SA’S 13 BEST NEW CARS REVEALED!
Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, BMW, Volvo and Mazda were among the manufacturers that won awards at this year’s Cars.co.za Consumer Awards, but it was Suzuki that popped a bottle of well-deserved sparkling wine: Not only did they walk away with the Brand of the Year award, they also won in the categories for Budget Car and Compact Family Car. The Cars.co.za Consumer Awards, sponsored by Wesbank, was held at the Galleria conference centre in Sandton. The ceremony was hosted by radio presenter Anele Mdoda. Her fellow host for the evening was Art, short for Artificial Intelligence. Art is a cheeky computer that announced the nominations and winners in each category. The trick underscored just how innovative the motoring industry has become. During the awards ceremony, 20 manufacturers and 39 models battled it out to win the top spot in one of the 13 categories. The judging panel consisted of a respected group of motoring journalists and radio personalities, but they too had to wait until the ceremony to find out who had won. In five of the 13 categories, the judges’ favourite did not win. This is due to the unique judging system of the Consumer Awards – 50% of the final score is based on feedback given by the public in the Consumer Satisfaction Survey. After-sales service plays a decisive role. “With 50% of a vehicle’s final score determined by a brand’s performance in the Consumer Satisfaction Survey, a car only really stands a very good chance of winning if it is a good product, in the eyes of the judges, and if the brand delivers solid after-sales service,” says Hannes Oosthuizen, the consumer experience manager of Cars.co.za. “We think this is a crucial distinguishing feature of the #CarsAwards because buying a car is ultimately about much more than just the product. Consumers buy into a brand and essentially enter into a relationship with that brand,” he explains. Celebrities like Derek Watts, Gareth Cliff, DJ Fresh and Boity Thulo attended the red-carpet ceremony.