The Cars.co.za Consumer Awards, which was established to be the most prestigious, credible and influential awards programme in the South African motor industry, is entering its second year – powered by Wesbank.
Following the success of the inaugural award season, the winners of which were announced on 14 January 2016, the second iteration, now backed by the biggest provider of vehicle finance in South Africa, looks to again recognise the best derivatives on sale in the new vehicle market. The first phase of the awards programme commences on 12 September 2016 with the announcement of 65 semi-finalists in 13 award categories.
“It was very encouraging to see the response of the motor industry and the extensive coverage of the first awards programme by the general media,” said Cars.co.za Consumer Experience Manager, Hannes Oosthuizen. “It demonstrated that our methodology was regarded as credible and relevant.
“Wesbank finances the majority of private vehicle purchases in South Africa and our awards programme was designed to help consumers make the most considered buying choices right down to specific derivatives … the finance house’s endorsement adds gravitas to our initiative,” he adds.
WesBank Motor Division CEO Simphiwe Nghona states: “WesBank is delighted to announce the partnership with Cars.co.za as the headline sponsor of the Consumer Awards. We believe that Cars.co.za has a very innovative approach with the programme and its innovations resonate very well with WesBank. WesBank is known in the industry as a long term partner and has successfully established Joint Venture arrangements with most of the Original Equipment Manufacturers.
“WesBank’s success is attributed to these longstanding partnerships and we look forward to the future prospects of the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank,” he adds.
Updated awards categories
The award categories have been updated 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).
“The category amendments are based on our analysis of vehicle sales statistics; the majority of the semi-finalists represent the types of vehicles people are buying in respective segments of the market,” Oosthuizen says.
What’s more, the judging methodology has changed to incorporate more expertise (the extended Cars.co.za editorial team), as well as the recruitment of additional guest judges from specialist fields. The votes cast by the collective judges will have a 50% weighting on the final results of the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by Wesbank.
“Not only has the editorial team grown from four members to seven, the guest judges (all of which are informed about the vehicle market) have been drawn from a wide variety of fields. Collectively, the judging panel is now more representative and diverse in terms of ages, interests and expertise,” he continues.
The Cars.co.za judges:
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)
Mike Fourie (Content Manager)
The guest judges:
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)
Wendy Knowler (consumer journalist – The Times)
Public has bigger impact on outcome
Critically, the remaining 50% will be based on the findings of the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, in partnership with leading data specialists Lightstone Consumer. The brand-specific data incorporates 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).
This multifaceted judging process distinguishes the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by Wesbank from rival programmes. 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); therefore, not only newly introduced or general model ranges were considered as potential category winners. Theoretically, if a vehicle is the best in its segment, it can win its category throughout the lifecycle of the product.
Therefore, following the upweighting of the findings of Cars.co.za’s ongoing Ownership Satisfaction Survey in the judging process (compared with the previous programme), the public now has an even bigger impact on the outcome of the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by Wesbank.
The first phase of a six-month programme
“There are many awards programmes out there that claim public participation. What we mean when we talk of consumer input, is not a popular voting mechanism,” Oosthuizen adds. “We want real, credible input, and the only way to do that is for the public to give us their views on the cars they know best – the ones they own – by participating in our survey.”
“The Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by Wesbank is unique in the way that real owner experience with their vehicle brands directly, and significantly, impacts on the results. No other industry measure blends expert opinion and analysis with consumer experience in this way. It means that when the winners are announced there is real resonance with public opinion,” Lightstone Consumer Chief Executive Paul de Vantier says.
The second phase of the six-month awards programme will see the website’s editorial team score the five vehicles in each category, based on predetermined pillars of success (more information is available athttp://www.carswards.co.za), to narrow the field of potential award winners from 65 to 39. Following that, the combined judging panel (Cars.co.za editors and guest judges) will evaluate the finalists back to back during a two-day test. Members of the public can follow developments of the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by Wesbank (such as the respective phases of the judging process), on Cars.co.za’s channels. Related content will feature the #CarsAwards hashtag.
