jury also included four highly experienced and respected women.” The jury members evaluated the finalists for the Coty trophy in their segments with due consideration of aesthetics, quality, price, cost of parts and services and value for money.
“The jury had the mandate to select, from the nine extremely worthy finalists, the car that against its direct competitors and in the market as a whole, displays the ultimate in motoring excellence.
“This is the competition’s primary criterion,” Valentyn said.
Jury members cast their secret votes online, after which the votes were tallied and audited.
The finalist vehicle with the highest score was awarded the title of 2014 WesBank/ SAGMJ Car of the Year, the ultimate award in the South African motoring industry.
Follow the action on Facebook (www.facebook.com/wesbankcoty) or on Twitter by following @wesbankcoty. You can also read more about the competition and its finalists by visiting www.wesbankcoty.co.za
Accepting the trophy from Chris de Kock, chief executive of headline sponsor Wesbank, and Valentyn, Toby Venter, chief executive of Porsche Centre South Africa, said: “This is a memorable day for Porsche customers and staff in South Africa.
“I also commend the tireless efforts of engineers and designers at Porsche.
“These dedicated people create cars with leading technology and styling, not just in a clinical way, but with passion and magic.
“I also wish to thank the Guild of Motoring Journalists for displaying the courage of their convictions by bestowing this honour on Porsche.”