THE AUTO EUROPA 2013 AWARD GOES TO THE PEUGEOT 208
27th UIGA AWARD
The French company thrashes the competition by winning the coveted award presented by the association of automotive journalists. The association also gave the industry the Green Gold Award for its commitment to sustainable mobility. The debate was renewed at a packed round table attended by Unrae, Anfia, Centro Studi Promotor, Assogomma and Assogasliquidi
A PROTOTYPE OF INTELLIGENT downsizing with a high price-technical content ratio and reduced running costs, the Peugeot 208 is the Auto Europa 2013. It went to the Citroën Ds4 at the golden dawn of an award that is presented annually by the Italian Association of Automotive Journalists (UIGA) to the most significant new vehicle sold on the continent between September and August of the previous year. A vehicle that best represents the spirit of a new creative direction, an example of innovation that is totally in line with the aims of safety and eco-sustainability. The choice was corroborated on the one hand by the 5 Euro Ncap 2012 stars assigned to the first in category Peugeot 208 and, on the other, by record savings at the 25 hours of Magione - 37.5 km/litre of diesel for the 1.4 HDi, 68 HP version, and 34.78 km/litre for the 1.6 HDi, 115 HP. And almost all the 130 UIGA members decided for the new French saloon, which had twice as many votes as the second in the classification, the Citroën Ds5; completing the podium was the latest arrival from Turin, the Fiat 500L. An appointment eagerly-awaited by car manufacturers, the Auto Europa award, now at its 27th edition, is a prestigious recognition in the context of an event that has become a tradition and is repeated in the form of a travelling exhibition with numerous fringe events.
UIGA Days in Rome and Vallelunga
This year, Rome was the setting for the three UIGA Days that included a comprehensive programme for the media and operators who attended the Eataly conference centre which hosted the round table on “Green economy and the automobile, proposals for re-launching the country”, the entire list of awards, and the Aci-Sara Safe Driving Centre next to the Piero Taruffi racetrack at Vallelunga. Here, the journalists put themselves to the test in the skid exercises and on the low grip track, and it was also here that the finalists for the Auto Europa award underwent the dynamic trials.
The 18 models were the Audi A3, Audi Q3, the new 3 series BMW saloon and SW, Citroën Ds5, Dacia Lodgy, Fiat 500L, Ford B-Max, Hyundai I30 saloon and SW, new Kia Cee’d saloon and SW, Mercedes Class A, Mercedes SL, Peugeot 208, Toyota Yaris, Volvo V40 and Volkswagen UPL, together with the sports cars in the lists for the category award, the Maserati Granturismo Sport, Lamborghini Gallardo 2wd, Jaguar XKR S and the winner, the Ferrari 458 Spider. Thanks to the display spaces set up by the manufacturers in the area next to Eataly (behind Ostiense railway station), the general public also had the chance to get up close to new developments in the automotive market by getting behind the wheel of the most recent low-emissions hybrid and electric vehicles and experience the thrill of driving simulators. Another new addition to these UIGA Days was the Green Gold Award 2013 for automotive industry products judged by UIGA journalists to be the best expression of a commitment to mobility that is sustainable, better informed, more efficient and cleaner.
Green Gold Award 2013 for Volt and Ampera
The joint winners (because they share the same architecture) were the Opel Ampera and Chevrolet Volt because they have already built a bridge to the probable future of the car. Acknowledgements went to the Kia Venga GPL Bi-fuel, the Fiat gas range, the Toyota Yaris Hybrid HSD and the Nissan Leaf in the GPL, gas, hybrid and electric classes, respectively; the Special Technology Green Gold Award was won by Bosch’s Split-Axle system that animates the diesel hybrid engine in the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 and Citroën Ds5 Hybrid. Enriching the UIGA event with additional interesting content was the round table where the debate focused on Green Economy in the car sector, a market that is having to cope with a drastic situation. On the one side, the fiscal vise – insurance premium tax, VAT, additional road tax, the rise in insurance premiums and fuel and the latest manoeuvers that drain a total of €8.7 billion – that treats the segment like an ATM that’s always available. On the other side, a credit squeeze and a crisis in consumption due to the continuing negative economy and, in the middle, a sector that is prevented from playing its, until now, considerable role as the driving force behind the country’s development.
When there is structural crisis” – stated Romano Valente, director general of Unrae, the association of foreign manufacturers – “the recipe for starting to move out of the tunnel has to begin with a review of the bureaucratic procedures involved in buying and using a vehicle. There is room for rationalization and eliminating inefficiencies by recovering resources to the advantage of growth.” To which the 2013 government incentives for buying “green”, hybrid, electric and gas cars seem unable to contribute.
More traditional economy for being greener
The way they have been conceived” - observed Gian Primo Quagliano, chairman of the Promotor GL Events study centre – “makes them useless: the allocation is minimum and aimed mainly at companies for vehicles that are to be demolished, but it is unlikely that any will be found in a company fleet, and the crumbs will go to individuals to whom vehicle demolition does not apply”. Moreover, the new stability law cuts reductions for company cars to 20% and the spending review penalizes another aspect of eco-friendly mobility.
Assogomma director Fabio Bertolotti explained – “there are no longer any funds for monitoring the conformity of tyres for which the use of aromatic oil compounds is banned. No monitoring has been envisaged for the introduction of the European label, in which the sector’s major manufacturers have made considerable investments” and the first fake stickers have already appeared on products from the Far East. “In general” - Quagliano added – “the green economy will take off only when the traditional economy is capable of supporting it”. “Certainly not on the example” – said Gianmarco Giorda, director of Anfia, the automotive supply chain association - “of photovoltaic support that has further increased the cost of energy for firms and is now 30% higher than the European average”. In this scenario drivers are demonstrating that they are making a virtue of necessity by looking at more eco-compatible models with lower running costs: hence the increase in GPL- and gas-fuelled cars. Remarking on this, Rita Caroselli, director of Assogasliquidi, said: “Going against the global trend in the segment, the market share for gas vehicles reached 11.5% in the first 8 months of 2012. GPL and gas are an immediate solution that combines both economic and environmental sustainability”. There is no lack of good ideas for kick-starting the country, but there are none so deaf as those that will not hear.