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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 World Car of the Year Finalists Announced

TORONTO, Ontario — Finalists for 2009 World Car of the Year have been announced, with few surprises on the short list. Among those making the final cut for the fifth annual WCOTY award are the Nissan GT-R, the Jaguar XF and the BMW 7 Series.

The penultimate list has a heavy European bias: Seven of the 11 finalists are from European brands, and four are Japanese, with Korea and the United States being shut out (the Ford Fiesta was designed and is manufactured by Ford of Europe).

A further culling of the list to three finalists will be made public on March 9. The WCOTY organization, which is comprised of working automotive journalists from around the globe, will announce the winner in early April at the New York auto show.

In addition to the GT-R, the XF, the Fiesta and the 7 Series, the finalists include the Audi A4, the Citroën C5, the Fiat 500, the Honda Fit/Jazz, the Mazda Atenza/Mazda 6, the Toyota iQ and the Volkswagen Golf VI.

Finalists for WCOTY's World Green Car of the Year were announced in December. The group also will name a World Performance Car and a World Car Design of the Year.

Inside Line says: Yet one more sad comment on the current state of affairs in Detroit. — Paul Lienert, Correspondent