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 |  Sep 24 2011, 11:45 AM

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It’s that time of the year again as Car of the Year begins the laborious task of whittling down new Car of the Year contenders for 2012.

A total of 59 journalists, representing automotive authorities across 23 European countries, have been recruited for the task of choosing top car. The number of journalists to represent each country is based on the relative size of the said country’s car market. Countries like Spain, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain have a well established market, and each will be represented by six journalists.

As for cars, only completely redesigned new models that have launched within the twelve months before the contest are counted. Each car must be available in at least five European countries and must have an expected sales volume no less than 5,000.

Categories considered include design, safety, performance, and price. This year, says the judging committee, technical innovation and value will be especially influential. What also makes Car of the Year unique is the absence of separate genres for its candidates. Rather than selecting the best of the compacts or the best trucks, vehicles with all sorts of engine size and body types will be vying for the same allotment of points.

Comparison testing of the vehicles will be performed in Sweden.

The following 35 candidates selected for the 2012 Car of the Year award include:

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