Toyota Dominates South African Car of the Year

  Colin Windell


 10 Jun, 2022

The Toyota Corolla Cross is the 2022 South African Car of the Year.

The company also walked away with four category awards in the country’s most prestigious and respected motoring competition, run by the South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ).

In addition to the overall title, Toyota won the Compact Category with the Urban Cruiser, Compact Family Category (Corolla Cross), New-energy Category (Corolla Cross Hybrid) and Adventure SUV Category (Land Cruiser 300).

The Peugeot 208, however, was the public favourite. Following its introduction two years ago, this year's Motor Enthusiasts Choice Category saw a social media blitz lasting six weeks, with the public opinionating on the most hotly contended all-out popularity contest. It was not an easy battle, but the Peugeot 208 beat out stiff competition to claim victory. 

“We were immensely proud of the Peugeot 2008 SUV winning last year’s competition, along with Stellantis being considered the most admired car company in the country,” says Leslie Ramsoomar, Managing Director of Stellantis South Africa. “For the Peugeot 208 to be recognised by the South African public as their choice for this year is another proud moment for us, for which we are sincerely flattered.”

"Although we saw the competition develop and grow over the past 36 years with introducing category winners, additional categories, automated scoring, the public's favourite and Juror's Excellence Award, one thing did not change – the exceptional contenders and their proud makers," says Carl Wepener, Chairman of the South African Guild of Mobility Journalists (SAGMJ).

This 2022 COTY competition was mind-blowing, with the jurors selecting 25 semi-finalists from more than 49 entrants with some hotly contended Category rivalries. 

The Category Winners for the 2022 competition are:

Compact Category: Toyota Urban Cruiser

Compact-Family Category: Toyota Corolla Cross

Midsize Category: Mercedes Benz C-Class

Performance Category: Volkswagen Golf GTI

New-energy Category: Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

Adventure SUV Category: Toyota Landcruiser 300

Double Cab 4x4 Category: Nissan Navara

Mercedes Benz C-Class won the 2022 Juror's Excellence Award. Introduced in 2021, the Award is particularly impressive as it only considers the raw scoring of the expert jurors without automated scoring factors. The overall winner includes additional scoring criteria like sales, segment share and spec-adjusted pricing.

“The fact the Nissan Navara is locally produced makes this accolade even more special. Through a R3-billion investment in 2019, working with policymakers and collaborating with strategic partners, the Navara has positively contributed towards nurturing a buoyant auto sector,” says Mike Whitfield Managing Director of Nissan Africa.

Kabelo Rabotho, Country Director of Nissan South Africa says: “I’m proud to be part of the team that overcame adversity and the effects of COVID-19 to deliver this exceptional bakkie to our customers. This vote of confidence from our associates and South Africa acknowledges the endurance of the team that built this award-winning bakkie.” 

“Nissan South Africa congratulates all the participants in this year’s competitive 4x4 Double Cab segment. It is an honour to continue working together in driving our country’s auto sector forward.”

The selection of the COTY jurors and the training of potential jurors remained as stringent as ever. Based on specific requirements and deliberation by SAGMJ members, potential candidates and trainee jurors were selected. Trainees are required to complete a two-year apprenticeship under the guidance of a juror mentor, ensuring a constant pool of newly trained jurors to step into the jury team. 

"One thing has remained true to this remarkable contest; it celebrates and rewards automotive excellence. Our jurors are experts in their field and clearly understand vehicles and the mobility sector," says Graham Eagle, chairman of the 2022 COTY committee.

The COTY scoring process is much more than just juror scoring. Once the expert panel concluded scoring, the automated scoring factors that cover sales performance, segment share and value for money are applied. The Guild's COTY competition partner, Lightstone Auto, provided the computerised scoring information, which provides data-driven insights, online market intelligence and new vehicle sales data about the South African automotive industry.

The current scoring system came to life in 2017 to enable jurors to compare category contenders. 

"Every year, we adapt the scoring system slightly to consider new global and local market trends to ensure the credibility and objectivity of our competition," adds Eagle.

The year 2022 saw Toyota dominate the local automotive industry. The company claimed victory in four categories, with the Toyota Corolla Cross winning the much-coveted South African Car of the Year accolade.

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