Honda's CR-Z has claimed Car of the Year honours in Japan, securing the victory in the closest-fought poll that the annual award has ever seen.
The final voting took place at Waseda University Hall in Tokyo, and Volkswagen's Polo looked set to claim the spoils. It had more 10-vote counts than any other car, until the final five members of the 60-strong jury delivered a surge of support for the CR-Z.
Solemn Honda staffers like CR-Z chief engineer Norio Tomobe started to cheer like soccer fans as their car overhauled the Polo, eventually scoring 406 votes against the German car's 397. Suzuki's Swift came third, with the Peugeot RCZ in fourth.
Volkswagen did score some consolation; its display was the strongest ever seen by an imported car in the Japanese COTY, which has been dominated throughout its 31-year history by local models. The Polo did win Import Car of the Year.
Japan Car of the Year Final Votes
1 Honda CR-Z 406 votes,2 VW Polo 397,3 Suzuki Swift 228,4 Peugeot RCZ 190,5 Nissan March 67,6 BMW 5-series 62,7 Jaguar XJ 54,8 Mazda Premacy (Mazda 5) 51,9 Toyota Mark X 26,10 Mercedes E-class 19
Voting in Japan
Each of the 60 jurors is allocated 25 votes, 10 votes of which must be awarded to their top-rated car. The remaining 15 votes must be spread across the juror’s next best four vehicles, in order of preference – something like 10-6-4-3-2.