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Audi A3 wins World Car of the Year

Audi North America boss Scott Keogh accepts the World Car of the Year award for the Audi A3 at the 2014 New York motor show.

THE Audi A3 small car -- which owes much of its DNA to the Volkswagen Golf -- has won the 2014 World Car of the Year, as voted by 69 jurors from 22 countries. The luxury hatch toppled the widely-tipped favourite, the Mazda3 from Japan, in the awards announced at the New York motor show today.

The Audi A3 was among five German cars that took out a cleansweep of the 2014 World Car of the Year categories, and it was Audi’s second win in 10 years, having won the inaugural award. Indeed, German cars have won seven of the past 10 World Car of the Year awards, Japanese brands have won the remaining three.

Accepting the award on behalf of the company, Audi's North America president Scott Keogh said: “The Audi A3 has only been on sale three weeks and already it’s off to a flying start.”

Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi, said: “This major award win is an achievement that the whole company can celebrate.”

The Audi A3 was among 24 finalists that included the BMW i3 electric car, which won the Green Car of the Year and the Car Design of the Year. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class was the Luxury Car of the Year while the Porsche 911 GT3 was awarded top performance car honours.

But the Mazda3 had emerged as an early favourite for the outright World Car of the Year award following rave reviews globally since it went on sale late last year. The previous generation Mazda3 has been Australia’s top selling car for two of the past three years, and was the vehicle that ended the Holden Commodore’s record 15-years as the market leader, in 2011.

The Mazda3 is returned to the top of the sales charts so far this year -- after being overtaken by the Toyota Corolla in 2013 -- and is likely to take out top-seller status this year buoyed by the new model which went on sale in January.

World car of the year winners

2014 – Audi A3
2013 -- Volkswagen Golf Mk7
2012 -- Volkswagen Up
2011 -- Nissan Leaf
2010 -- Volkswagen Polo
2009 -- Volkswagen Golf Mk6
2008 -- Mazda2
2007 -- Lexus LS460
2006 -- BMW 3 Series
2005 -- Audi A6

2014 World Car of The Year category winners

Green car of the Year -- BMW i3 electric car
Car Design of the Year -- BMW i3 electric car
Performance Car of the Year -- Porsche 911 GT3
Luxury Car of the Year – Mercedes-Benz S-Class

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling