Wheels Car of the Year

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Wheels magazine, an Australian automotive interests monthly published continuously since 1953, has selected a Car of the Year every year since 1963, with the exception of 1972, 1979 and 1986 when no particular new release car was judged worthy of the honour. [1] It is considered Australia's most prestigious automotive award. Wheels magazine, itself, contends that its Car of the Year award remains the oldest continuous motoring award of its kind in the world.

The original intention of the award was to promote excellence in the Australian car manufacturing industry. Until the mid-70's, imported vehicles were not eligible for the award. Domestic manufacturers Holden, Ford, Chrysler, Datsun, and Toyota dominated sales with a wide variety of body and engine types. With falling sales, the 70's fuel crisis and the instability of the Australian economy, all European brands, such as, Renault and Volkswagen began to close their local assembly plants.

With a shrinking local manufacturing base affected by reliability and quality issues, Wheels magazine changed the basis of the award to include imported vehicles to be eligible for the title. At first, this was condemned by the local industry, unions and media. But by doing this, Wheels magazine enabled local products to be judged on a global platform. This, in turn, is said to have contributed toward a more competitive local product and industry. The first imported car to receive the award was the Honda Accord in 1977.

Wheels’ Car of the Year winners are:[1]


  1. ^ "The road to COTY". ninemsn Pty Ltd. 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2007-12-03.