• Country: Luxembourg
  • Name: Gerhard Kuntschik, President of the Jury Country: Austria Capital: Vienna Population: 9,097,759 Auto Park: 240.000 new registrations (2021)
  • Name: Xavier Daffe Country: Belgium Capital: Bruxelles Population: 11,239,755 Auto Park: 5,9 millions
  • Name: Ilia Seliktar, Honorary President of the Jury and Co-Founder member of the board Country: Bulgaria Capital: Sofia Population: 6,856,602 Auto Park: 2.5 million, year import and registration of new cars - 35 000, second hand - 250 000. Name: Leonid Seliktar Country: Bulgaria Capital: Sofia Population: 6,856,602 Auto Park: 350,000 new vehicles.
  • Name: Ozren Adamović Country: Croatia Capital: Zagreb Population: 3,88 million Auto Park: 1,968,370
  • Name: Petros Soutzis, Co-founder & Vice President of the jury Country: Cyprus Capital: Nicosia Population: 1,141,166 Auto Park: 900,000
  • Name: Vladimir Rybecky Country: Czech Republic Capital: Prague Population: 10 515 669 Auto Park: 6 293 125 registered cars (average age 15,58), 610 405 registered light commercial vehicles, 186 905 registered trucks, 20 489 registered buses (end of the year 2021). Registrations in 2021: 206 876 new cars, 19 660 new LCVs, 8 679 new trucks, 1 367 buses. Car production in 2021: cars 1 105 223, trucks 1 262, buses 4 947.
  • Name: Mikkel Thomsager Country: Denmark Capital: Copenhagen Population: 5,700,000 Auto Park: 2,278,000
  • Name: Tommi Petteri Lempinen Country: Finland Capital: Helsinki Population: 5,300,000
  • Country: France
  • Name: Ioannis Stavropoulos Country: Greece Capital: Athens Population: 10,815,197 Auto Park: 5.200.000 cars, exclude taxi (is about 34.000) LCV and HCV
  • Name: Robert van Ginneken Country: Holland Capital: Amsterdam Population: 17,5 million Auto Park: 9 million of which 400.000 BEV and 145.000 PHEV
  • Name: Gábor Szécsényi Country: Hungary Capital: Budapesta Population: 9,617,512 Auto Park: 4,000,000
  • Name: Achim Stahn Country: Germany Capital: Berlin Population: 83,000,000 Auto Park: 47,700,000
  • Name: Dave Humphreys Country: Ireland Capital: Dublin Population: 6,378,000 Auto Park: 2,515,322
  • Name: Alessio Viola Country: Italy Capital: Rome Population: 60,795,612 Auto Park: 36,900,000
  • Name: Krumislav Barzov Country: Macedonia Capital: Skopje Population: 2,058,539 Auto Park: 400,000
  • Name: Anthony Alfred Darmanin Country: Malta Capital: Valletta Population: 425,000 Auto Park: 410,000 Registered vehicles, approx. 10,000 new vehicles registered each year
  • Name: David Andersen Country: Norway Capital: Oslo Population: 5,136,700 Auto Park: 3 milion
  • Name: Szczepan Mroczek Country: Poland Capital: Warsaw Population: 37,773,915 Auto Park: 25,000,000
  • Name: José Caetano Country: Portugal Capital: Lisbon Population: 10,347,892 Auto Park: 4,480,000
  • Name: Dan Vardie, Founder & Chairman Country: Romania Capital: Bucharest Population: 19,237,691 Auto Park: 8,9 millions
  • Name: Suspended – Petr Menshikh Country: Russia Capital: Moscow Population: 143,975,923
  • Name: Mladen Alvirović Country: Serbia Capital: Belgrad Population: 7,209,764 Auto Park: 2,200,000
  • Name: Rudolf Karpat, Co-founder Country: Slovakia Capital: Bratislava Population: 5,415,949 Auto Park: 2,725,538 Name: Michal Karpat Country: Slovakia Capital: Bratislava Population: 5,5 milion Auto Park: 3,436.018 cars and LCV registered , 2021 sales: 75.700 cars and LCV
  • Name: Matjaz Korošak Country: Slovenia Capital: Ljublijana Population: 2,061,085 Auto Park: 1,100,000
  • Name: Joan Dalmau Country: Spain Capital: Madrid Population: 46,786,605 Auto Park: 29.9 million vehicles
  • Name: Felix Björklund Country: Sweden Capital: Stockholm Population: 10,23 million Auto Park: 4,887,904
  • Name: Markus Rutishauser Country: Switzerland Capital: Bern Population: 8,306,200 Auto Park: 4,503,339
  • Name: Okan Altan Country: Turkey Capital: Ankara Population: 85 million Auto Park: 25,385,084 (End of 2022, February)
  • Name: Richard Aucock Country: United Kingdom Capital: London Population: 64,511,000 Auto Park: 37,000,000
  • Name: Oleg Vasylevskyi Country: Ukraine Capital: Kiev Population: 42,031,000 Auto Park: 10,950,000 cars and commercial vehicles

