Media Advisory - Automobile Protection Association (APA)



    MONTREAL, March 26 /CNW Telbec/ - The Automobile Protection Association
released its 2008 new vehicle ratings today. The release coincides with the
publication of Autos 2008, the annual car guide published jointly with
Protégez-Vous, the French language consumer magazine. The APA ratings are
compiled with information from its new vehicle testing program, and complaint
assistance and referral services.
    New vehicle sales in the first quarter of 2008 rebounded in January after
the automakers dropped Canadian prices on many models, and reduced interest
rates for leasing and financing to close the gap with the US prices. American
prices are still lower says APA president George Iny, but for vehicles under
$30,000 that most consumers buy, the savings are usually not worth the effort
of getting around the non-tariff barriers set up by many automakers.
    APA cannot remember a time in recent memory when an entry-level European
luxury has been so affordable. Low interest rates and high lease-end values
have dropped the monthly payments on C-Class Mercedes, Audi A4 and similar
models to below the payment for a loaded Japanese mid-size sedan.
    The shift to "Small is beautiful" is more apparent in Quebec than
elsewhere in Canada. Although they comprise about one quarter of the new car
market, consumers in the Province of Quebec buy almost half of the
highest-rated small cars -- vehicles like the Mazda3, Toyota Yaris, and Honda
Civic. Consumers in Quebec want more than inexpensive transportation. They are
looking for vehicles with style, which are fun to drive.
    This year a record three Hyundai vehicles have earned the APA's coveted
"Recommended" rating. Hyundai has made an extraordinary commitment to vehicle
safety, with Electronic Stability Control standard on its budget-priced
Elantra and all its more expensive vehicles. APA President George Iny says ESC
is the most important safety feature not required by law that you should be
looking for in a new vehicle.

    Winter Tires become mandatory in Quebec

    New regulations adopted in December will require mandatory winter tires
for all vehicles driven in Quebec from November 1 to March 31, beginning next
autumn. APA's new vehicle ratings are the only ones to show which vehicles
have poor or no winter tire availability. For example, tires to fit the large
18 inch and 20 inch wheel sizes on Mazda CX-7 and CX-9 SUVs are out of stock
early in the season.
    APA believes the new mandatory winter tire requirement was introduced
hastily and poorly planned. The tiremakers are rubbing their hands with glee
in anticipation of this one-time windfall.
    APA's 2007/2008 New Vehicle Ratings are available on the APA website
(English) at www.apa.ca, and in the annual Autos 2007 car guide published with
Protégez-Vous magazine (French).

    
    The news conference will be held at :

    Place :  Le Paris Beurre (Restaurant)
             1226, rue Van Horne
             Outremont (Québec) H2V 1K3
             Tel: 514-271-7502

    Date :   Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Time :   10:30

    Coffee and croissants will be served.
    A tire expert will be available for interviews.
    For more information following our news conference, consult the APA web
    site at www.apa.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: George Iny, Antoinette Greco, Automobile
Protection Association (APA), (514) 273-1662, (514) 867-1662,
apamontreal@apa.ca, www.apa.ca

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AUTOMOBILE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION (APA)

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