The new Vauxhall Astra has been announced as the winner of the European Car of the Year award for 2016.
At a ceremony this afternoon at Geneva’s exhibition centre, on the eve of the Geneva motor show, the Astra was announced the jury’s favourite by a narrow margin: it was given 309 points, versus the 294 points of the runner-up, the Volvo XC90.
The jury consists of 58 motoring journalists from 22 European countries. Each juror has 25 points to allocate across the seven shortlisted cars, must give no single car more than 10 points, award no equal first place and distribute some points to at least five of the cars. There are seven sponsoring publications around Europe, of which Autocar is one.
All the judges’ scores will soon be published online at caroftheyear.org, but we can reveal that the overall voting didn’t match that of the UK’s judges. The six UK jurors would have had the Mazda MX-5 ahead by a significant margin, followed by the Volvo XC90, with the Astra and Skoda Superb equal third.
Accepting the award in Geneva, Opel boss Dr Karl-Thomas Neumann said: "It's totally fantastic. You cannot imagine how happy I am to stand here. The competition was tough and you could see it. And our people, the Opel people, are extremely proud.
"We have created the 11th generation of our compact car from a white piece of paper. It is the fifth COTY award Opel has won and the third in the past eight years. We will keep upsetting the upper class and keep exceeding our customer's needs."