[Press Release] – AUTOBEST celebrated the 18th edition of Awards Gala13 / 02 / 2019

The AUTOBEST organisation celebrated the 18th edition of Awards Gala
· Mr Ratan Tata becomes the new member of the AUTOBEST Hall of Fame
· Lynk & Co is the new ‘A Star is Born. By AUTOBEST’ exclusive award

The 18th edition of the AUTOBEST Gala Awards took place last week in Brussels, Belgium, at the Autoworld Museum, a landmark of the city, and an excellent venue for the worldwide leading motoring event.

The Gala had an original scenario, a fusion between two famous Hollywood series, Cars and A Night at the Museum. Exactly like in the movies, cars in the hall came to life, speaking about the winners: cars, companies, people. Ghislain, the curator of the museum, interpreted by the director and script author, Stefan Sattler co-presented with the racing driver, broadcaster and motoring journalist, Amanda Stretton as the Gala MC.

The Citroën Berlingo and Opel Combo Life have been voted ‘AUTOBEST 2019’, for the first time having multiple winners for the ‘Best Buy Car of Europe’. Linda Jackson, CEO of Citroën expressed her pleasure in accepting the prestigious award: “It’s an absolute privilege and an honour to receive this award second year in a row. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank the AUTOBEST Jury, because it’s a fantastic thing for our Berlingo to win. This model is our second best seller in the world. We sold 3.5 million Berlingos since it was born in 1996. It’s an extremely important vehicle for us, as it’s extremely important to win this award. I would take this as part of the rebirth of Citroen. Thank you very much, a real honour!”

Michael Lohscheller, Opel CEO added: “Thank you AUTOBEST Jury for this fantastic award! Talking about this fifth-generation Combo that is awarded tonight, I am very confident and very optimistic that we get back to a leadership position with this new generation Ludospace. As for our brands Opel and Vauxhall, I am also very confident and optimistic. All along 2019, we will deliver proofs that our turnaround plan – called PACE! – is working!”

The most emotional moment of the Gala was the induction of a new legend in the AUTOBEST Hall of Fame. After last year Dr Wolfgang Porsche became the first member of the most prestigious of all the automotive halls of fame in the world, was the moment for one of the most respected industrialists of the world, Ratan Tata. “I can’t say enough to express my appreciation for having this great honour. I honestly will never forget this evening. Thank you. The automotive industry to me was one of the most exciting industries that have been involved in. It involves design, style, technology, speed. Today, to share this platform with icons of the industry is something that I’m just very humbled by.

I want to share with you the experience I had with JLR when we bought it and this happened when Ford decided to sell. My friends sort of distanced themselves from me saying “What are you going to do with this?” Quite frankly, I didn’t know. That question turned into “How stupid could you be to buy this?” My first meeting with the workers at Coventry was under the same question “What are you going to do with this plant? Are you going to close some of the plants?” I had no way to say what are we going to do, but finally I stood up and said – Why don’t we, shoulder to shoulder, recreate the image of these two brands had? Reignite the power of those two brands. I’m pleased to say that I did nothing more. The team at JLR, led by Ralf, who has been the leader that deserves this award more than me, made a huge difference in this company. Today, if I’m here to receive this award, I would like to say that I receive it with humility on behalf of Ralf and the team at JLR.” stated Mr Tata in a unique, emotional speech.

