Opel Astra wins Car of the Year at Geneva show

GENEVA – The Opel Astra has been named “Car of the Year” by nearly 60 journalists ahead of the start of the Geneva auto show, a boon for the European operations of General Motors.

The selection on Monday of the hatchback comes as the Detroit automaker has been looking to turn the corner with its European operations, which have been losing money for years.

Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann praised “the toughest jury in the industry,” and said the car’s designers made a lighter, more spacious and elegant version with this 2015 edition, which has racked up 130,000 sales. Opel is known as Vauxhall in the U.K.

Seven European automotive publications were behind the award. Most of the seven finalists — except the Jaguar XE and the BMW 7-Series sedan — were basic transportation vehicles. The others were the Audi A4, the Mazda MX5, the Skoda Superb and the Volvo XC90 SUV.