Judges vote on ten different criteria which remain the same in each category. As expected, elements such as design and function, style and appeal, comfort, storage and drive quality were included. Other elements considered in the voting procedure (and ones that aren't always found in other car awards) include the 'wow' factor, sex appeal and value-for-money, all of which the judges felt to be important to women car buyers. The supreme winner is the car that wins its particular category and collects the most overall points.
The Auckland, New Zealand office of international accountancy firm Grant Thornton received, collated and analysed the secret ballot. Four of the categories produced the closest voting seen in the five-year history of Women's World Car of the Year. Paul McCormick, the Partner in charge of the process, said it was very interesting this year to see a common trend develop as votes were received.
"This year, with more cars and more judges, the trend towards higher scores in the luxury and green car categories was evident very early in the voting. It was no surprise that the top three cars were in these categories in the final standings."
The Audi A3 saloon just nudged out the VW Golf Variant/Sportsvan for the Family Car award. The Audi S3 barely pipped the BMW M4 in the Sports Car category. The closest vote of all came in the SUV category with the Range Rover Sport inching slightly ahead of the Porsche Macan. The Budget Car and Green Car segments, however, produced clear winners.
The Luxury car segment was hard-fought. Just one-tenth of a point separated the S-Class from the Audi A8 as the top two in the category. The top three cars overall were the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and Tesla Model S in that order. Sandy Myhre, Founder of Women's World Car of the Year, says women motoring writers are well-informed about the industry and discerning about the cars they drive.
"There was considerable discussion among the judges earlier this year about our voting format and cars on the short list. The winning car companies can be justifiably proud of their achievement because it is very hard to get on the short list and to win a category, let alone the supreme trophy."
As a fun exercise, judges were asked to nominate their Dream car – the car they would aspire to own, if they don't already. This year's dream car, as voted by women motoring writers around the world, is the Jaguar F-type coupe.
The official supreme trophy is a ceramic plate with hand-painted inscriptions, designed and produced by Keri Blue (NZ). It will be presented to Daimler AG in the first quarter of 2015. Certificates designed by Peartree Studios (UK) will also be presented to the winning car companies in each category. The date of the presentations is yet to be confirmed.