Virtual Showroom for the Expat Petrol Head

Published On July 19, 2013 | By Staff Writer | Destinations, Travel Guides
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In preparing to move to a new country to change gear in your career, there are a trunkful of things to do and prepare to be covered for all eventualities. Preparing the family living accommodation, schooling needs, general finances and international medical insurance (this is the Aetna International homepage). Of these tasks; a few, or at least some, OK maybe most might be edging towards the “chore” rather than fun category.

However, one planning item which has some scope to add to the excitement a little is the choice of an automobile if you’re lucky enough to have that as part of your package. Aetna’s research shows this to be significant driver. Here is a high level driver’s seat worldwide view of some of the choices when reaching for the car keys.

Official Awards

Brands and model’s specifications vary from territory to territory and as such the term “world car” may not always mean that, however since 2005 the World Car Of the Year Award has attempted to select the best in automotive design with a fairly global availability – specifically offered in at least 5 countries on at least 2 continents. There are sub-categories for the award to cater for the diverse types of car and challenges that go with picking “the best”.

In 2013 the results were as follows:

World Car of the Year – Volkswagen Golf

Ever-popular as a result of being ever-good, the mid-size hatchback combines quality with versatility and each new version continues where the previous one left off – somewhere near the top of the shopping list.

World Car for Expats – UK Version of the Golf GTI

World Car for Expats – UK Version of the Golf GTI

World Performance Car – Porsche Boxter/Cayman

The baby Porsche is still very grown-up in terms of performance and brings affordability to those desiring a real sports car. With a roof or without, if you don’t need more than 2 seats, there’s little not to like.

Porsche Boxter (image by Alexandre Prévot on Flickr)

Porsche Boxter (image by Alexandre Prévot on Flickr)

World Green Car – Tesla Model S

Keeping in tune with the eco requirements of the industry and the global car buyer (business or pleasure), the awards have had a specific Green category since 2006. The electrically-driven Tesla brand is gaining a lot of attention for combining desirability and drivability with the ability to have a clear conscience – and a clean exhaust.

Tesla S – No Engine

Tesla S – No Engine

World Car Design of the Year – Jaguar F-Type

Back on track over recent years following their take-over by the Indian Tata company, finally Jaguar produce a true follow-up to the classic E-Type.


Jaguar F-Type – Great Engine and Jaguar E-Type

Jaguar F-Type – Great Engine and Jaguar E-Type


So much for the expert’s view of the best automotive options – what are the most popular?

South America

The southern continent is a vastly expanding market generally, but with local variations in popularity in their car choices, with Brazil leaning towards compact models offering value for money: Fiat and VW crowding the top slots. Likewise Argentina – compacts from Chevrolet and again large European brands investing heavily with bespoke (rebadged) models; Fiat, VW and Renault. Some of the other South American countries may seem a long way to go to then buy Chinese, but the Chinese automotive manufacturers are making great strides here.


India has a wide selection of re-badged cars following a major growth in the industry. Topping the sales charts currently is the Suzuki-related Maruti DZire.


The German premium brands are also popular brands in affluent Singapore – seemingly you can’t go wrong by selecting BMW or Mercedes. Only problem might be finding yours in the parking lot!


On the European continent, the 2013 World Car is also the big seller, another name check for the VW Golf.

So pack your bags, collect your documents for overseas finances, school fees and global health insurance, but don’t forget your international driving license!


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