Porsche entered the South African record books for a second time when the German manufacturer’s Cayman S was announced the winner of the 2014 WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year competition. It follows in the footsteps of its sibling, the Porsche Boxster, which in 2013 became the first Porsche model in the history of the competition to win the prestigious title. The announcement follows a gala dinner hosted by WesBank, the competition’s headline sponsor, at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
The Porsche Cayman S, which entered the competition as a highly revered contender, faced very stiff competition in its race to victory as this year’s WesBank / SAGMJ Car of the Year (COTY) competition included nine finalists that represented the best of the best from a wide cross-section of segments and price points, making it one of the most hotly contested competitions in recent years.
With a longer wheelbase than its predecessor, a new chassis that enhances not driving performance, agility, comfort and everyday practicality, and a lower weight, the Porsche Cayman sets several new standards in its class and has gained widespread acclaim from the motoring media as one of the world’s best handling sports cars at any price.
Driven through the rear wheels by a 3,4-litre flat-six, normally aspirated engine positioned in front of the rear axle, the Cayman S delivers not only on the performance and dynamics front, but also on quality, value and desirability.
The SA Guild of Motoring Journalists has run the SA Car of the Year competition since 1986, with WesBank – one of South Africa’s largest vehicle finance institutions – as its headline sponsor since inception. Hollard Insurance and Motul supply support sponsorship.
The South African competition is based on the European Car of the Year points-based scoring system, but is unique in the world of motoring in that, before the final votes are cast, each of the finalists – nine vehicles in the 2014 competition – is also put through a stringent testing procedure by the peer-elected COTY Jury at the world-renowned Gerotek Vehicle Testing Facility outside Pretoria.
The Jury is allowed 50 votes that may be allocated to all nine finalists, but to no less than seven, and with no more than 10 points allocated to any one vehicle. All votes are motivated and open to scrutiny.
The winning vehicle is evaluated and scored in relation to its segment competitors, and not against the other finalists. While each vehicle’s final score is determined by assessing aesthetics, dynamics, performance, fuel efficiency, safety, technology, parts pricing and cost of ownership, to name but a few, the overriding criterion to which each vehicle is scored, is overall excellence.
“The Porsche brand is not just experiencing a phenomenal increase in popularity in South Africa, but there is also a consistently increasing demand for these vehicles across all spheres of society,” says Christo Valentyn, Chairman of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists.
“Local Porsche sales increased by almost 68% in 2013 to total 2516 units – a figure that until recently would have been considered nearly impossible for a brand that is largely considered aspirational, expensive and exclusive. But when the perceived popularity of such a brand translates into such notable sales figures, it proves that they are truly competitive against its segment rivals, that they are within reach of more people than one would think, and that there is significant acceptance of the products in the market.” he adds.
“That the company manages to position each of its products so competitively without compromising on giving customers a complete Porsche experience, is testimony to the excellence the Car of the Year competition aims to reward.”
In recent years, the competition has had many historic moments, as in 2012 when Hyundai Automotive SA won the title for the first time in its history and became the first Korean vehicle brand to win the title. In 2011, the competition caused an even bigger stir when, for the first time in history, the BMW 530d and Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDI shared the crown.