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Japan’s Car of the Year is…Not the 86?

When the Toyota 86 was unveiled, it literally swept the headlines from all corners of the world. Everyone was waiting for it, and wanting to get a ride in it. And although a lot of the critiques were pointing out the lack of power from the 2.0 Subaru boxer unit, it was not that much of a major issue as the handling was simply superb. With that, we could probably assume that the 86 is going to win Japan’s 2012 Car of the Year award hands down.

But surprisingly, the one that won Japan’s 2012 COTY award is not the highly-anticipated sports coupe, but is Mazda’s compact crossover CX-5. Securing the top spot with 363 votes, the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ missed their shot in grabbing the award by just 45 votes. Taking third place was BMW’s 3-series at 282 votes, and the rest was distributed evenly between Japanese and European models.

“We are thrilled to have the CX-5 receive such a coveted award”, said Kiyoshi Fujiwara, the Executive Officer for Mazda. “Spurred on by this honor, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to the task of crafting cars that only Mazda can, in order to continue winning the support of our fans and customers in the future”, he added.

Mazda has been grabbing Japan’s COTY title for a couple of times since the MX-5 wowed the judges back in 2005. Since the MX-5 was made available to the public back in February, Mazda had managed to sell 128,000 of them globally; 37,000 of them are from Japan and 33,000 from Europe. Cars eligible to enter the 2012 Japan COTY needed to be either announced or launched in Japan between November 1, 2011 and October 31, 2012.