The World Car of the Year (WCOTY) awards will again close out the 2010 prize season when they are announced at the New York Auto Show in April. WCOTY hands out honors in four categories: overall best, performance car, design and, of course, green car. The original list of 13 eligible vehicles for this year's World Green Car title has been narrowed down to five that will be put on the ballot for the international jury of automotive journalists to consider.

This year's group is dominated by hybrid technology. The 2010 short list consists of the Ford Fusion hybrid, Mercedes-Benz S400 hybrid, Honda Insight, Toyota Prius and Volkswagen Bluemotion models. The top three from the first round of balloting will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show next month, with the winner's trophy being awarded in New York. The press release and photo galleries of all the finalists are after the jump. (Full disclosure: this writer was one of three green car experts that evaluated the original list to determine the short list.)

[Source: World Car of the Year]



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PRESS RELEASE

AND NOW THERE ARE FIVE POTENTIAL WINNERS....
2010 WORLD GREEN CAR


January 30, 2010 - For Immediate Release

The countdown has begun in preparation for the 2010 World Car Awards winners' press conference co-hosted by Bridgestone Corporation and BASF SE at the New York International Auto Show on Thursday, April 1, 2010. The 2010 World Green Car* title holder will be declared at this time.

The top three World Green Car finalists will be announced at the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010.

The five 2010 World Green Car finalists are the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Honda Insight, the Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid, the Toyota Prius and the Volkswagen BlueMotion (Golf, Passat, Polo)

The World Green Car award is presented by Bridgestone Corporation (Japan) who announced their sponsorship earlier this year. Ryoji Yamada, General Manager of Brand Management said, "We are very pleased and honored to sponsor the 2010 World Green Car of The Year. The environment is everyone's responsibility. And throughout our global family of companies, we take this responsibility very seriously. We believe it is our mission to serve society with superior quality... not just with eco-friendly products but also in the way we produce those products and the way in which we support our many communities with environmentally-friendly activities such as wildlife habitats and our Lake Biwa initiative in Japan".

"We hope that this sponsorship will help underscore to those in the automotive industry as well as to consumers that tires can help vehicles be more fuel efficient. Through our environmentally friendly "Ecopia" tire brand we expect to help drivers achieve better mileage, and therefore contribute to a more sustainable mobile society".

Prime Research International, a global leader in strategic communication research and consultancy, has also joined forces with the World Car Awards to form a unique research partnership that will provide strategic reports in 2010, analyzing global automotive media coverage.

To be eligible for the 2010 World Green Car* award, a vehicle had to available in at least one major market during 2009. The vehicle or the green technology could be in production or an experimental prototype with potential near-future application, provided that it was released for individual or press fleet evaluations in quantities of ten or more during 2008. Tailpipe emissions, fuel consumption, and use of a major advanced power plant technology (beyond engine componentry), aimed specifically at increasing the vehicle's environmental responsibility, were all taken into consideration.

Due to the complexity of some of the 'green' technologies, three (3) green experts were appointed by the World Car Steering Committee to extensively review all documentation and specs associated with each candidate. They were asked to create a short-list of finalists for review by the fifty-nine (59) jurors in their second round of voting in February. Their ballots will be tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG. The top three World Green Car finalists will be announced at the Geneva International Motor Show on Tuesday, March 2nd, during a press conference co-hosted by the New York International Auto Show, BASF SE and Bridgestone Corporation.

The three green experts are in alphabetical order:

Sam Abuelsamid (representing North America) is the technical editor of several 'green' web sites including GreenFuelsForecast.com, DieselForecast.com and HydrogenForecast.com. In 2006, he began writing for AutoblogGreen.com and Autoblog.com; becoming a full-time writer and photographer and editor in 2007.

Dean Slavnich (representing Europe) is editor of Engine Technology International (ETi) and its sister publication, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International (E&H). Engine Technology International is widely regarded as the most readable, passionate and informative publication currently produced on the subject of OE engine and powertrain design, development and manufacture.

Tadashi Tateuchi (representing Asia) is the creator and chairman of the Japan Electric Vehicle (EV) Club. He was awarded the Environment Minister's medal in 1998. A juror on the Japan Car of the Year panel, he contributes regularly to Car Graphic magazine and the Japan Automobile Federation's monthly magazine.

Previous World Green Car winners are the Honda FCX Clarity in 2009, the BMW 118d with Efficient Dynamics in 2008, the Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec in 2007 and the Honda Civic Hybrid in 2006.

Now in their seventh year, the annual World Car awards have become one of the world's most prestigious, credible and significant programs of its kind.

The awards were inaugurated in 2003, and officially launched in January 2004, to reflect the reality of the global marketplace, as well as to recognize and reward automotive excellence on an international scale. The awards are intended to complement, not compete, with existing national and regional Car of the Year programs.

The awards are administered by a non-profit association, under the guidance of a Steering Committee of pre-eminent automotive journalists from Asia, Europe, and North America. Peter Lyon (Japan) and Gerry Malloy (Canada) are the co-chairs; Matt Davis (Italy), John McCormick (USA) and Jens Meiners (Germany) are the directors. There is no affiliation with, nor are the awards in any way influenced by any publication, auto show, automaker, or other commercial enterprise.

For additional information either visit our web site ( HYPERLINK "http://www.wcoty.com" www.wcoty.com) or please contact Beth Rhind, Executive Manager, E: beth@wcoty.com, T: 1.705.924.3444.

About BRIDGESTONE CORPORATION
Bridgestone Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. In addition to tires for use in a wide variety of applications, it also manufactures a broad range of diversified products, which include industrial rubber and chemical products and sporting goods. Its products are sold in over 150 nations and territories around the world.

About PRIME RESEARCH
PRIME Research International, the global leader in auto show analyses, has also joined forces with WCOTY to provide strategic studies in the fields of automotive assessment criteria and automotive awards. PRIME Research is a well-trusted research partner for the automotive industry with a broad range of automotive clients. Its full picture approach, which provides strategic benchmark information and SWOT analyses on over 100 brands and over 10,000 different automobile models, sets the standard in automotive media research.

About the 2010 NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
Ushering in the latest motor trends, the 2010 New York International Auto Show will unveil an expansive collection of cutting-edge design and extraordinary innovation. More than four floors of displays from the world's automakers will feature the newest vehicles and futuristic concept cars. More than 1,000 cars and trucks will be on display. NYIAS is North America's first and largest-attended auto show. The first exhibition was held in 1900 at Madison Square Garden. Today, the Show represents the nation's largest new vehicle market, accounting for over 840,000 new vehicle registrations in 2008. NYIAS is owned and produced by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.

Important Show Dates
Press Preview March 31 and April 1
Public Sneak Preview April 2
Public Show Dates April 2 – 11

*The World Green Car award was established in 2004 and is part of the overall World Car of the Year Awards program that is international in scope. It should not be confused with the Green Car of the Year® award handed out in the United States by Green Car Journal.