The Vauxhall Insignia has won the European Car of the Year award for 2009, beating the heavily favoured Ford Fiesta by a solitary point.
The competition, which brings together votes from 59 motoring journalists in 23 European countries, gave the decision to GM’s new family car by 321 points, to 320 for the Fiesta. The VW Golf, third of contest’s seven finalists polled 223 points.
The result was revealed this morning to Carl-Peter Forster, president of GM Europe, by Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley, Car of the Year executive vice president for 2009.
"This is great news for GM/Vauxhall and its employees, suppliers and retailers," said Bill Parfitt, managing director of GM Europe UK. "Vauxhall has made great strides in recent years, particularly in design and dynamics, and the Insignia illustrates what we’re capable of achieving.
"It offers great quality and value in a prestige package that will provide an exceptional ownership experience to our customers.”
The closeness of the 2009 decision is further illustrated by the fact that while the Insignia won most votes from 20 jurors, the Fiesta was placed first by 19 of them.
“The Insignia and Fiesta are both brilliant cars,” said Cropley. "Commiserations to Ford for just missing out. I hope the strength of the support that its car received will be some kind of compensation.”
The Fiesta’s defeat is a particularly bitter blow for Ford, whose Mondeo lost in 2001 by a singe point to the Alfa Romeo 147.
The 2009 competition’s other finalists were the Citroen C5 (198 points), the Alfa Romeo MiTo (148 points), the Skoda Superb (144 points) and the Renault Megane (121 points).
The victorious GM Insignia team will receive the Car of the Year perpetual trophy at a special ceremony in January next year.