By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

Men talk cars, drool over their favorites and truly believe the right model can make or break their image.

But find out who ultimately selects the autos in many families, and it’s Mom or Sis or Granny. Quite often, women hold the purse strings and ride herd on practical decisions such as car buying.

In that vein, shoppers should take note of a yearly event in which female writers from a host of countries vote on class leaders and then for – in their opinion – the Earth’s best vehicle.

According to the Driving the Nation.com newsletter, there were 18 female journalists who disclosed their choices earlier this month. The women scribes eventually coalesced around the 2013 Ford Fiesta 1.01 Eco-Boost, naming it “Women’s World Car of the Year” and “supreme” winner for 2013.

The vote’s impact was not lost on Ford, which has been the only American manufacturer to place cars on the list the past two years.

The company was “thrilled” to receive the economy car category award and the overall title, said Craig Von Essen, product and communications manager for Ford Motor Co. in Asia-Pacific and Africa. “Women pack powerful purchasing power, representing a huge market opportunity,” he said.

“The fact that a respected panel of published and specialist women motoring writers selected the Ford Fiesta 1.01 EcoBoost is a significant accolade as we work to design, develop and market our vehicles, technologies and services in a way that captures the attention of this very influential buying group,” Von Essen said.

The top three by brand in the five categories for 2013 were:

Family Car:

1. Audi Allroad

2. Volkswagen Golf

3. BMW 3 Series

Luxury Car:

1. Range Rover

2. Mercedes Benz SL550

3. BMW 6 Series

Sports Car:

1. Porsche Boxster S

2. Audi RS5

3. Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ

SUV:

1. Mazda CX5

2. Hyundai Sante Fe

3. Nissan Pathfinder

Economy Car:

1. Ford Fiesta 1.01 Eco-Boost

2. Kia Forte

3. Toyota Prius

The women journalists also took part in “a purely fun category, (where) judges were asked to nominate their Dream Car.” The Aston Martin Vanquish won, “just nudging out the Jaguar F-type,” according to organizers.

Most of the cars on the list are available at Charleston area auto dealerships. Exceptions include the Aston Martin; the Volkswagen Up! – on last year’s list – which is sold overseas; and the Toyota 86, the twin of the Subaru BRZ and marketed in the U.S. as the Scion FR-S.

The Auckland, New Zealand, office of Grant Thornton international accountants certified the results.

According to organizers, the Fiesta won the economy car category in the finalist voting round and, in the second voting round consisting of finalists only, edged out the Mazda CX5 and the Range Rover.

For the first time, judges voted for SUVs in a separate category.

The chief judge, Sandy Myhre of New Zealand, said judges supply their own short list from 2013 model year cars they’ve tested. From those lists, one list of cars is drawn up to determine the finalists. Judges choose their supreme winner and the podium finishers from there.

The Land Rover Range Rover Evoque won the 2012 “Women’s World Car of the Year,” which had female voters from 12 countries.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.