Chevrolet Optra zooms off with 'Car of the Year' award

NEW DELHI: A software engineer from Bangalore has won the BBC World’s Wheels Viewers’ Choice Awards contest even as the channel announced the winning cars and bikes for 2003.



Chevrolet Optra LT Manual won the title of ‘BBC World’s Wheels Car of the Year 2003’ and Hero Honda Karizma was awarded the ‘BBC World’s Wheels Bike of the Year 2003’ – the two most coveted categories in the awards.

Deno Mathew, a 23-year old software engineer from Bangalore, was chosen as the winner of the contest through a lucky draw and has won two tickets to the Malaysian Grand Prix 2004 to be held in Kuala Lumpur March early next year.

BBC World’s popular weekly series Wheels, produced by Miditech Television, revealed the Wheels Viewer’s Choice Awards 2003 naming the Chevrolet Optra 1.8 Petrol Automatic as the Wheels Viewers’ Choice Car of The Year and the Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi as the Wheels Viewers’ Choice Bike of The Year.

An elated Mathew said, “I am really thrilled to have won this grand prize, and am looking forward to witnessing the Malaysian Grand Prix next year. A car enthusiast myself, I avidly follow Wheels on BBC World as it gives a crisp overview of the cars and bikes and also provides some interesting facts and trivia.”

The Wheels Viewers’ Choice Awards for car and bike were decided from the interactive online poll conducted on the website in the month of November. The poll was coupled with a special contest wherein participants stood a chance to win several prizes and one grand prize of a pair of tickets to the Malaysian Grand Prix 2004.

Sponsored by Servo engine oil, Wheels is the popular weekly automobile show on BBC World. On 20 December at 10 pm, the one-hour specially commissioned Wheels Awards 2003 programme will showcase the best Indian cars and bikes judged on criteria including price, engine performance, fuel efficiency, suspension, looks, ownership experience and value for money.

This year has seen a total of ten car categories, eight of them being rated by price range plus the Wheels Viewers’ Choice Award and the prestigious Wheels Car of the Year Award. Eight bike categories comprise the Wheels Viewers’ Choice Award, the Wheels Bike of the Year Award, and six categories assessed by price range.

For the first time ever, BBC World introduced the Wheels Viewers’ Choice Awards giving viewers a chance to vote for their choice of the best car and bike. An interactive online poll on the website revealed Chevrolet Optra 1.8 Petrol Automatic (32 per cent votes) as the Wheels Viewers’ Choice Car of The Year, ahead of the Chevrolet Forrester 2.0 4WD (20 per cent) and the Chevrolet Optra 1.8 Petrol Manual (19 per cent). The Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi with 32 per cent votes is the Wheels Viewers’ Choice Bike of The Year, scoring above Hero Honda Karizma (22 per cent) and Bajaj Pulsar 150 DTSi (16 per cent).

Commenting on the awards, Narendhra Morar, commissioning editor of BBC World, in a statement said, “We received an overwhelming response to the Wheels Awards last year and this year’s awards will go even further to deliver unbiased and credible analysis that will be of value to our viewers. At BBC World, we’re always innovative with our programme formats and the new Viewers’ Choice Awards increased viewer interactivity and received a great response from across the country.”

According to Seema Kotecha, head of marketing, BBC World : “The Wheels Viewers’ Choice categories are a first for BBC World and have served as an excellent platform to reach out and engage viewers. I hope the tremendous response to the Viewers’ Choice contest will go a long way to building a stronger association with consumers and motoring enthusiasts.”

The other winners in the car categories for 2003 are:

· Maruti Alto LX Best car under Rs 3 lakhs

· Tata Indica DLX (Diesel) Best car between Rs 3 and Rs 5 lakhs

· Ford Ikon 1.6 NXT SXI Best car between Rs 5 and Rs 8 lakhs

· Chevrolet Optra LT Best car between Rs 8 and Rs 12 lakhs

· Honda Accord VTi MT Best car between Rs 12 and 20 lakhs

· Mercedes Benz S350L Best car over Rs 20 lakhs

· Mahindra Scorpio Diesel 4WD Best SUV under Rs 10 lakhs

· Ford Endeavor 4WD Best SUV over Rs 10 lakhs

In the two-wheeler section winners include:

· Bajaj Boxer AT KTech Best two-wheeler under Rs 30,000

· TVS Victor GL Best two-wheeler between Rs 30,000 - 40,000

· LML Freedom Deluxe Best two wheeler between Rs 40,000 - 45,000

· Babaj Pulsar 150 DTSi Best two wheeler between Rs 45,000 - 55,000

· Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi Best two wheeler between RS 55,000 - 70,000

· Hero Honda Karizma Best two wheeler over Rs 70,000

In addition to the serious awards, a light hearted section announced some wacky titles such as ‘The Best In-laws’ Car’ coming to the Skoda Octavia, while the Tata Indigo and the Honda City shared the award for ‘The Lost Twin Brothers from the 1975 Kumbh Mela united after 25 years’.

Wheels is presented by a team of automobile enthusiasts, including Niret Alva, Navaz Sandhu, Jasmine Bhatty, Paramangsu Mukherjee and Christopher Daruwalla. Wheels has weekly updates on the world of cars and two-wheelers in India.

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