Budgets are tight. Fuel costs are rising. Yet buying an affordable car doesn’t mean you should compromise on safety, technology and quality. The winner of this category represents as much good car as possible for the asking price. Value is very important, as are low running costs and all such "common sense" considerations. Given the financial pressure that all South African households face, we've only raised the price cap for semi-finalists to R175 000 this year.
* price accurate at time of evaluation (1 September 2017)
How Scoring Works?
of the finalist vehicle's respective scores. We then
combine those results with the results from our judges.
Experienced Test Team
Our panel of testers research and debate each of the cars on sale in South Africa and determine
their eligibility and all-round ability against the predetermined “pillars of success” in each of
categories we have selected. Five cars are selected
through rigorous debate and analysis in each category during the first (semi-finalist) stage.
When selecting our highly respected external jury, emphasis was placed on selecting candidates that
are not necessarily active in the automotive space. This was done to ensure that alternative
viewpoints to our "petrolheaded" test team's opinions are also incorporated.
The 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank
The 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank, concluded with
the announcement of the 13 category- and prestigious Brand of the Year winners
at a red carpet event hosted at The Galleria in Sandton, Johannesburg on
25 January 2018.
Conceived to be South Africa’s definitive automotive awards programme,
#CarsAwards has steadily grown in stature, reach and influence since the
inaugural event in 2016. Apart from being supported by WesBank,
South Africa’s largest vehicle finance provider, #CarsAwards is regarded as
an energetic, impactful opening number to the automotive industry calendar.
Highlights of this (third) iteration of the programme were:
Suzuki defended its 2016/17 #CarsAwards Brand of the Year title and also
repeated its victories in a pair of categories: Budget Car and Compact Family Car.
Mazda tasted success for the first time in #CarsAwards history by winning
two categories: Compact Hatch and Family Car.
Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, which were recognised in the inaugural #CarsAwards
but didn’t win trophies in 2016/17, took the honours in three categories.
The Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine and BMW M2 M-DCT were the only finalists to
defend their category victories from 2016/17, although the Suzuki Vitara
and Volkswagen Golf won their categories with different derivatives.
To underline that the winners in each of the categories were based equally
on the judges’ scores and brands’ ratings in the Cars.co.za Consumer
Satisfaction Survey, all the finalists’ totals were revealed during the
In no fewer than five out of the 13 categories the judges’ favourites did not
win, due to the impact of the Consumer Satisfaction Survey (more detail to follow).
A total of 20 car brands were represented in the 39 finalists that were in
contention for category wins in 2017/18… The Volkswagen Group had 10
nominations (Audi and Volkswagen had five apiece), followed by the BMW
Group (four), with Alfa Romeo, Kia, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Subaru
making their first respective appearances in the final.
Category winners of the 2017/18 Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank
Budget Car: Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GL
Compact Hatch: Mazda2 1.5 Individual
Premium Hatch: Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI Comfortline R-Line DSG
Compact Family Car: Suzuki Vitara 1.6 GLX Auto
Family Car: Mazda CX-5 2.5 Individual
Business Class: BMW 420d Gran Coupe Sport Line Sports Auto
Executive SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLC250d 4Matic AMG Line
Premium SUV: Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine R-Design
Fun Car: Mini John Cooper Works Sports Auto
Performance Car: BMW M2 M-DCT
Impact of the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey
The importance of after-sales service excellence was highlighted by the impact
of the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey on the final scores.
“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,
Cars.co.za’s Consumer Experience Manager.
“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.
This year the survey results impacted five categories in particular.
The Toyota Fortuner (Adventure SUV), Suzuki Ignis (Budget Car), Mini JCW
(Fun Car), Volkswagen Amarok (Leisure Double Cab) and BMW M2
(Performance Car) all emerged victorious because actual customers rated
their brands higher than the competition.
Multifaceted judging process
There are several reasons why the #CarsAwards is of greater significance
than most other automotive awards programmes. For one, the winners aren’t
chosen exclusively by motoring journalists, who report on (and review) the
latest new vehicles in the market…
Although the 7 members of Cars.co.za’s editorial team chose the finalists,
the combined judging panel (including 11 respected guest judges from various
backgrounds and fields of expertise) only compiled the finalists’ individual
scores once they’d evaluated the cars back-to-back during a thorough
two-day test at the Gerotek facility at the end of 2017.
