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Fiat Panda named car of the year

Fiat's new Panda has been voted International Car of the Year for 2004 beating off six other shortlisted contenders to win the prestigious title. The judging panel of 58 international trade journalists, put the car ahead of the Mazda3, Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Avensis, Vauxhall Meriva, BMW 5-series and Nissan Micra. The news will give Fiat's dealers something to cheer after months of speculation about the carmaker's future. This is the first time an A-segment model has won the accolade and takes the number of Fiat wins to seven, including the Punto, Tipo and Bravo, while sister carmaker Alfa Romeo has won twice - the 156 in 1998 and 147 in 2001.

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