File picture: SAGMJ via Motorpress.

Johannesburg - The South African Car of the Year competition, which has been run since 1986 by the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists, is set for a shake-up for 2019.

After parting ways with long-time backer WesBank and welcoming AutoTrader as its new headline sponsor, the guild is promising changes that will “suit the entire industry”, in the words of Guild President Roger McCleery.

Although full details of the changes have yet to be officially announced, it has been reported that individual category awards will now be included alongside the traditional overall winner. Furthermore, a consumer vote will now be included for the first time, although the competition will still be judged by a minimum of 22 jury members from the motoring press.

“The South African Car Of the Year competition remains about excellence and our jury has always reflected that sentiment; it takes a minimum of 5 years for any journalist to be eligible for jury duty” said SAGMJ Chairman Rubin Van Niekerk.

The inclusion of categories should help to alleviate some of the controversy that has surrounded the competition in recent years, where Porsche vehicles have been particularly successful - including 2018 when the Panamera took top honours.

Organisers maintain that the competition is primarily about rewarding excellence, however the categories should broaden its appeal among the general buying public.

IOL Motoring