What does the Car of the Year mean to the industry?

What does the Car of the Year mean to the industry?

Published on November 21, 2011

It comes as no surprise that this year's Continental Irish Car of the Year was a hotly coveted honour. It is being contested against the backdrop of an entirely fragmented market. With January looming and the peak of new car sales on the horizon, nabbing Ireland's prestigious award will undoubtedly provide the winner with an invaluable amount of exposure. However, it is not a simple case of the winner takes all. The very fact that some models have made the short list should serve to boost national appeal and manufacturers with a model listed in the top ten should take great pride in this achievement.

The award is a cross-segment achievement. That is to say the arena is wholly diverse with Land Rover's Evoque competing against the plucky city cars offered from Kia. Not scooping the top prize does not necessarily mean that positive impacts of at least being in the mix will not be recouped. Indeed the build up to the event has remained magnanimous and each vehicle has enjoyed their time in the limelight throughout the year.

From a used value perspective, it is hard to see how such an award will have any great influence. Simply put, there are far more wide-reaching market forces at play. However, again it provides a positive platform from which the vehicle can launch into the market and typically a hot-selling new car should perform positively once it returns to the market. It will be interesting to track the performance of these vehicles further down the line.

For the competitors who have not made the short list, it is not necessarily an anxious time but certainly one which will be seen as a lost opportunity to benefit from mass motoring media exposure. In the run up to the New Year some marketing departments may well feel the need to grease the cogs of the PR machine and shift it into another gear. The benefits of free advertising in a time when balance sheets are being heavily scrutinised can hardly be overstated.

The Irish Car of the Year award itself should be highly regarded. But the ceremony, the short list, the countless number of articles and reviews on the cars that have stood out from the crowd should not go unnoticed. The market today operates at a fraction of what it used to and thus the market is as competitive as it has ever been. Grabbing top honours in this particular climate is of great importance but simply being nominated can have just as positive an impact.