Drive COTY awards

A little distraction to pass the time…….
DRIVE is a motoring section attached to one of our larger media groups here in Australia, a group called Fairfax.
Like many motoring publications, DRIVE has an annual Car of The Year award and they’ve just announced their winners for 2009. No, Saab does not feature anywhere here, but I thought I’d cover this out of curiosity and as an extension to my comments about over-capacity and diversity from earlier today.
Here are the various categories and winners:

  • Drive Car of the Year: VW Golf 118TSI
  • Small car under $20,000: Ford Fiesta
  • Small car over $20,000: VW Golf 118TSI
  • Medium car: Mazda6 Classic
  • Large car: Nissan Maxima 250 ST-L
  • Convertible: Porsche Boxster
  • People-mover: Honda Odyssey
  • 4WD: Land Rover Discovery
  • Performance car under $60,000: Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Performance car over $60,000: BMW 135i
  • Luxury car under $60,000: Volkswagen Passat
  • Luxury car over $60,000: Jaguar XF
  • SUV under $40,000: Subaru Outback
  • SUV over $40,000: Volvo XC60
  • Utility: Holden Commodore SS ute

Now bear in mind as you read this list that Toyota are – by a large margin – the #1 seller here in Australia. Holden and Ford take up the next two spots.
And yet despite those three having the top three sales numbers for the last few decades, they only manage two awards between them. And neither of those awards were won by Toyota, the #1 seller.
The other curiosity here is that the vast majority of awards were won by European manufacturers. Only four of the awards came from Asian based companies and none of those companies took home more than one award.
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These awards are just the thoughts of the motoring press at DRIVE. But they do go some way to showing the strengths of various companies and the diversity of what’s out there on offer.
And this is the parallel I’d like to draw with my argument against killing Saab off merely because of over-capacity in the market place.
Toyota show that having a variety of affordable and reliable vehicles can mean a lot in terms of sales, but this is just one small pointer towards the main thing everyone knows about Toyota – that they are far from aspirational or inspirational.
There are plenty of car buyers out there who want more than just adequate transportation and in a world market place of XX million vehicles per year, there’s definitely room for Saab to make 100,000 to 150,000 of those vehicles – as long as they’re good.
If the world’s manufacturing capacity has to shrink a little, I’d much rather see it shrink from the bloated volumes that companies like Toyota (lexus), Hyundai, Ford and GM put out into the market. Not from interesting marques like Saab, Jaguar and Porsche.
Just a thought.

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