[GENEVA] Volkswagen AG's Passat sedan beat six other vehicles to become Europe's Car of the Year, the third time in six years that the region's biggest carmaker has won the title.
The Passat received 340 points from a panel of 58 European business and trade journalists, followed by 248 points for the Citroen C4 Cactus crossover and 221 points for the new version of C-Class sedan made by Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, Hakan Matson, head of the Car of the Year jury, said at a press conference in advance of the Geneva International Motor Show.
Volkswagen rolled out new versions of the mid-sized Passat lineup in 2014, part of the Wolfsburg, Germany-based manufacturer's effort to become the world's biggest carmaker by the end of the decade. The VW brand's Golf hatchback, its best- selling model, won the Car of the Year title in 2013, and its Polo compact won in 2010.
"We are very proud and honored" to win the award, and "it's important for us to get it for the Passat" with its range of technology such as on-board connectivity and new engines, including a hybrid variant, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, head of development at the VW brand, said at the press conference.
Other models shortlisted by the jury for the 2015 prize included BMW AG's 2-Series Active Tourer, Ford Motor Co's Mondeo sedan, Nissan Motor Co's Qashqai compact crossover and Renault SA's Twingo subcompact.
The jury members come from publications in 22 European countries. Last year's winner was the Peugeot 308 hatchback.