QOTD: Do You Care About Automotive Awards?

Glossy magazines present multi-page spreads on their winners. Poorly funded websites present annual lists of their favorites. Other organizations that rate all sorts of consumer products give out actual, physical plaques and trophies to their winners.

Yes, we’re talking about automotive awards today. Everybody’s doing it, and with a bit of searching, one might even find a particular grouping of awards which suits their particular special interest.

But do you care?

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AJAC Will Finally Give Awards to the Best Cars (and Ditch Its $300,000 Journalist Track Day)

We wrote about it. They listened.

For the general car buyer who simply wants good value from a reliable form of transport, awards can become a rat’s nest of contradictory information for those who don’t know how — or care — to evaluate the awards themselves. It behooves credible professional organizations to make their awards relevant to consumers.

It’s with this in mind that the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) evaluated its Canadian Car of the Year and Testfest programs.

After a thorough review, AJAC is significantly changing its testing methodology and scoring for Canadian Car of the Year — and it’s doing so for the betterment of car buyers.

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What Does an Automotive Press Association Do With $306,000 of Automaker Cash?

This week, Canada’s most vaunted automotive journalists are at the nation’s best known race track — Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, or Mosport if you’re over the age of 12 — putting the market’s newest vehicles through their paces in a series of tests to select the Canadian Car of the Year.

This year’s event is, on the surface, no different from prior years. However, there is something truly exceptional about the event, dubbed TestFest, for 2016.

The award for Canadian Car of the Year, no matter which automaker wins it, doesn’t matter in the least.

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What's Wrong With This Competition?: Canadian Car Of The Year Edition

It’s safe to say that most of the seemingly infinite number of “car of the year” competitions are so utterly bunk that they’re not even worth the effort of exposing. But the reality is that you still see advertisements for cars proudly proclaiming them the favored choice of some local, national, or media outlet’s car of the year competition. So, to show just how non-representative and unscientific these awards can be, we thought we’d share the categories from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada (AJAC)’s “Test Fest,” which will determine the “Canadian Car Of The Year” as well as the favored cars in several categories. Our Canadian tipster writes:

They do all kinds of crap that skew the results. For example, they use the cars “as tested” price to determine what category it falls under, rather than MSRP. So what category the car falls under is completely at the whim of whatever car the manufacturer drops off and what category THEY want the car tested in. You could have an Elantra fall into the “Over $21,000” category or “Under $21,000” category depending on content. Same car, 2 different categories. But it gets better. Some of the categories I call “lump” categories because they just throw everything in one category. My favorite is Sports Car Under $50K. They actually have the Veloster competing against an Charger SRT8 and a C Class Merc. No, I’m not making this us. I’ve included the list for you, so that you may try and decipher WTF these boobs are doing.

Hit the jump to check out the categories for yourself. But first, it should be noted that despite previous questions about the AJAC award’s ethics, the competition now has a page on its website dedicated specifically to enumerating the ethical obligations of participating journalists and the award’s organizers. Unfortunately that page is limited to the following content:

Code of Ethics

AJAC Ethical Guidelines

Under review.

Oy…

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The Challenges Of Automotive Journalism
The following is a piece called “What We Wear” by Alex Law, reprinted from the Automobile Journalist Association of Canada’s November 27 “Mini Newsletter.”
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