The second annual Cars.co.za Consumer Awards kicked off at the Vodadome in Midrand. The Awards, powered by Wesbank, recognised the best derivatives on sale in the local new vehicle market.
The big winner of the night was Suzuki South Africa, who not only scooped the awards for the Budget Car and Compact Family Car categories, but the coveted title of Brand of the Year. Other honourable mentions go to Volkswagen with three wins and BMW with two.
The award categories were updated this year to take into consideration new vehicle sales trends – such as the increased demand for small/compact crossovers, the buying public’s preference for SUVs over sedans and MPVs, as well as the introduction of several new and facelifted double-cab bakkies.
This year’s judging process incorporated additional expertise from the extended Cars.co.za editorial team, as well as the recruitment of additional guest judges from specialist fields. The votes cast by the judges had a 50% weighting on the final results, while the remaining 50% was based on the findings of the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, in partnership with data specialists Lightstone Consumer.
According to the data incorporated feedback from thousands of South African vehicle owners, based on their experiences of their vehicles (must be less than five years old and serviced through franchised outlets). All vehicles sold as new on – or launched in the market by – 1 September 2016 were in contention to be semi-finalists provided they conformed to their categories’ criteria.
The Cars.co.za judges included Ashley Oldfield, road test/technical editor; Ciro de Siena, manager, Cars.co.za video; David Taylor, senior journalist; Francisco Nwamba, contributor; Gero Lilleike, journalist; Hannes Oosthuizen, consumer experience manager; and Mike Fourie, content manager.
The group of guest judges was made up of Branko Brkic, founder and editor, The Daily Maverick; Eddie Kalili, group motoring editor, Destiny, Destiny Man and Sawubona; Juliet McGuire, editor, Women on Wheels; Khutso Theledi, journalist/presenter/DJ; Kojo Baffoe, journalist/writer/media strategist; Nafisa Akabor, tech journalist and Cars.co.za contributor; and Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist, The Times.
The second phase of the selection process involved the website’s editorial team scoring the five semi-finalists in each category to narrow the field of potential award winners from 65 to 39. Following that, the combined judging panel evaluated the finalists back to back during a two-day test.