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Holden’s Camaro named best car design

Coupe de grace: The Holden-designed Chevrolet Camaro is a good looker - just ask the World Car of the Year judges.

Oz-designed Camaro claims global design gong as VW dominates WCOTY award

8 Apr 2010

CHEVROLET’S Australian-designed Camaro coupe has been judged the World Car Design of the Year.

The 2010 World Car of the Year awards were dominated by Germany’s Volkswagen Group, with the new VW Polo claiming the main WCOTY prize, the same brand’s BlueMotion line-up winning the green-car category and Audi’s R8 V10 supercar taking out the World Performance Car of the Year gong.

However, General Motors’ Australian subsidiary gained significant kudos after being deemed to have produced the best automotive design for 2009 globally in the GM Holden-design and engineered Camaro coupe.

Holden was responsible for developing the born-again American muscle car from the same large rear-drive Zeta platform that underpins Australia’s top-selling VE Commodore, as well as transforming GM’s original Camaro concept into the final production car.

The two-door Camaro has attracted more than 80,000 customers – almost double the number of Commodore sedans and utes sold here in 2009 – since it was launched in the US in April last year, out-selling its most direct rivals in Ford’s Mustang and the Dodge Challenger.

In somewhat of a consolation prize for the cancellation of Holden’s lucrative G8-badged Commodore export program to the US when GM axed the Pontiac brand, the Camaro has been America’s top-selling mainstream sportscar for almost a year now.

While a right-hand drive derivative of the Camaro has again been put on the back-burner in favour of a convertible version, the Canadian-made coupe has easily exceeded GM’s own sales and profit forecasts.

 center imageLeft: Volkswagen Polo. Below: Audi R8 V10.

Chevrolet design director (Global RWD, performance cars and full-size trucks) Tom Peters accepted the award at the New York motor show on April 1.

“In recreating this modern sportscar, we have proven that people are just as passionate about Chevy as ever,” said Mr Peters. “We have been delighted about the strong reaction to the Camaro. Even in markets that are new to Chevy, it has been creating an emotional appeal for the brand.”

Holden’s Port Melbourne-based design team was just as chuffed to beat a strong field of European and Japanese brands to the award, which was judged by a panel of five respected world design experts.

Holden design director Tony Stolfo said the Holden design studio was enormously proud to have played a leading role in the revival of such an iconic vehicle.

“Even in its early stages, we felt the Camaro design was something special, paying true homage to its classic pony car heritage,” he said.

"To have the talents of the Holden design team recognised in this way is a great honour and true recognition of the endless hours spent developing and honing the final theme.

"Great credit should also go to our engineers who managed to keep the production vehicle faithful to the original concept and deliver the performance expected of a vehicle representing the Camaro.

“It's yet another demonstration of the unique automotive talent that we have in Australia.”

While the Camaro out-pointed three other finalists – the Toyota Prius, Citroen C3 Picasso and Kia Soul – to claim the 2010 design award, Volkswagen’s Polo hatch – which goes on sale here in May – beat the Prius, Mercedes-Benz’s new E-class and 27 other WCOTY nominees to take the overall win.

“We're honoured that the Volkswagen Polo was chosen by this distinguished group of jurors,” said Volkswagen AG chairman Dr Martin Winterkorn.

“After the great triumph of the Golf last year, we are delighted to repeat this success with the new Polo. These automobiles have reaped numerous awards, winning well-nigh every prize the automotive industry has to award. This shows that Volkswagen is on the right track and is offering arguably the best range of products in its history.”

Volkswagen’s fuel-efficient Golf, Passat and Polo BlueMotion range, which is not available in Australia, was named World Green Car of the Year after defeating the Prius and Honda’s Insight, while the R8 V10 won the 2010 performance car honour ahead of Ferrari’s California convertible and Porsche’s latest 911 GT3 coupe.

“It is not necessary to add an electric motor and a heavy battery pack to achieve class-leading efficiency,” said the WGCOTY jury of the VW BlueMotion range.

“Based on Volkswagen's common-rail diesel engines, the BlueMotion models are among the most fuel-efficient vehicles on the market. In fact, the Passat BlueMotion can travel just about 1000 miles on one tank of fuel in the European cycle. As far as internal combustion engines go today, these models are the ultimate you can get.”

The R8 V10’s success, meantime, follows wins by the original V8-powered R8 coupe in the design and performance divisions of the 2008 award. Other Audis to star in previous WCOTY awards include the A6 (2005 WCOTY), RS4 (2007 WPCOTY) and TT (2007 WCDOTY).

“In the opinion of many on the World Car Awards jury, Audi has at long last satisfied our hunger for a street car that lives up to the excitement of the original Le Mans series-dominating R8 LMP1 race car.”

The seventh WCOTY award was judged by 59 automotive journalists in 25 countries to decide the year's most outstanding vehicles based on merit, value, safety, environmental impact, significance and emotional appeal.

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