THE COUNTDOWN to the 2023 Old Mutual Insure Car Of The Year Awards has finally begun with Kriya Gangiah as the host for the main event.
In less than 12 days, petrol heads and car enthusiasts will discover which car out of the top 21 finalists will be crowned the winner in the national competition. The event will take place on Thursday, June 1, at Urban Brew studio in Randburg.
The finalists were announced in January this year following a lengthy discussion. The Car of The Year (Coty) committee and the SAGMJ executive committee used a score cut-off to include a wider range of finalists without favouring any category.
With nine categories, the battle for the car of the year spot is tricky. The judges had to vote for vehicles in the following categories: compact, compact family, midsize, premium, adventure SUV, double cab, luxury, performance and new energy.
According to a statement released by the insurer sponsor, the fierce competitiveness in the compact family and midsize categories was demonstrated by over 40% of the jury’s aggregate votes. There was just as much competition for a position on the finalist’s list in the premium, luxury, and ever-growing new energy categories.
Old Mutual Insure Car Of The Year Awards have a long-standing history. They have been taking place for the past 37 years. Radio personality and automotive show presenter Kriya Gangiah is excited to host and looks forward to bringing her bubbly personality to the main event.
“This is my first time hosting, and it is going to be a new, fun event. With Old Mutual Insure on board, they are really shaking things up and making sure it is new, fresh and exciting,” she said.
The excited host said that she had dreamt of hosting the prestigious awards for some time.
“I think it shows that the industry is growing and developing. It is about time we ladies get the opportunity to show the industry what we are capable of,” she said.
Gangiah is the lead anchor on the popular Formula 1 podcast ‘F1: Track This’ and has become a familiar face at various racing events nationwide. Her love for anything automotive has allowed her an opportunity to break into the industry and create a name for herself.
“I have an extreme love for motorsport, and this has spilt over into the automotive space. I have been fortunate to be involved in some of the most prestigious motorsport events in South Africa. It has not always been the easiest industry to grow in, but definitely, one that I have enjoyed,” said Gangiah.
The 2023 Old Mutual Insure Car Of The Year Awards host matched her personality to the 1989 Mini Minor. “We were both born in the same year, and we are both petite, come in cool colours, nippy and just a lot of fun,” she said with a laugh.
While Gangiah has been in the motoring industry for several years and has cemented herself in the field, her growth puts her in good stead to see where and how the South African motoring space needs to improve to compete with international automotive industries.
“We are missing a variety in the electric vehicle (EV) sector. We may not have the best electricity grid, but I feel with areas of solar development, we should be increasing our EV offerings,” she said.
Gangiah noted that though the event is set to celebrate the cars that have made a good impression in the local motoring market, consumers, especially those that are not car enthusiasts, could use this platform to learn a thing or two about cars and what makes a specific vehicle suitable for different buyers.
“A variety of panellists judged the awards. Some are pure automotive fanatics, tech journalists, and people who enjoy the journey. It gives the consumer a well-rounded representation of the cars and what each offers. Each person will be able to add an experience that I think is the perfect way for consumers to learn about the cars,” she said.
Gangiah said she would have rated the winning vehicles on various elements, including the driving experience, if she were on the judging panel.
“For me it is all about the driving experience. We love going away on long weekends, packing the dogs, golf bags and fishing rods. So I always look for a functional car that gives you the best journey,” she said.