Dacia Duster is Scottish Car of the Year 2012

It hasn’t gone on sale in the UK or Ireland yet, but the Dacia Duster has just been voted Scottish Car of the Year 2012 in addition to taking home a couple of other awards.

In addition to the overall award, they also selected Duster as the winner of the SUV category, and it was also the winner of the newly-created ‘Budget category’ with judges plumping for the Dacia thanks to “unrivalled value in a package particularly relevant to the Scottish market.”

In a massive coup for a car that doesn’t even launch in showrooms until January. Owned by the Renault Group, Dacia is not just Europe’s fastest-growing automotive brand, it’s also a global phenomenon, having grown from under 5,000 sales in 2004 to just under 350,000 in 2011. Known for offering reliable, practical and spacious vehicles, it’s won plenty of awards, as well as plaudits, around the globe in recent years. Now it’s looking to crack the market in the UK and Ireland from January. 

Part of the Dacia business model is to offer the lowest priced vehicle in every segment that it competes in. Quite simply, they promise that their new cars will offer better value – more space and equipment than rivals. The second Dacia model that will arrive here in Ireland with the Duster SUV will be the Sandero supermini.

The Scottish Car of the Year awards are run by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers. ASMW President John Murdoch said, “From pretty much the outset it was apparent that it would be far from a one horse race to the finishing post for the 2012 Scottish Car of the Year. The previous 12 months have witnessed the arrival of countless new models and with almost every passing month there has been one which has caught the attention of ASMW members as being a possible winner of our ultimate accolade.”

2012 Scottish Car of the Year awards – the category winners were:

Compact Car  – VW Up!
Supermini – Kia Rio
Family Car – Hyundai i30
Executive Saloon – BMW 3-Series
Executive H’back  – Volvo V40
Coupe – Toyota GT86
Estate – Hyundai i30 Tourer
MPV  – Vauxhall (Opel) Zafira.
Diesel Car – BMW 320d
Budget Car – Dacia Duster
Eco Car – Citroen DS5 Hybrid4
Sporting Car – Vauxhall (Opel) Astra VXR as the Sporting winner,
Drop Top – Porsche Boxster,
Electric Car – Vauxhall (Opel) Ampera/ Volt
Design Concept Car – Jaguar C-X16

Overall Scottish Car of the Year: The Dacia Duster.

2012 Safety Award:
Shared by Mazda (Smart City Brake Support – V40 ) and Volvo (for pedestrian airbag – CX-5).

On a negative note and with no disrespect to the Dacia Duster, I just don’t understand how journalist can vote for any car that isn’t available for their readers to buy at the time they vote. Worse still in some cases they are not available for months after the award winners are announced.

It is not just the Dacia Duster winning the Scottish COTY, but the European COTY jury did the same with the Nissan Leaf for their 2011 award. The likes of the Sunday Times has also joined these ranks recently by giving the yet to be launched Range Rover its COTY award.

Thankfully, this cannot happen with the Continental Irish Car of the Year awards, as contenders must be on retail sale in Ireland before the round one votes are submitted by the jurors.