Here are the three big winners at the ‘Oscars’ of the Indian automotive industry.
The winners of the 15th Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY), 13th Indian Motorcycle of the Year (IMOTY), and 2nd Premium Car Award by ICOTY were announced in Delhi on the 18th of December 2019.
The 2020 ICOTY title was bagged by the Hyundai Venue, while the 2020 IMOTY crown went to the Hero Xpulse 200. Meanwhile, BMW India took home the second-ever Premium Car Award for the 3 Series.
This year, to ensure complete transparency in the winner selection process, Grant Thornton India was brought in to be the official award validation partner.
The ICOTY and IMOTY awards were introduced in 2005 and 2007, respectively, and are adjudged by a jury of experts from India’s top automobile publications, making them the most coveted automobile awards in the country. These awards, which expertly and independently select the best cars and bikes every year, have been sponsored by JK Tyre ever since their inception.
For this year’s ICOTY crown, the Venue had to battle it out with some very strong contenders – namely the Honda Civic, Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, Tata Harrier, MG Hector, Nissan Kicks, Kia Seltos, Maruti Suzuki S-Presso, Renault Triber, and Maruti Suzuki WagonR. These were the ten finalists shortlisted by the ICOTY jury. In the end, the Venue took home the crown with 111 points. The Kia Seltos came in second, with 102 points. The Renault Triber claimed the third spot, with 56 points.
Similarly, for the 2020 IMOTY crown, the Xpulse 200 faced tough competition from the Benelli Imperiale 400, Hero Xtreme 200S, Honda CB300R, Jawa Forty-Two, KTM 125 Duke, Suzuki Gixxer SF 250, and the Yamaha MT-15. In total, there were eight bikes shortlisted by the IMOTY jury for the final round. With 74 points, the Xpulse 200 scored the closest-ever victory in the history of IMOTY over the Honda CB 300R, which scored 73 points. The Suzuki Gixxer SF 250, with 66 points, came third.
The BMW X5, with 102 points, and the Audi A6, with 67 points, were runners-up in the Premium Car category. Interestingly, both BMWs were only 3 points apart. In the end, however, the 3 Series edged past the X5 with 105 points.
On behalf of the juries of ICOTY and IMOTY 2020, of which autoX is proud to be a part – Dr Raghupati Singhania, Chairman & Managing Director, JK Tyre & Industries Limited, presented the ICOTY 2020 trophy to Mr Bryan Dong Huwy Park, Executive Director, Sales & Marketing, Hyundai Motor India, for the Venue and the IMOTY 2020 trophy to Mr Pawan Munjal, MD, Chairman & CEO, Hero MotoCorp, for the Xpulse 200. He also presented the Premium Car Award 2020 to Mr Rudratej Singh, MD & CEO, BMW India, for the 3 Series.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr Raghupati Singhania said, ‘This is the most exciting night for the auto industry, and rightfully so. We, at JK Tyre, are proud to be supporting the ICOTY & IMOTY awards ever since its inception. With automakers leaping forward and innovating at a rapid pace, this year brought many strong contenders to the table, making the jury’s task of picking winners that much more difficult. Despite the tough competition, each entrant is a winner in its own right.’
Sharing his thoughts on the Hyundai Venue’s victory, Mr S.S. Kim, MD & CEO, Hyundai Motor India Limited, said, ‘It is a moment of great pride for all of us at the Hyundai family. We are honoured to win the most prestigious Indian automotive award, Indian Car of the Year 2020, for India’s first connected SUV – the Hyundai Venue. Hyundai Venue has become customers’ first choice in India and has penned a new success story with over 95,000 bookings (to date) in India.’
Dr Pawan Munjal, MD and Chairman, Hero MotoCorp Limited, collected the award for the Xpulse 200 and said, ‘We are delighted to receive the most coveted honour of the Indian automotive industry. 2019 has been a milestone year for us in augmenting our brand appeal as the “Premium Hero.” It has been our conscious effort to design and develop new premium motorcycles and scooters that will redefine these segments. Our new range of premium products has been completely designed and developed by our own in-house engineers at the CIT. Going forward, we will continue to bring new products for our customers around the world in this segment.’
The Chairman of this year’s ICOTY jury, Mr Yogendra Pratap, presented a winner’s certificate signed by all the jury members to Hyundai and BMW, while Mr Aspi Bhathena, Chairman of this year’s IMOTY jury, presented a certificate signed by the entire IMOTY 2020 jury to Hero MotoCorp.
Congratulating the winners, Mr Pratap said, ‘The Hyundai Venue and Kia Seltos were close competitors for the top slot. While both cars are standouts in their respective segments, value for money was a key consideration, and the Venue stood out given its greater accessibility. For the Premium Car Award 2020 by ICOTY, the top two contenders, the BMW 3 Series and X5, have evolved notably over their previous generations. With affordability and accessibility as one of the top considerations for assessment, the BMW 3 Series emerged as the top choice.’
Mr Bhathena further added, ‘The competition was extremely intense across all categories in this edition of the ICOTY and IMOTY Awards. Despite the challenging industry scenario, we have had some exciting entrants in the segment. The jury really had a tough time, as the winning margin was just a single point between the winner and the runner-up. The jury simply made the right choice, as it is not just about building a feature-rich bike, but also one that offers an added value proposition. Undoubtedly, the Hero Xpulse ticks all the boxes and deserves to be the winner.’
All the finalists of the ICOTY and IMOTY 2020 were judged by the esteemed jury members on multiple parameters, like price, fuel efficiency, styling, comfort, safety, performance, practicality, technical innovation, build quality, value-for-money, and suitability for Indian driving/riding conditions. The Premium Car of the Year award took into consideration all premium and luxury vehicles that sit above the ₹40-lakh mark. These include both locally produced and imported car models. While judging the finalists was indeed a challenging task, the jury members, with a cumulative automotive evaluation experience of nearly 300 years, exhibited unparalleled analytical skills and competence in evaluating this year’s contenders.
This year’s 16-member ICOTY jury consisted of Dhruv Behl & Ishan Raghava (autoX), Yogendra Pratap (Chairman, ICOTY), Rahul Ghosh (Auto Today), Aspi Bhathena & Sarmad Kadiri (Car India), Sirish Chandran & Aniruddha Rangnekar (Evo India), Pablo Chaterji & Kartik Ware (Motoring World), Bertrand D’Souza & Rohit Paradkar (Overdrive), Muralidhar Swaminathan (The Hindu Business Line), Vikrant Singh (CarWale), Kushan Mitra (The Pioneer), and Girish Karkera (GQ India).
Likewise, the 12-member IMOTY jury for 2020 included Jared Solomon & Arup Das (autoX), Rahul Ghosh & Dipayan Dutta (Auto Today), Aspi Bhathena & Sarmad Kadiri (Bike India), Sirish Chandran (Fast Bikes India), Pablo Chaterji & Kartik Ware (Motoring World), Abhay Verma & Rohit Paradkar (Overdrive), and Vikrant Singh (BikeWale).