The Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle and its twin European version, the Opel Ampera, was named the 2012 Car of the Year by European journalists at the Geneva Motor Show.
The Volt had 330 points, defeating the Volkswagen Up! (281 points), Ford Focus (256 points), Range Rover Evoque (186 points), Fiat Panda (156 points), Citroen DS5 (144 points) and Toyota Yaris (122 points). Initially, 35 vehicles were in the contest and judges based their decision on metrics such as vehicle design, comfort, performance, technological innovations and efficiency, according to General Motors Co.
“Our car demonstrates that electric driving can be fun and reliable without ever compromising the owners’ lifestyle,” Susan Docherty, Chevrolet’s president and managing director for Europe, said in a statement. “It is a proud moment for us and an honor to receive this award from Europe’s leading jury of automotive journalists.”
GM’s global chief marketing officer Joel Ewanick praised the announcement.
“Chevy Volt wins European 2012 Car of Year making it a ‘Clean Sweep’ of all the major global car awards, ‘sweet’ vindication,” he wrote on Twitter.
GM last won in 2009 with the Opel Vauxhall Insignia.
The 3.6-million-square-foot Detroit Hamtramck plant, opened in 1985, operates four days a week, 10 hours a day, on one shift employing 1,200 hourly and 130 salaried workers.
Chevy is preparing to launch production of the 2013 Malibu this summer at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly.
Volt sales bounced up last month, from 603 in January to 1,023 in February. It outsold Nissan’s electric Leaf for the month. The Volt’s best sales month was December, when 1,529 cars were sold.