Media Release 13 February 2008
CAR magazine recognises automotive excellence
Honda was last night [12 February] named Motor Company of the Year and Johann
Rupert Motor Personality of the Year, in CAR magazine’s inaugural CAR Awards held
to honour the achievers and achievements of those in the motor industry. The Audi R8
was declared New Car Design of the Year.
The awards formed part of CAR’s annual Top 12 Best Buys awards function,
sponsored by Nedbank Vehicle and Asset Finance, at which CAR’s 2008 recommendations for the best value-for-money vehicle purchasing in 12 categories
Despite a tapering-off of growth during the last year, the South African automotive
industry continues to be one of the most vibrant and competitive in the world.
Manufacturers and importers are offering a staggering – and increasing – number of
new vehicles to an eager buying public, who themselves are having to overcome
limitations imposed by last year’s personal credit legislation and increases in interest
rates. Rising fuel prices continue to be a disturbing factor in running costs, meaning
that making a choice of the right vehicle is more critical than ever before.
In the light of this, CAR’s annual Top 12 Best Buys takes on a more significant role as
a guide to which models offer the best all-round value for money. The awards, now in
their ninth year, cover 12 categories that, by and large, represent the full South African
passenger vehicle market. Using the traditional criteria of the “four Ps” – package,
price, performance, personality – the eight-man editorial team voted to determine a winner in each of the categories.
Nedbank Vehicle and Asset Finance joined forces with CAR in 2006 to help elevate
Top 12 into the ultimate recognition of sound vehicle purchasing, and the accredited
financial services supplier’s contribution includes the hosting of a special gala awards
ceremony attended by all of the industry’s key players, which this year took place at
Nedbank in Sandown, where the following winners were announced:
Best Budget Car (under R90 000): Chevrolet Spark 1,0 LT
Placing more emphasis on safety related features as opposed to simply choosing the
cheapest acceptable set of wheels, the Chevy Spark manages to retain its No 1 spot
in this category.
Best Light Car: Mazda2
New, and an immediate winner. Whatever you may think about Mazda’s “zoom-zoom”
marketing approach, the company has at long last come up with the goods to match
Best Compact Car: Honda Civic
The latest J D Power Customer Satisfaction Index study shows the Civic to be South
Africa’s most highly rated car. It offers excellent value for money, and is a real driver’s
Best Compact Executive: Mercedes-Benz C-Class
The new C-Class is a stylish evolution of the previous generation, high on technology
and refinement, with wide-ranging driver appeal. It is a very impressive car, and an
immediate sales success.
Best Executive Saloon: Lexus GS300
The distinctive GS300 still represents a vehicle of style, high quality, and, in relative
terms, value for money. Only two models are offered, but both are comprehensively
Best Grand Saloon: Mercedes-Benz S-Class:
Nothing has happened during the past 12 months to consider dethroning the
Mercedes S-Class, one of the most advanced, mass-produced automobiles you can
find on the planet.
Best Hot Hatch: Audi S3
Admittedly at the premium end of the pricing scale, the S3 is maybe not the ultimate in
every aspect, but it is just so good in every way. These days, you have to take Audis
Best Sports/Performance Car: Porsche 911
There are a lot of exotic pretenders to the sportscar throne, but none can offer the
variety of performance that this Porsche does. The iconic 911 has made this category
its own from the start.
Best MPV/Station Wagon: Nissan Livina
The five-seat Nissan Livina and seven-seat Grand Livina have set a new benchmark
in cost-effective, comfy family transport. Functionality doesn’t have to mean boring.
Best Compact SUV: Honda CR-V
Honda’s soft-roader, particularly in turbodiesel guise, is the real business: satisfying to drive, economical, and a practical family vehicle all at the same time. High quality is a
Best SUV: Toyota Fortuner
Just after it was launched, it was clear that the new, locally assembled Fortuner wagon
had turned the local SUV market on its head. Practical, comfortable, well built, and a
Best Double-cab/Pick-up: Toyota Hilux
“Enduring” is a description that goes nowhere near explaining the impact that the Hilux has had on not only the motoring scene in South Africa. Tough as nails, go anywhere,
do anything, any time.
The CAR Awards to the industry
In addition to the Top 12 Best Buys, for the first time CAR magazine extended its
annual awards programme to include accomplishments from all sectors of the motor
industry, with an emphasis on South African achievers and achievements. It also
recognise the past season’s overall winners of the magazine’s national motorsport
initiatives, the CAR Challenge and the CAR Rookie of the Year.
The first recipients of the CAR Awards are:
Motor Company of the Year: Honda – for setting an industry benchmark in quality products and satisfaction
Motor Personality of the Year: Johann Rupert – for making a major, ongoing contribution to the survival of South Africa’s automotive heritage
New Car Design of the Year: Audi R8 – a first supercar that takes Audi beyond the norm
Technical Innovation of the Year: The Mercedes-Benz DiesOtto engine – for opening
up new horizons in the search for cleaner and more economical engines
The Safety Award: Philip Hull – for his ongoing dedication to the furtherance of
accident prevention in South Africa.
The Green Award: Stuart A Rayner – for masterminding the introduction of cleaner fuels and Euro II emissions compliance in sub-Saharan Africa
Motorsport Achiever of the Year: Arushen Moodley – for being the world’s first rider of colour to win a national Superbike championship
The CAR Challenge Champion 2007: Ben Morgenrood
The CAR Rookie of the Year 2007: Etienne Prinsloo
The full results of the Top 12 Best Buys for 2008 and the inaugural CAR Awards are
available in the magazine’s March issue, on sale from 17 February.
For more information contact CAR editor, John Bentley, at 021 530 3156 or firstname.lastname@example.org