Mazda Motor Corporation’s all-new Mazda6, launched this year, was named ‘2003 RJC Car of the Year.’ The Mazda6, which is called Atenza in Japan, was selected on November 19 at a ceremony hosted by the Automotive Researchers’ & Journalists’ Conference of Japan (RJC).
RJC is a non-profit organization with membership consisting of automotive journalists, leading academics, lawyers, and other influential community members. Established in 1991, RJC carries out its activities with the aim of contributing to the sound development of the Japanese automotive industry through enthusiastic research and review.
In line with this aim, every year the organization presents four awards: ‘RJC Car of the Year,’ ‘RJC Import Car of the Year,’ ‘RJC Technology of the Year,’ and ‘RJC Person of the Year.’ The winner of each award is selected based upon members’ votes.
To be eligible for the prestigious 2003 RJC Car of the Year award, cars must be manufactured in Japan with a scheduled annual production of over 5000 units and launched between November 1, 2001 and October 31, 2002. Twenty-three new models were in the running for this year’s award that was judged by a panel of 72 RJC members.
"We are honored and thrilled to be named the 2003 RJC Car of the Year," said Mazda President and CEO Lewis Booth. "I know the entire Mazda team put its heart and soul into the development of the Mazda Atenza, which makes this win particularly special. The car brings to life the company's ‘Zoom-Zoom’ spirit and represents our commitment and determination to develop and build fun-to-drive vehicles. This award gives us all further confidence as we move forward with additional product launches."
The all-new Mazda Atenza has been praised for its combination of superb handling and overall ride comfort, its excellent overall packaging and well-proportioned design. The Atenza/Mazda6 is offered in three body styles around the world – sedan, hatchback and sport wagon – with a variety of engines and transmissions. North American production of the Mazda6 began in early October 2002.
RJC Car of the Year is not the first award for the new Atenza/ Mazda6. It has also been named "Best Mid-Size Car Over $25,000" in Australia’s Best Cars awards; Scotland's New Car of the Year; "Grosser Oesterreichischer Automobilpreis" (Car of the Year in Austria); the 2003 Car of the Year in the Czech Republic and, in New Zealand, the 2002 National Business Review Car of the Year. On November 19, the Mazda6 was named runner-up in the annual European Car of the Year voting, the best-ever ranking for Mazda.
TOKYO -- The Mazda Atenza, known as the Mazda6 outside of Japan, has been chosen the 2003 RJC Car of the Year by the Automotive Researchers' & Journalists' Conference of Japan.
The Atenza received 457 votes, followed by the Nissan March with 399 votes. The Honda Accord came in third, with 261 votes, and then the Nissan Fairlady Z, known outside Japan as the Z350, with 212 votes.
The RJC also named the Citroen C3 as Import Car of the Year, with 400 votes to runner-up Volkswagen Polo with 376 votes. It named BMW's Valve-tronic as Technology of the Year. It gave a special award to the Subaru Forester.
Earlier, a different group composed entirely of editors chose the Honda Accord as the 2002-2003 Japan Car of the Year.
The RJC is composed of journalists, academics, and other individuals. It was formed in 1991, in part because its members felt the Japan Car of the Year selection, which began in 1980, was too influenced by pressure from advertisers.
To be eligible for the RJC award, cars must be manufactured in Japan with a scheduled annual production of more than 5,000, and be launched between Nov. 1, 2001 and Oct. 31, 2002. The Atenza beat out 22 other models, based on judging by a panel of 70 RJC members.
Elsewhere, the Mazda6 has been named runner-up in the European Car of the Year, and been named Car of the Year in New Zealand, Scotland, and the Czech Republic.
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