At a press conference hosted by the New York International Auto Show and Mobil 1 at the Jacob Javits Centre in Manhattan New York, the Fiat 500 was declared the 2009 World Car Design of the Year.


Jeffrey Ehoodin of Maserati accepts 2009 World Car Design Award from World Car Steering Committee member John Mccormick.

At a press conference hosted by the New York International Auto Show and Mobil 1 at the Jacob Javits Centre in Manhattan New York, the Fiat 500 was collected another key award as it was declared the 2009 World Car Design of the Year.

Cars eligible for the 2009 World Car Design of the Year award are taken from the list of fifty-one World Car candidates nominated by fifty-nine World Car jurors from twenty-five countries throughout the world. The World Car Design of the Year category, and the corresponding award, is meant to highlight new vehicles with innovation and style that push established boundaries.

A design panel consisting of four highly respected world design experts asked to first review each candidate, and then establish a short-list of recommendations for the jurors.  The design experts were: Silvia Baruffaldi: Managing Editor, Auto & Design magazine; Robert Cumberford: design critic, Automobile and Auto & Design magazines; Akira Fujimoto:  Editor-in-Chief, Car Styling magazine; and Tom Matano: Executive Director, School of Industrial Design, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Jurors then voted on the expert’s recommendations and the ballots were tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG. The top three design finalists were, in alphabetical order, the Fiat 500, the Citroen C5 Sedan / C5 Tourer, and the Jaguar XF.  

This is the second time that a Fiat design has been chosen one of the top three finalists. The Fiat Grande Punto was the initial top three finalist for the design title in 2007.

The World Car jurors observed, “Icon is an overused word in the automotive world, but the Fiat 500 dating from 1957 genuinely deserves the sobriquet. Revived by Fiat last year, the new Cinquecento is larger than its predecessor but still smaller than a Mini. Cheerful and cheeky, it does a brilliant job of capturing the visual appeal of the original version while meeting modern design and engineering standards. Design consultant Robert Cumberford says the new 500 “pushes the emotional hot buttons of several generations of people who might never have driven one of the early models, but who admired them on European streets. Built on the Panda platform, the 500 keeps the original’s charm, adding two more seats and all contemporary safety, anti-pollution and driving aids.” In Tom Matano’s opinion the Fiat possesses “heart-warming style. It is genuine, straightforward, without gimmicks. It is a welcome addition to a car world full of non-humanistic designs.”

It is with great pride that we accept an award which sets the seal on the work done by Fiat to create stunningly good-looking cars that convey everything that is best in Italian manufacturing”, said Roberto Giolito, Head of Style Fiat. “Italian design has often anticipated the future trends of motoring and our latest models, as the Fiat 500 shows, stand out for that “concrete beauty” that the whole world has come to expect from an Italian car. We will never cease to work in the direction of design innovation, creating products of great styling appeal which at the same time never fail to respect our historical, cultural and industrial identity”.

Previous winners of the World Car Design of the Year award were the Audi R8 in 2008, the Audi TT in 2007 and the Citroen C4 in 2006, and now in their sixth 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. There is no affiliation with, nor are the awards in any way influenced by any publication, auto show, automaker, or other commercial enterprise.

© 2009 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed