The new, improved Car of the Year (COTY) ceremony, held the day before the official press launch of the Geneva motor show this afternoon, seems to have gone extremely well. The turnout of media was extremely good, and more to the point the support from company bosses was strong (we jurors thought they might stay in hiding in case of a loss of face).
The victory of the Vauxhall Ampera, seems to have taken some GM types by surprise because a) they reckoned it might be seen as an American car, and b) they worried that we might have reacted to the net announcement of extra downtime at the US plant. But most of us choose to think the reason the Ampera’s Volt sister car isn't selling strongly is because US fuel is still too cheap.
In any case, this is technology that will live large in the future, it works well in this car, and (I believe) it is probably as important as the transverse front-drive system of the Issigonis Mini was, more than 50 years ago.
In any case, it seems a miracle to me that GM should have been bold enough to devise and produce this revolutionary car while coping with its own bankruptcy. The GM global marketing chief, who was there with Wolfgang Stracke, boss of GM Europe, was sure the European decision would make a difference in the US, too. "You can bet we're going to use this everywhere" he said - and seemed to mean it.
Vauxhall boss Duncan Aldred pronounced the whole thing "fantastic". With a week to go before the UK launch of the Vauxhall Ampera, you can certainly see his point.