Nissan Leaf is 2011 European Car of the Year

Nissan's big bet on electric cars is starting to pay off, as the Leaf has become the first all-electric vehicle to be honored with the "Car of the Year" award. The Leaf achieved 257 points and was joined on the podium by the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which managed to obtain 248 points, and the Opel Meriva, which scored 244 points.

The Leaf is the first affordable, all-electric, zero-emission vehicle to be mass marketed, despite the consumers' lack of confidence in this emerging technology. This award demonstrates the EVs ability to rise to the expectations set by the traditional internal combustion vehicle.

The jury acknowledged today that the Nissan LEAF is a breakthrough for electric cars. Nissan LEAF is the first EV that can match conventional cars in many respects,” said Hakan Matson, President of the Jury, Car of the Year.

This is the second time the carmaker has won this prestigious award, having taken the laurels in the 1993 edition of the competition with the Micra subcompact.

This year's edition of the "Car of the Year" competition marked another historic first, the participation of a Romanian brand, Dacia, which was declared eligible for the first time in its existence. The Duster scored the lowest among the seven finalists. The first Romanian SUV scored 132 points, which is an achievement in itself, taking into account that the carmaker was only marketed in its home country, before the launch of the Logan model.

The "Car of the Year" competition was established in 1964 by renowned publications in the automotive market. The voting jury consisted of 59 members from 23 countries, with each country being allotted a number of jurors, taking into account the countries' market share and car industry. As opposed to other competitions of this type, there are no categories or class winners, there's only a single, decisive winner.
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