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Kia's Stinger shows why car shoppers should take note of car awards
AS motoring accolades go, the Scottish Car Of The Year Awards are possibly among the more obscure, but that doesn't make winning them any less welcome.
Earlier this week, the Kia Stinger, a large, powerful fastback car with turbo engines and rear wheel-drive, picked up the "Executive of the Year" gong from a body called the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers, who dole out the awards.
The award adds to a string of honours that the Stinger has won this year. They range from the prestigious to the borderline abstruse.
One example of the latter? Earlier this year, the Stinger was given the Best Petrol Tow Car Award by experts from such groups as The Camping And Caravanning Club and a magazine called Practical Caravan. "The Kia proves that you don't need a practical estate or a tough Sport Utility Vehicle to go caravanning," said the UK-based judges.
Other awards are more famous, and thus more coveted by car companies. One of these is the Red Dot Design Award, which has been handing out prizes for what its jury calls "the best products created every year" since 1955.
27 cars won Product Design awards, but among them, only three were declared "best of the best" winners: the McLaren 720S, Ferrari Portofino, and the Stinger.
Sounding like frustrated motoring journalists, the 40-member jury panel issued a statement that said: "Impressive visual features merge with sophisticated, premium-level inner values, elevating this vehicle class onto a new level. The luxuriously equipped Kia Stinger offers relaxed driving even on long journeys."
Winning such awards is one way to draw attention to a product's strengths, as well as those of the brand behind it. "It highlights Kia's passion for design quality and ingenuity, which has once again been lauded by a panel of international design experts," says Peter Schreyer, president and chief design officer of Kia Motors Corporation.
The prizes are a way for the people who slave away in design centres to feel validated about their work, too. Mr Schreyer calls the Stinger "proof of Kia's high design standards", for example, and he now has the trophy to back up the claim.
But should customers care about such accolades?
Naturally, it's more important to look at the nature of a prize itself than of the car that won it. The JD Power and Associates vehicle dependability award ranks cars according to how many problems drivers report after three years of ownership, for example, which is something more relevant to someone looking for a reliable car than a design award.
The good news is that sometimes awards overlap, which can be a sign of a manufacturer's strength.
Autocar, the world's oldest motoring magazine, gave the Kia Stinger an award for being a "game changer", for example. Add the Red Dot Award, a creditable fifth-place ranking for Kia in the latest JD Power reliability study, and it seems safe to assume that the Stinger's accolades are no fluke. As the jurors on the Scottish Car Of The Year Awards might say about the car, the "ayes" have it.