At a press conference hosted by Bridgestone Corporation and the New York International AutoShow, the Volkswagen Up! has been declared the 2012 World Car of the Year.

This is the third time that a Volkswagen has been declared the “World Car of the Year”. The Volkswagen Polo won the honour in 2010 and the Golf VI won the title in 2009 making it two consecutive years in a row.

The Volkswagen up! was chosen from an initial entry list of 34 new vehicles from all over the world, then a short list of ten, then three finalists: the Volkswagen up !, the BMW 3 Series and the Porsche 911.

“This award shows once again that in the up! our designers and engineers have created a vehicle that has been thought through in minute detail. A vehicle that sets standards in its class for efficient use of space, safety, motoring fun and environmental compatibility,” remarks Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG.

The World Car Awards jurors observed that, “The little Volkswagen up! has altered what we have come to expect from the city car segment. Of note are the responsive steering, sophisticated suspension setup, new efficient engines and the quality of materials and finish. Never before in this economy segment have owners felt so premium. Look for every builder of city cars to up its game just to compete with the new Volkswagen”.

To be eligible for the overall World Car award, the candidates must become available for sale on at least two continents during the period beginning January 1, 2011 and ending May 30, 2012.

Vehicles are selected and voted on by an international jury panel comprised of sixty-four (64) top-level automotive journalists from twenty-five (25) countries around the world. Each juror was appointed by the World Car Steering Committee on the basis of his or her expertise, experience, credibility, and influence. Each juror typically drives and evaluates new vehicles on a regular basis as part of their professional work. Through their respective outlets they collectively reach an audience of many millions world-wide.

The up! is on sale here in Ireland from just €10,995 or from just €99 per month through Volkswagen Bank.