The competition is open to all cars from all countries that are available in at least five European nations and are expected to sell 5,000 units annually. Past award winners used the prestige extensively for promotion and marketing initiatives. However, winning the award is nothing like a bank guarantee for sales success, as last year's winner, the Nissan
Leaf, has shown. Its sales are currently faltering even after winning the award. The Chevrolet
Volt also won the North American Car of the Year award in 2011; a prize that hasn't helped to save it from the latest production suspension.