Combined judging panel (in alphabetical order):
Anele Mdoda (947), Ashley Oldfield (Cars.co.za), Ciro de Siena (Cars.co.za),
Claire Mawisa (Carte Blanche), David Taylor (Cars.co.za), Eddie Kalili
(freelance editor/writer), Ernest Page (SA Car Fan), Francisco Nwamba
(The Motorist), Gero Lilleike (Cars.co.za), Jacob Moshokoa (947/EWN),
Juliet McGuire (WOW), Khutso Theledi (YFM), Kojo Baffoe (Afropolitan),
Mike Fourie (Cars.co.za), Nafisa Akabor (Tech Journalist), Phuti Mpyane
(The Petrosexual), Wendy Knowler (Consumer Specialist) and Wezile Bonani (Bay FM).
All derivatives listed on the new vehicles price list on September 1 2017 were
eligible for selection and the public had just as much say in the outcome of
2017/18 #CarsAwards as the 18 judges did. Fifty per cent of the final standings
was based on rankings that the respective vehicle brands achieved in the
Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, conducted in partnership with data
specialists Lightstone Consumer. The data incorporated feedback from thousands
of vehicle owners, based on their experiences of their vehicles (less than
five years old and serviced through franchised outlets).
In fact, the most prestigious title awarded by #CarsAwards – Brand of the Year –
was based solely on the findings of the Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey.
Brand of the Year
Following its surprise win last year, Suzuki’s good reputation received another
boost from this year’s #CarsAwards. The Japanese brand again emerged victorious
in the Brand of the Year category, which is determined entirely by market and
customer data, the latter from the aforementioned survey (sales and after-sales
service in particular).
Suzuki narrowly defeated Mercedes-Benz by 1 per cent, with Mazda scoring the
final podium position. Also note the rise of Kia (6th) and Mahindra into the
top 10 list.
“We think the Brand of the Year trophy is the ultimate accolade in the South
African automotive industry,” says Oosthuizen. “It represents validation from
the people that matter most – actual car owners. Suzuki has managed to achieve
impressive market share growth in the past 12 months and has maintained
excellent service levels.”
The red-carpet ceremony was hosted by media personality (and #CarsAwards judge)
Anele Mdoda and the featured guest speaker, Lwazi Mangwana from Google, shared
valuable insights into South African car consumers’ online search activities.
The event, which featured live entertainment by GoodLuck, was attended by
350 guests, including industry leaders, representatives of the finance sector,
media agencies and celebrities.
The event was digitally broadcast on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and,
significantly, streamed live on the Cars.co.za YouTube channel, the biggest
branded South African channel on the video site. The multi-platform broadcast
allowed consumers, who are at the core of Cars.co.za’s awards programme, to
actively participate in the event.
for more information about #CarsAwards,
including the category criteria, and to view images of the award recipients
taken at the event.
Leading online automotive retail portal Cars.co.za lists more than 70 000
vehicles stocked by hundreds of dealers countrywide and delivers in excess
of 55 million page views per month to more than 1.7 million unique users.
It has a presence on multiple digital platforms and is the top-ranked branded
SA YouTube channel (more than 100 000 subscribers and 30 million views).
In 2015, Cars.co.za repositioned itself as a consumer champion by optimising
its editorial content for the purposes of engaging and empowering its users.
The Cars.co.za Ownership Satisfaction Survey, in association with Lightstone
Consumer, and now the Cars.co.za Consumer Awards – powered by WesBank,
underlines the company’s objective to become the most comprehensive
resource available to South African vehicle buyers, so that they can make
the best-informed buying decisions.
EDITORIAL NOTE: The full title of the programme is the Cars.co.za Consumer
Awards – powered by Wesbank. Please name the programme in full wherever possible.
For more information, contact:
Cars.co.za Content Manager
072 311 1959 [email protected]