- The Washington Times - Friday, January 1, 2010

The Volvo XC60 took first prize in the “Family Car of the Year” category in the first-ever Women’s World Car of the Year competition. All told, 21 cars competed in four categories when eight female motoring journalists from seven countries voted for their favorite cars.

“It is naturally immensely gratifying that women appreciate the Volvo XC60 and that our product meets their requirements. With the Volvo XC60, we feel we have truly succeeded in creating a car that appeals to many different customer groups,” said Johan Rasmusson, car-line manager for the Volvo XC60 and XC90 at Volvo Cars.

Over the past year, eight female motoring journalists from Britain, the U.S., Canada, South Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand put 21 selected cars to the test. The group and the award were created to educate the world’s carmakers about female customers’ requirements.

“We searched a long time to put together a team of female motoring correspondents qualified to vote for the winners. This was no easy task since there aren’t that many female motoring journalists,” said Sandy Myhre, jury chairwoman from New Zealand.

All the winners in the four categories were recently presented in London. The Volvo XC60 won the “Family Car of the Year” category. The overall winner of the competition was the Jaguar XF.

The cars were assessed on a wide range of criteria described as a “women-specific shopping list.” This includes parameters such as storage space, child-friendliness, aesthetic appeal — that is to say, design — and driving pleasure.

Acceleration and torque were also assessed, but were not among the top priorities. Climate impact was another factor. One of the more unusual assessment parameters was “sex appeal.” However, this was not a factor that made any major impact on the final result.

The voting procedure and the competition itself were monitored by Paul McCormick from globally renowned auditing firm Grant Thornton.

“I assumed that women would definitely attach greater importance to properties such as value for money and child-friendliness. As the votes started adding up, it became clear that factors such as sexiness and climate impact were being assessed more critically, scoring relatively low marks compared with certain other categories,” Mr. McCormick said.

In order to qualify for this year’s competition, the cars had to be sold in at least 10 countries throughout the world and must have been available on the market between September 2008 and September 2009.

“What is most exciting for us women in the jury from all these different countries around the world is that for the first time ever, we have had the opportunity to express in our own way which cars impress us,” Ms. Myhre said.

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