For the first time in ASEAN’s 48-year history, motoring journalists, automotive warranty service providers and financiers from three of the largest markets in the ASEAN trade bloc – Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia – are coming together to launch the first ever ASEAN Car of the Year Awards.
The move is rather timely as the ASEAN trade bloc collectively sold 3.19 million motor vehicles (excluding motorcycles) last year, and exporting 800,000 more. Growing at its current pace, ASEAN is expected to become the fifth largest automotive market by 2019.
Considering that all the major car markets around the world have their own regional awards – the European Union has its European Car of the Year, and North America has the North American Car of the Year.
There’s also the World Car of the Year, which despite its name, doesn’t really represent the world as journalists from only 23 countries are represented in the list of jurors; none of them from this side of the world.
Compared to these regional awards, where winners are selected by the subjective scoring of each journalist, the ASEAN Car of the Year aims to be more objective, moving beyond subjective scores which may have little relevance to an actual car buyer.
Apart from judging by motoring journalists from the three countries, the scoring mechanics behind the ASEAN Car of the Year will also include evaluations by third party service providers.
Opal Auto Mart, a leading after-market warranty service provider with a large database to objectively evaluate the reliability of every car make on sale in Malaysia, will give their input in the judging process.
Liberty Insurance (formerly known as Uni.Asia General Insurance) will judge the depreciation of each model while consumers are invited to rate their car ownership experience.
The scoring process is transparent and will be made public when the winners are announced at the end of this year.
The winning models from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia that are sold across all three countries with similar specifications will automatically be eligible for the overall ASEAN Car of the Year Award.
Participating judges from Malaysia include Chips Yap of Motor Trader, Kon from Autoworld.com.my, Daniel Wong of Malaysian Evo magazine, Yap Kam Foo of Top Gear Malaysia, Tom Goh of Zerotohundred, GC Mah and Matthew Tong of Autobuzz.my, Vishal of NST-CBT, Gan Yong Li of Pandulaju,com, Johan Izham and Qhalis Najmi of Traffic Mag Online, Denis Wong of Countersteer.my, Kenneth Sow of Kensomuse, and of course our own Chris Aaron of Carlist.my and its sister publication’s LiveLifeDrive’s Hans Cheong.
The ASEAN Car of the Year awards is organised by iCar Asia, publisher of Carlist.my, Malaysian Evo and LiveLifeDrive.com (to be relaunched soon), Thailand’s AutoSpinn.com and Indonesia’s Mobil123.com.
The awards is a non-profit event and despite being the awards organiser, iCar Asia does - publisher of Carlist.my, Malaysian Evo and LiveLifeDrive.com (to be relaunched soon), Thailand’s AutoSpinn.com and Indonesia’s Mobil123.com - does not hold any exclusive commercial rights to the event. iCar Asia is only taking the lead in organising the awards because of our significant presence across the three largest car markets in ASEAN.
iCar Asia will also not be attaching its company logo or any of its publication titles on the ASEAN Car of the Year Awards logo, of which its commercial rights are distributed for free to any participating publication titles and car brands mentioned in the finalists list.
Following are the list of Malaysian finalists nominated by the panel of judges:
1. Budget Car of The Year
2. Compact Car of The Year
3. Family Car of The Year
4. Executive Car of The Year
5. Family MPV of The Year
6. Premium MPV of The Year
7. Crossover of The Year
8. Compact SUV of The Year
9. Family SUV of The Year
10. Pickup Truck of The Year
11. Coupe of The Year
12. Premium Compact Car of The Year
13. Premium Family Car of The Year
14. Premium Executive Car of The Year
15. Premium Flagship of The Year
16. Premium Compact SUV of The Year
17. Premium Mid-Size SUV of The Year
18. Premium SUV of The Year
19. Premium Coupe of The Year
20. Performance Car of The Year
21. Grand Tourer of The Year
22. Driver's Car of The Year