The nominees of the 2023 World Car Awards were announced on Tuesday February 7, 2023. A total of 10 finalists were announced for the top award while 3 to 5 finalists were announced in five other award categories. Electric cars dominated in most of the categories particularly those from South Korean automakers and BMW.
World Car Awards is an initiative that “rewards and inspires automotive excellence, leadership, and innovation in a rapidly changing automotive industry on a global scale,” as mentioned on their website.
Inaugurated in 2003 and officially launched in January 2004, the award relies on over 100 global jurors from 32 countries each year to recognize, test drive, and vote for new or totally redesigned vehicles that are made for sale in diverse markets or more than one continent. One car will emerge the winner in one of the following categories;
- World Car of the Year (10 finalists)
- World Electric Vehicle (5 finalists)
- World Urban Car (3 finalists)
- World Performance Car (5 finalists)
- World Luxury Car (5 finalists)
- World Car Design (5 finalists)
Premium brands from BMW, Kia, and Hyundai made the list in more than one category. The list of finalists in all the categories will be trimmed to three on March 7. The winners of the 2023 World Car Awards as well as winners in all other five categories will be announced on 5 April 2023 by 8: 30am ET at New York International Auto Show.
Electric vehicles and hybrids dominate WCOTY
As the organizers clearly noted, “the awards are intended to complement, not compete, with existing national and regional Car of the Year programs”. The top and most coveted category, the World Car of the Year (WCOTY), has 10 finalists.
The vehicles nominated in this category include Nissan Ariya, BMW X1/iX1 compact SUV, Hyundai Ioniq 6, Kia Niro, Honda HR-V, Nissan Z Coupe, Alfa Romeo Tonale compact SUV, BMW 2 Series Coupe, Mazda CX-60, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Last year, Hyundai Ioniq 5 was declared the overall winner. In addition to that, the EV took the price for the best EV and best car design. Having the Hyundai Ioniq 6 as one of the finalists this year makes a bold statement about the Ioniq trim.
At a glance, it is easy to see that the bulk of the cars picked for this category was either all-electric or hybrid. However, the list is also diverse, having everything from coupes to crossover EVs.
Since there was a dedicated category for EVs, it was interesting to see that the overlap was minimal. The finalists for the 2023 World Electric Vehicle category were Lucid Air, Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Ioniq 6, Genesis GV60, and BMW i7.
The biggest surprise finalist according to enthusiasts and analysts was Lucid Air. In its first year of eligibility, the Lucid Air picked up nominations in two different categories—the World Electric Vehicle and World Luxury Car.
In the luxury car category, Lucid Air will battle it out against four other contenders including BMW 7 and i7, Genesis G90, Land Rover Range Rover, and Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
The 2023 WCOTY differs slightly from other years
Controversy often creeps into most elite awards and the 2023 WCOTY is not an exception. One area that raised lots of eyebrows was the 2023 World Urban Car category. Firstly, instead of five finalists like other categories, this year only has three contenders namely the Citroen C3, ORA Funky Cat/Haomao, and the Volkswagen Taigo/Nivus.
Interestingly, none of the cars in this category is offered in America. Also, in line with the award’s commitment to ensure global balance among jurors, the 2023 edition will add journalists from Malaysia and Indonesia to their list of jurors.
Subsequently, the award will continue to reach out to “established automotive journalists in other regions”. The list of over 100 jurors as well as the qualifying criteria for becoming a one-year term member of the jury panel can be found on their website.
World Car Person of the Year
Although this is a car award, there would be no car without the people who work tirelessly behind the scene to create amazing products. Like every other year, the 2023 WCOTY awards has five finalists for the World Car Person of the Year.
The finalists are either the CEO, president or vice president and chief engineers of an automobile company. Also, most of them have one or two vehicles from their brand in one of the categories. The clear exceptions were Wang Chuanfu (Chairman and President of BYD) and Naoyuki Sakamoto (Chief Engineer, GR Corolla GAZOO Racing Company, Toyota Motor Corporation).
Other finalists in this category are Dr. Stella Clarke (Research Engineer Open Innovations, BMW Group), Peter Rawlinson (CEO and CTO, Lucid Motors), and SangYup Lee (Executive Vice President, Head of Hyundai and Genesis Global Design Center, Hyundai Motor Company).
All the finalists in the different categories
Below is a list of finalists in all six categories of the World Car of the Year Awards including the finalists for the special World Car Person of the Year. The list is in alphabetical order.
|World Car of the Year |
|Alfa Romeo Tonale |
BMW 2 Series Coupe
BMW X1 and iX1
Hyundai Ioniq 6
|World Car Design||Cadillac Lyriq |
Hyundai Ioniq 6
Land Rover Range Rover
|World Performance Car |
|BMW M4 CSL |
Kia EV6 GT
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Toyota GR Corolla
|World Luxury Car |
|BMW 7 and i7 |
Land Rover Range Rover
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
|World Urban car |
|Citroen C3 |
Ora Funky Cat
|World Electric Vehicle |
|BMW i7 |
Hyundai Ioniq 6
Kia Niro EV
|World Car Person |
|Wang Chuanfu (Chairman and President of BYD) |
Dr. Stella Clarke (Research Engineer Open Innovations, BMW Group)
SangYup Lee (Executive Vice President, Head of Hyundai and Genesis Global Design Center, Hyundai Motor Company)
Peter Rawlinson (CEO and CTO, Lucid Motors)
Naoyuki Sakamoto (Chief Engineer, GR Corolla, GAZOO Racing Company, Toyota Motor Corporation)