The extraordinary award of the Gala was the ‘A Star is Born. By AUTOBEST’ to prize the launch of Lynk & Co. Launched only last year at Paris Mondial de L’Automobile, the latest prize is dedicated to new start-ups, new ventures in the car industry. As we are seeing an unprecedented number of new companies joining the industry, AUTOBEST decided only last year to award relevant, meaningful new industrial projects on a national and international scale. This award is about completely new car brands, new mobility solutions, new technology companies involved in the auto world. On behalf of the winner, Alain Visser, company CEO said on stage: “This was all born from an idea that starting a new car brand cannot be only about the car and I have this conviction since fifteen years in the car industry and I’ve been around in the industry for thirty-two years. We see an incredible trend around the globe, in China, in the US and in Europe, that consumers want something else, that has nothing to do with a consumer of ten years ago and yet we have to admit that the car industry today’s business model is the same as 100 years ago. And that’s what we’re going to try to create. It’s fun, it’s exciting, I really enjoy it, but it’s a really hard work.”

The ‘MANBEST 2018’ is Citroen CEO, Linda Jackson, the first female to be a member of this unique Hall of Fame dedicated to the best managers in the industry. “It’s a real privilege to receive this award. We live in a challenging world, a very chaotic one and we know that the automotive industry is being challenged by very many things: electrification, CO2, automation, etc. In order to survive you have to be very agile, you have to react very quickly and you have to think outside the box. In order to do that as a manager, you have to have people. I’m accepting it for my fantastic team because I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have them,” said Jackson.

After two years of absence, ‘TECHNOBEST 2018’ award, dedicated to classical automotive technologies is coming back thanks to the revolutionary system introduced by DS Automobiles. Yves Bonnefont, DS Automobiles CEO said: “A warm thank you to the jury, I’m extremely proud to receive this prize in the name of DS team. DS stands for refinement and technology. Refinement because we want to bring the French luxury in the car industry. Anywhere in the world, if you ask somebody to name a luxury brand, they would name a French brand, Louis Vuitton, Hermes or Chanel, with one big exception, at least until now – the car industry. So we took the bet of embodying French luxury in the car industry. We wanted to do so with technology as well. The suspension is our heritage. It comes from the DS of 1955, arguably the most comfortable car in the industry ever produced. So we wondered how to build a car at least as comfortable as the 1955 DS. The only way to do it is to anticipate road conditions. So we came with the idea that we scan the road ahead and anticipate the bumps on the road to adjust the stiffness of the suspension. That’s how we created the DS Active Scan Suspension.”

The ‘SMARTBEST 2018’ award went to BMW for implementing Intelligent Personal Assistant in its cars. “It’s an absolute pleasure to accept this award. We and all the others in the industry are facing a time where we combine evolution and revolution. BMW Cars are no longer just defining themselves through handling behaviour, efficiency or through design features, but also through connectivity features and smart mobility solutions. And it makes us extra happy that you awarded us in this category. The system will be launched in the new BMW 3 Series which is coming to the market this year. I will bring this award home to our engineers and developers, they did all the hard work,” said Frank Breust, BMW Group Director Government and External Affairs in accepting the award.

The ‘COMPANYBEST 2018′ award went to Aston Martin Lagonda. “Thank you very much! It’s a great honour. It’s an amazing award. We are a relatively small company with 3,000 employees on a global scale, and in 106 years we’ve made 85,000 cars. That’s a few days’ production for Toyota. If you think about it, seven cars in seven years with a seven years’ life cycle, that keeps us sustainable for the future. It’s called the Second Century plan, and it was the brainchild of Andy Palmer, our CEO. It’s a great time to work for Aston Martin!,” stated Marek Reichman, Chief Creative & Design Officer at AML.

