DETROIT, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Volkswagen's New Beetle was awarded the prestigious North American Car of the Year at a press conference held this morning at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan. The North American Car of the Year award is given by an independent jury of the top 48 journalists who cover the auto industry for daily newspapers, magazines, television, radio and on the internet. It is a comprehensive evaluation of the year's most outstanding new car based on its consumer appeal, quality and driving characteristics. With each jury member able to allot 25 votes to a small selection of finalist cars, the New Beetle garnered an astonishing 292 votes, more than double its nearest competitor, the Honda Odyssey with 142 votes and well ahead of the third-place car, the Chrysler 300M with 124 votes overall. "Volkswagen has done it again in rewriting the rules in the small car market," said Road & Track Editor Matt DeLorenzo. "Not only is the New Beetle proof that small cars are affordable and economical, but that they can be fun ... And underneath that skin is a real car that provides good handling and stopping power as well as all the creature comforts like air conditioning and a premium sound system, that we've all come to expect ..." Since its introduction, the New Beetle rekindled the magic of its legendary namesake and instantly became a welcome ray of sunshine in an all-too-serious car market. In less than a year it has garnered numerous distinguished awards, including Motor Trend Magazine's 1999 Import Car of the Year, J.D. Power and Associates' Most Appealing Small Car, European Car Magazine's Grand Prix 1998 Award, Consumer's Digest's Best Buy, Time Magazine's The Best of 1998 Design, Business Week's Best New Products, Popular Science's Best of What's New for 1998 and many others.
SOURCE Volkswagen of America, Inc.