For the last three decades, there has been a concerted effort on many carmakers to show that they value women's opinions. Reams of printer paper have played out of lasers worldwide to prove that women are an essential part of the car-buying decision.
Limited Women Membership On Most Panels
Indeed, various "car of the year" programs include a sprinkling of women on the jury panels that decide which vehicles are the vehicles of the year. However, more often than not, if you look closely at the jury choices, the judging panel members are, by far, men.
Yes, the few women jurors on panels are active auto journalists. But, few juror panels are primarily women. There is one series of awards that concentrates only on women, the Women's Car of the Year Awards. These awards have been around for more than a decade. Their founding was in 2009. Another important competition is the North American Car of the Year. Formerly, it was part of the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit until the pandemic put it on hiatus. The awards program continued though. Longtime Torque News contributor Keith Griffin discusses the Hyundai Elantra and the importance of the NACTOY award.
The Women's Car of the Year Awards (WOCOTY) now has a judging panel that rivals any other in the automotive writing business. Some 50 women auto journalists are members of the panel. The women come from 38 different countries on five different continents. It is the only award program whose jury is made up solely of women.
According to WOCOTY, this year's program was significantly complicated by the continuing pandemic, limiting the amount of driving time the journalists had behind the wheel. The 50 writers did get through the large project.
WOCOTY Names Category Winners
At this point, the jurors have chosen the winners in each of nine categories. The vehicles represent excellence in their segments based on:
- Value for the money
The winning model will be announced next week on International Women's Day, March 8. The jury, which has looked closely at each vehicle, still has one more round of voting ahead. The jurors will now choose the Best Car of the Year for the final announcement.
Most Winners May Not Be Familiar In U.S.
Most of the cars aren't all that familiar to U.S. vehicle owners. Torque News readers will know the "Best 4X4 and Pickup." It is the Ford F-150 pickup. The rest of the vehicles included in the WOCOTY are European and include vehicles manufactured by Peugeot, Skoda, and Ferrari. Other vehicles include the Kia Sorento (Best Large SUV) and the Honda e (the Best EV), plus the Land Rover Defender (Best Medium SUV).
This year the panel of jurors used a new voting methodology. It started with the three best models in each category before narrowing those picks down to the individual winners. The panel judged vehicles launched between January and December 2020.
One more round of voting remains. Jurors will now choose the Best Car of the Year from among the nine category winners, which will be revealed on March 8, International Womens' Day.
A listing of the winners in their WOCOTY categories includes:
- Best Urban Car:Peugeot 208
- Best Family Car:Skoda Octavia
- Best Luxury Car:Lexus LC500 Cabrio
- Best Sports Car:Ferrari F8 Spider
- Best Urban SUV:Peugeot 208
- Best Medium SUV:Land Rover Defender
- Best Large SUV:Kia Sorento
- Best 4X4/Pickup:Ford F-150
- Best EV:Honda e
Marc Stern has been an auto writer since 1971. It was a position that filled two boyhood dreams: One that I would write, and two that I write about cars. When I took over as my newspaper's auto editor, I began a 32-year career as an automotive columnist. There isn't much on four wheels that I haven't driven or reviewed. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. Today, I am the Ford F150 reporter for Torque News. I write how-to and help columns for online sites such as Fixya.com and others. You can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Most of Marc's stories are part of Torque News Ford's coverage. Check back again and search for Torque News Ford F-150 news for more F-150 truck news coverage.