THE strongest foreign challenge in the history of the Japan Car of the Year contest has just failed to end the 31-year reign by locally-made cars.
The Volkswagen Polo led from the start of vote counting at Waseda University Hall in Tokyo, but a late surge by the Honda CR-Z gave the top prize to Japan’s new hybrid hero.
The Polo was still named as Import Car of the Year.
There are 60 judges on the Ja- pan COTY panel and the Polo was ahead as the scores were read for the first 55, with more maximum 10-point votes — including mine — going to the Volkswagen compact.
But the Honda CR-Z rallied to eventually win 406-39.
Each of the 60 Japan COTY jurors is allocated 25 votes, with 10 for their top-rated car and the rest for their next four in order of preference, something like 10-6-4-3-2. There are only two foreign nationals on the panel, including myself.