Oct 23, 2018The 2019 AutoTrader South African Car of the Year competition is underway. Organisers of the event, the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists, have revealed the list of qualifying vehicles.Included in the 31 car line-up is the Haval H9 which is considered to be a strong contender. The company entered the South African market in May 2017 and has since grown its dealer network to 31. The H9 is the fifth luxury SUV model in the Haval range to be launched in less than 18 months. Were the Haval to win, it would be the first-ever victory by a Chinese vehicle.But the Haval will be up against strong contenders. The 2018 World Car of the Year title holder, the Volvo XC60, is just one.The XC60 also scooped the prestigious North American Utility of the Year Award earlier this year. Volvo is, of course, no stranger to the South African Car of the Year crown; the XC90 won in 2016 and the S40 in 2005.South African Car of the YearThe Range Rover Velar, which came second in the World Car of the Year contest, is yet another frontrunner. The XC60 scored 776 points and the Velar achieved 742, showing how closely the two vehicles fared.George Mienie, AutoTrader CEO contends that this will be one of the closest contests ever.“The list of qualifying cars truly represents automotive excellence, which is what the AutoTrader South African Car of the Year competition is all about. The members of the jury are going to have an extremely tough job on their hands!”Full list of qualifying vehicles:Manufacturer ModelAlfa RomeoStelvioAston MartinVantageHavalH9HondaAmazeCivic Type RHyundaii20Grand i10KonaJaguarE-PaceLand RoverRange Rover VelarLexusLSRX-LESMaseratiMasarati Levante SMercedes-BenzA-ClassX-ClassMitsubishiPajero SportNissanMicraOpelCrossland XGrandland XPorscheCayenneRenaultDusterKwid Megane R.S.SuzukiDzireJimnySwiftToyotaAygoYarisVolvoXC40XC60The next step in the journey, is the involvement of consumer voting, which starts Friday 26 October via AutoTraderCOTY.co.za. It is the first time in the competition’s history that the consumer vote will be included in the process.“The consumer ultimately votes with their wallets; their involvement and choice is an important addition to the competition” points out Rubin Van Niekerk, Chairman of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists.Semi-finalists and finalists will be announced in November with jurors conducting back-to-back testing of the vehicles in March 2019. The results are expected to be announced shortly thereafter.