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Insignia voted car of the year

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The prestigious title of European Car of the Year (COTY) has been awarded to Vauxhall's Insignia following one of the hardest-fought contests in recent years.

The Insignia was voted first by the 59-strong jury of motoring journalists from 23 European countries, with the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Golf coming in second and third respectively.

Steve Cropley, the editor-in-chief of Autocar, COTY's British-based sponsoring magazine, commented: "We are delighted to be able to deliver good news at such a tough time.

"The market's the toughest we've seen for 20 years, but nothing alters the fact that the Insignia is a great car. It deserved to triumph and it did."

Bill Parfitt, the chairman of General Motors UK, added: "Vauxhall has made great strides in recent years, particularly in design and dynamics, and the Insignia illustrates what we're capable of achieving."

There were 37 contenders vying for this year's COTY honour, with just seven short-listed for the award.

This is the third time that Vauxhall has won the accolade, with the Astra taking the title in 1985, followed two years later by the Carlton/Omega.

© Press Association 2008