By Kingsley Wijayasinha
The event was held for the second year, with 10 models competing for the crown. The others were MG5, MG GS, BMW X1, BMW 7 Series, Honda BR-V, Honda Civic, Thairung TR Transformer 2, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Mercedes-Benz GLC.
Only new (model change) vehicles assembled in Thailand and officially launched during October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016 were eligible for the award.
Scores were awarded over two rounds – online votes from the first round and final round, with actual testing by more than 50 TAJA members at the Thailand Circuit in Nakhon Chaisri held last month.
Last year the Ford Everest PPV won the inaugural award, edging out the Mazda2 by a few points.
TAJA president Yutthapong Pasee said the purpose of the TCOTY is to promote the Thai automobile industry by awarding outstanding products that set new standards in their respective segments.
“The award is given by top experts from the automotive media and consumers can rely on the results, which are based on all aspects including design, performance, safety, technology, practicality, pricing and eco-friendliness,” he said.
The voting format was similar to other international car awards such as the European Car of the the Year and Japan Car of the Year. In the final round, each jury had 25 points in hand for scoring. A mandatory 10 points was given to the top model, while the remaining 15 points were distributed among other contenders.
“We have just one award for the winner, with no sub-categories, and is the most transparent and trustworthy auto award in the country,” he added.
Auto awards are common in Thailand, but most hand out multiple prizes in different categories, and are often seen as promotional tools for auto companies.