The groundbreaking Nissan LEAF has rolled off with the 2011 World Car of the Year honors, narrowly beating out the new BMW 5 Series and Audi A8, which were the other WCOY finalists. Announced at the New York Auto Show and selected by a panel of 66 key journalists from 24 countries in Asia, Europe and North America, the LEAF was cited as by the group for being "the gateway to a brave new electric world from Nissan."
In accepting the award, Nissan Chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn -- arguably the industry's most enthusiastic and steadfast proponent of the merits of electric propulsion for today's and tomorrow's passenger vehicles -- noted: "This accolade recognizes Nissan LEAF, a pioneer in zero-emission mobility, as comparable in its driving performance, quietness and superb handling to gas-powered cars. And it validates Nissan's clear vision and the values of sustainable mobility that we want to offer to customers around the world."
Three other vehicles also were singled out by the World Car Awards jury for merit in specific areas during the course of the overall evaluation process. The Ferrari 458 Italia was named 2011 World Performance Car, the Aston Martin Rapide raced off with the 2011 World Car Design of the Year title and the Chevrolet Volt earned 2011 World Green Car honors.