More information on the programme, including its categories, judges and finalists is available on http://www.carswards.co.za
The finalists are (in no particular order):
BUDGET CAR (less than R160 000)
Suzuki Celerio 1.0 GL
Renault Sandero Expression
Chevrolet Spark 1.2 LS
Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 GLX
Toyota Aygo X-Play
COMPACT HATCHBACK (between R160 000 and R250 000)
Peugeot 208 VTI 1.2 Active
Honda Jazz 1.2 Comfort
Ford Fiesta 1.0T Trend
Opel Corsa 1.0T Enjoy
Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI Comfortline
COMPACT FAMILY CAR (between R250 000 and R350 000)
Ford EcoSport 1.5 TDCi Titanium
Honda HR-V 1.5 Comfort
Nissan Qashqai 1.2 Visia
Renault Captur dCi 90 Dynamique
Suzuki Vitara 1.6 GL+
FAMILY CAR (between R350 000 and R500 000)
Honda CR-V 2.0 Elegance Auto
Hyundai Tucson 2.0 NU Elite Auto
Mazda CX-5 2.0 Active Auto
Nissan X-Trail 2.5 SE CVT AWD
Volkswagen Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline DSG
PERFORMANCE CAR (between R600 000 and R1 000 000)
BMW M2 M-DCT
Mercedes-AMG A45 4Motion
Honda Civic Type-R
Ford Focus RS
PREMIUM HATCHBACK (between R350 000 and R500 000)
BMW 120i M Sport sports-auto
VW Golf GTI DSG
Volvo V40 T4 Inscription Auto
Opel Astra 1.6T Sport Plus
Mercedes-Benz A220d Style
FUN CAR (less than R600 000)
Ford Fiesta ST
Mini JCW auto
Audi S1 Sportback Quattro
VW Golf GTI Clubsport
LIFESTYLE SUV (between R500 000 and R750 000)
Ford Everest 3.2 LTD
Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Auto
Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 SE
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi AWD Auto SLX
Nissan X-Trail 1.6 dCi 4×4 LE
EXECUTIVE SEDAN (between R750 000 and R1 000 000)
Audi A6 2.0T Quattro
Jaguar XF 25t Portfolio
Lexus GS350 F-Sport
Mercedes-Benz E220d Avantgarde
Mercedes-Benz E350d Avantgarde
FIRST CLASS (more than R1 000 000)
Mercedes-Benz S500e LWB
BMW 750Li Design Pure Excellence
Jaguar XJ L 5.0 Supercharged Autobiography
Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography LWB
LEISURE DOUBLE CAB (more than R450 000)
Fiat Fullback 2.5 4×4 LX
Ford Ranger 3.2 Wildtrak 4×4 Auto
Ford Ranger 2.2 XLS 4×4 Auto
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Raider Auto
VW Amarok 2.0 BiTDI 4Motion Highline Auto
BUSINESS CLASS (between R500 000 and R750 000)
Audi A4 2.0T FSI Sport S tronic
BMW 330d M Sport sports-auto
Jaguar XE 20d R Sport
Mercedes-Benz C250 AMG Line
VW Passat 2.0 TSI R-Line DSG
PREMIUM SUV (between R750 000 and R1 200 000)
Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro
BMW X5 xDrive30d
Jaguar F-PACE 30d R-Sport
Lexus RX350 EX
Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine Inscription
Leading online automotive retail portal Cars.co.za, which lists tens of thousands of new vehicles stocked by more than 1 000 vehicle dealers countrywide, delivers in excess of 30 million page views per month to more than a million unique users. Cars.co.za has a presence on multiple digital platforms and it’s ranked in the top 10 branded South African YouTube channels with 12 million views to date.
In 2015, Cars.co.za repositioned itself as a consumer champion by optimising its editorial content for the purposes of engaging and empowering its users. The Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, in association with Lightstone Consumer, and now the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by Wesbank, underlines the company’s objective to become the most comprehensive resource available to South African vehicle buyers, so that they can make the best-informed buying decisions.