Canadian Car of the Year

Denis DesRosiers of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants said recently:

"As car awards go I personally believe that the Automotive Journalists of Canada (AJAC) serve our industry very well. Their testing process is very thorough and fair involving journalists who evaluate a very wide spectrum of vehicles through the year and thus know how to evaluate a complex product.

They come together once a year to evaluate these specific vehicles and their choices are almost always right on the mark.  I also very much like the fact that they give awards to a wide segment of vehicles which results in comparing apples to apples.  This allows the ordinary Joe consumer to get more value from these awards than many of the US based awards that annually choose a super luxury model that only a handful of Canadians could ever aspire to."

Key to the Canadian Car of the Year awards program is an annual event known in the Canadian automotive industry as “TestFest”.

To supplement their year-round testing and assessment of eligible Canadian Car of the Year vehicles, every October the top automotive journalists from all across Canada gather for additional evaluations of current models available to the Canadian market.

Their purpose? To select the best new vehicles in various categories as well as an overall Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year.

The evaluation is based on "real-world" testing so that the results have relevance for consumers.

In other words, the rigorous testing program includes "real world" driving on public roads – exactly where consumers drive - so that the test, and vote, results are relevant to potential car and truck buyers.

Team members use a detailed rating form, comprising various evaluation parameters that include acceleration, braking, vehicle dynamics, maneuverability, even off-road capability, where applicable. Each parameter is rated using a prescribed 0 – 10 rating scale.

Every detail, from safety features to cargo capacity, is thoroughly scrutinized, discussed, and individually rated by secret ballot.

Those ballots are then tabulated by the international accounting firm KPMG. The results are kept confidential -- even from AJAC -- until the awards press conferences wherein the category and overall winners are announced.

Maritz Research, on behalf of AJAC and in association with General Motors of Canada Ltd., conducted a survey of 2008 Buick Enclave purchasers to test their recognition of AJAC, the AJAC awards and the Buick Enclave as the winner of the Best New SUV Over $60,000 award for 2008.

Fully 74% of the 2008 Buick Enclave buyers who were aware of the AJAC Awards program when they purchased their vehicles knew that the Enclave was voted Best New SUV Over $60,000 – a record high-point for awareness. And of those buyers, 41% said the award had a positive influence on their buying decision.

That is a concrete measure of how influential the AJAC Canadian Car of the Year Awards have become.