The new Fiat 500 has scored an emphatic victory in this year’s European Car of the Year competition. It notched 385 votes in all. Its nearest rival, the Mazda 2, tallied 325, while the remaining five finalists were well beaten; the Ford Mondeo scored 202 points, the Kia Cee’d 166, the Nissan Qashqai 147, the Mercedes C-class 128 and the Peugeot 308 97 points.
An overwhelming 34 of COTY’s 58 jurors, from 22 countries, made the Fiat 500 their first choice. Of the remaining 24 jurors, 16 chose the Mazda 2 as winner, a clear indication that this was indeed the year of the supermini.
The Fiat’s victory puts the lie to early assertions that “retro cars never win”. Jurors seemed impressed by unprecedented public interest in, and warm support for, the Fiat, even before launch. They were also probably mindful of the 2002 result, when BMW’s similarly iconic new Mini was easily defeated by Peugeot’s 307, a competent car which never truly defeated the leaders of its class, Ford’s Focus and VW’s Golf.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne was informed of the Fiat 500’s victory late last week by Frank Janssen, COTY’s executive vice president, and will receive the award officially on January 28 2008, in a special ceremony in Berlin.