European “Car of the Year 2012”? It’s the Chevy Volt
Okay, technically speaking, the Chevrolet Volt was one of two cars honored as the Car of the Year 2012 across the pond, but since the other was the Opel Ampera—essentially the Opel-ized version of the Volt—it still represents a notable recognition for GM’s extended-range electric-vehicle technologies. The award is akin to the North American Car of the Year prize, which the Volt took home in 2011, even to the point where it now signals the kickoff of a major auto show—in this case, the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.
Voting for the award was done by some 59 automotive journalists from throughout Europe, who evaluated seven finalists based on criteria such as innovation, value, safety, quality, design and environmental impact. And with the other finalists including standout entries like the Ford Focus, Range Rover Evoque, Volkswagen Up!, and Citroën DS 5, Fiat Panda and the redesigned European Toyota Yaris, it’s clear that the Volt/Ampera won for more than just its unique propulsion system.
“A Car of the Year has to show excellence in a number of categories—with special attention to the needs of consumers,” according to Hakan Matson, president of the judging panel and also the automotive expert for Dagens Industri, a leading Swedish business publication. “All the members of our jury are experts and put the finalists through a series of exhaustive tests to provide substantial purchasing criteria for consumers.”?
Of course, that being said, Matson went on to note that the cars’ approach to saving fuel was what closed the deal: “The Opel Ampera and its counterpart, the Chevrolet Volt, won in a field of strong competitors, particularly on account of the outstanding technical progress they reflect. With its range extender the Ampera presents a very sound new concept on our way to e-mobility. By solving the problem of range anxiety, it is a remarkable step into the future of electrification.”