Mercedes-Benz dominated the competition during the World Car of the Year ceremonies at the New York International Auto Show.
“Mercedes pulled off a hat trick,” said Peter Lyons, co-chairman of the global awards program, after he handed out the last of five trophies during ceremonies at New York’s Jacob Javits convention center. That included the coveted honor of being named World Car of the Year for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
“I am speechless,” said the German maker’s global PR chief Christoph Horn, as he stared out at a large audience of journalists and executives from competing manufacturers. “One doesn’t think it could get better” than taking one, then a second trophy, “but it did,” said Horn as he took the biggest of the awards.
The World Car program is designed to recognize vehicles that are sold in at least two global markets – something that has become increasingly common these days. In fact, one of the three finalists for the World Car of the Year category, the 2015 Ford Mustang, just became eligible for the award, the Detroit maker taking the recently redesigned pony car global for the first time in its 50-year history.
The 75 journalists who make up the World Car jury represent traditional and new media outlets on every continent but Antarctica. They had to wade through hundreds of cars for the five different categories, eventually whittling them down to three finalists for each.
The World Green Car award was narrowed down to the Golf GTE battery-electric vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz S500e and the winner, the BMW i8.
“This is a recognition of a brilliant car,” proclaimed BMW Board Member Ian Robertson, as he accepted the award, “a sports car for the future.”
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The World Car Design of the Year was narrowed down to the Mercedes C-Class, Volvo XC90 and Citroen C4 Cactus. The French design, which maintains that country’s tradition of unusual, often downright quirky, styling, took honors. One of the more novel features of the Cactus is its soft side panels designed to help absorb parking lot blows without leaving dings and dents
While Mercedes placed a finalist in all three categories, it didn’t get to make a podium dash until it was time to accept the trophy for World Performance Car. The new M4 and M3 siblings, as well as the Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, had to move aside for the new Mercedes AMG GT sports car.
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“Parents are always proud when their kids do well,” boasted Rob Moran, head of the German maker’s U.S. PR operations – and a member of the planning team when the GT was originally conceived.
Mercedes was back up on stage moments later when it took honors for World Luxury Car, its S Coupe topping both the BMW i8 and the Range Rover Autobiography Black LWB model.
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The German maker then closed things out by accepting the award for World Car. It was the strongest showing by a single manufacturer since the awards began, and continued a series of sweeps by European automakers in recent years.