The ‘ECOBEST 2018’ award went to Jaguar Land Rover for the Jaguar I-Pace, the first European SUV EV. In his acceptance speech, Prof Dr Ralf Speth, JLR CEO, said: “Thank you, I’m so happy! I want to use this opportunity to thank the team in Gaydon for this very special product, which is indeed a game changer. It has won more than 30 awards around the globe. It started with two glasses of red wine, two engineers talking about the future of mobility, about doing something special, a kind of destination zero for future mobility. This discussion was years ago prior to the hype of any electric vehicle. We didn’t get any volume, and it was not profitability. It was not an opportunity to start this project. I’m very honoured that we got the support from Ratan Tata. Without him, not only that the company would not exist, but also this car would not be on the streets. Thank you very much, Ratan Tata, for all you had done for the company and for this product. It’s your prize.”

‘DESIGNBEST 2018’ went to the legendary designer Peter Horbury, Chief Designer Geely Automotive Group, the leader for the design teams of Geely, Lynk & Co, Lotus, London Taxi, Proton and Terrafugia. “An especially warm greeting to Dan Vardie, the Chairman of Autobest. I would like to recognise the engagement you have had over many years with this extraordinary group of very important journalists. You are playing such an important role as ambassador for this industry including markets which perhaps our industry did not value enough 20 years ago.”

“It is indeed a truly great honour to receive this ‘Lifetime achievement¨ award for a career which, this year, will be 45 years long… so far! When people ask me, ¨Have you designed cars all your life? ¨ I usually answer, ¨Not yet! ¨ My career over the last 40-odd years has taken me from the UK to Volvo in Sweden and the Netherlands, back to the UK, to Volvo Sweden again, the UK with Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, over to Ford in Detroit and back, once more, to Sweden with Volvo and eventually, in 2012 to start Geely Design with 5 staff in a borrowed room in Gothenburg. Today Geely Design totals over 900 design staff in 8 studios in China, Sweden, Spain, the USA, Malaysia and the UK.

“Isn’t it time to call it a day? You might ask. Well, at 69 years old perhaps it should be, but now with Lotus joining our group, I’m having way too much fun! Retirement can wait,” said Horbury.

‘SAFETYBEST 2018’ has been awarded to Hyundai Motor for its Rear Occupant Alert. Raf Van Nuffel, Director Product & Pricing Management at Hyundai Motor Europe, said on stage: “I would like to thank the Autobest organisation for this award. We are proud of the recognition for Hyundai in recent years from Autobest. And especially proud to receive SAFETYBEST 2018 for our new Rear Occupant Alert. This life-saving feature goes beyond the commonly offered active and passive safety features in the industry. Moreover, this SAFETYBEST award proves Hyundai’s commitment to providing customers and other road users with the highest level of safety.”

The ‘SPORTBEST 2018’ award went to Toyota Motor Company for the outstanding results in motorsport, represented by Alain Dujardyn, General Manager, Toyota Gazoo Racing. In accepting the award on stage, Mr Dujardyn said: “It’s a great honour to accept this award on behalf of Toyota Motor Corporation and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. The last 12 months have been exciting for us, not only because of our growing sales volume, market share and hybrid sales mix but also because of our success in motorsport. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing winning Le Mans, the World Rally Championship and, last month, the Dakar rally was way beyond our expectations. A wise man once said “with competition comes progress; the aim of racing is not just to satisfy our curiosity, but also to enable the development of the motor industry” That man was Kiichiro Toyota. And the words come from a speech he made in 1952. I believe his observations are just as valid today – for Toyota and the motor industry as a whole. Ladies & Gentlemen – thank you for this recognition.”

More details and the HD video coverage of the entire Gala can be seen on www.autobest.org


The AUTOBEST organisation was established in 2001 with the revolutionary concept of “best buy car” available on the European market. A total of 31 European nations is now represented in the Jury, covering the vast majority of the European population. For a car to become an AUTOBEST winner, it must represent the best offering for most European customers. Price, service network, spare parts distribution and versatility are the most important criteria in the voting process. Design and new technologies are becoming important criteria for voting. AUTOBEST uses a transparent voting system, with a complex matrix of 13 criteria to decide the winner.


Larisa Gîrbacea

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