With 281 votes, the Fiat Panda beat the Mazda3 (241), Volkswagen Golf (241), Toyota Avensis (219), Opel/Vauxhall Meriva (213), BMW 5 Series (144) and the Nissan Micra (111).
As well as being the overall winner, the A-segment Fiat also attracted votes from the widest number of jury members: 55 out of 58 included the Panda in their nominations, while no less than 16 rated it top of their list.
No less than five of the last 10 annual Car of the Year awards have been won by Fiat Auto: Fiat Punto in '95, Fiat Bravo/Brava in '96, Alfa 156 in '98, Alfa 147 in '01 and now Fiat Panda in '04.
This is the first time that an A-segment model has won the International Car of the Year. It was organised this year by the French magazine L'Automobile .