Early last month, we posted the finalists for the World Car of the Year awards, which is now offered not only as an overall award, but also in more specific categories: World Performance Car of the Year, World Green Car of the Year, and World Car Design of the Year.
For 2009, the Fiat 500 has been declared World Car Design of the Year.
Presented at the 2009 New York Motor Show, the World Car Design of the Year award (let?s call it WCDotY) was conferred by a panel selected for its expertise in automotive design.
The three finalists for WCDotY were the Citroen C5 sedan and C5 Tourer, the Jaguar XF and, of course, the Fiat 500.
The list of panelists included Akira Fujimoto, editor of Car Styling magazine, Robert Cumberford, design critic for Automobile and Auto & Design magazines, Silvia Baruffaldi, managing editor of Auto & Design magazine and Tom Matano, director of the School of Industrial Design at the Academy of Art university in San Francisco.
"Icon is an overused word in the automotive world, but the Fiat 500 dating from 1957 genuinely deserves the sobriquet. [The 500 captures] the visual appeal of the original version while meeting modern design and engineering standards."
Design consultant Robert Cumberford said:
"(The 500) pushes the emotional hot buttons of several generations of people who might never have driven one of the early models, but who admired them on European streets. Built on the Panda platform, the 500 keeps the original's charm, adding two more seats and all contemporary safety, anti-pollution and driving aids."
From Tom Matano:
"... heart-warming style. It is genuine, straightforward, without gimmicks. It is a welcome addition to a car world full of non-humanistic designs."
Previous winners of the World Car Design of the Year award were the Audi R8 in 2008, the Audi TT in 2007 and the Citroen C4 in 2006.