Jeep is the first US automaker to make it on Japan’s Car of the Year final list image

We already told you that the brand new 2015 Mazda2 (called Demio locally) has been named Japan’s Car of the Year, edging out strong European contenders – the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the BMW i3.

What you didn’t know that among the mix of cars that made it on the Top 10 list of finalists there was one surprise introduction. For the first time a US auto brand, namely Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep, entered the list with the Cherokee. This is the third time the Fiat Chrysler Japan unit nailed a model in the Best 10, after the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in the 2012-2013 edition and Fiat Panda in the 2013-2014 selection. The success shouldn’t be viewed as too favorable though, as the Cherokee placed eighth (with 15 points), while Mazda2 took the prize with 423 points, followed by the C-Class and i3 with 404 and 340 points, respectively.

The surge of European and a first US introduction shows the contest has gradually become more open to foreign brands, after last year the big prize was taken home by Volkswagen’s Golf – a first for a European manufacturer since the start of the Japan Car of the Year award back in 1980-1981.Introduced in May, the rejuvenated fourth generation of the model allowed Jeep to keep up its blistering sales pace in Japan – the US brand is on track for a fifth consecutive year of increases.

Via Automotive News