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Culture

Europe's Car of the Year

Peugeot Citroen's 307 produced in France, wins the prestigious Car of the Year 2002 title much to car giant Germany's disappointment.

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The French-made Peugeot 307, pictured here, was named Car of the Year 2002.

Germany as a nation is very environmentally aware and does its utmost to protect Mother Nature's wares. In vast contradiction however, Germans love their cars, an affinity that outsiders might see as obsessive.

It's no good just to own a car, the car needs to say something about its driver; about his or her social standing. Cars are treated as a member of the family, gleaming as they are parked on sidewalks or gridlocked in one of the numerous traffic jams.

It's not surprising that automobiles are of this much importance to the homeland of the Volkswagen, the BMW and the Benz. The VW Beetle which now has almost a cult following or the classic VW Golf, all hail from Germany. So you can just imagine the disappointment when 55 of Europe's top motoring journalists from 21 countries awarded the Peugeot Citroen 307 the prestigious car of the year title.

Produced in neighbouring France, Peugeot Citroen's 307 is a sporty and compact hatchback. It was launched in April this year to compete with Volkswagen's best-selling Golf for market share. It outperformed 29 other vehicles introduced this year including the Renault Laguna, Fiat Stilo, BMW's Mini, the Honda Civic, the Citroen C5 and Jaguar X-Type. This is the third time that Peugeot has won the title in this, the 39th year of the competition.

To be eligible, the cars needed to be launched this year and on sale in at least five European countries. The winner was then selected according to the personal criteria of the judges, such as handling, innovation, styling, features and price. Peugeot feels that it deserves the award for creating a car with an innovative design and bold personality

At the end of October 2001, the Peugeot Citroen 307 had secured 72.000 orders in France, approximately 20.000 in Britain, 18.000 in Spain and 13.000 in Italy. The Germans lagged behind with a meagre 11.500 orders while orders for VW, BMW and Benz cars did a lot better.

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