2014 AJAC Awards - Jeep Cherokee named 2014 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2014 /CNW/ - In an early morning press conference at the opening of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, the Jeep Cherokee was declared the 2014 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

"From our engineers, to our management, to the people on the assembly line and everyone in between, I can't truly express how excited we at Chrysler Group are to see the all-new Jeep Cherokee named 2014 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year by AJAC," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, Chrysler Canada. "To achieve this honour amongst such diverse and worthy competition is both humbling and a reinforcement of our goal to completely redefine what Canadians should expect from an affordable, mid-size SUV. Whether through its cutting-edge design, class-exclusive tech like a segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission, legendary Jeep 4x4 capability or more than 70 advanced safety and security features, the 2014 Cherokee is resonating well with consumers."

The Jeep Cherokee was also the winner of the "Best New SUV/CUV under $35,000" class.  Twelve category winners were eligible for the top honours of either the "Canadian Car of the Year" or "Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year" after being announced on December 3, 2013.  Mazda won three of the twelve categories while General Motors and Kia each had double wins.  The other category winners were Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, and Mercedes-Benz.

The overall and category winners represent the vote results by the largest group of Canada's best-known automotive journalists, who gathered last October in Niagara Falls, Ontario for a five-day test-drive evaluation of brand-new or significantly changed vehicle models. The event, known as "TestFest," was hosted by the Niagara Parks Commission, and Shell Canada is the official fuel supplier.

The vote results are not the personal opinion of just one journalist. Rather, they are based on a combination of objective data and evaluation by 80 journalists of 174 vehicles. Each journalist drives vehicles in a category back-to-back on the same day, under the same conditions, on closed and public roads, so as to ensure fair comparison and consumer relevance.

Every detail, from safety features to cargo capacity, is thoroughly scrutinized and individually rated by secret ballot. Over 40,000 data fields are generated by the journalists. KPMG then tabulates the information from the ballots in order to determine the winners.  The vote results are kept confidential - even from AJAC - until announced publicly.

The whole point of AJAC's Canadian Car of the Year awards is to provide consumers with sound, comparative information on vehicles that are new to the market.

Accordingly, the vote results and comparative data from the entire 2014 CCOTY awards program are posted to the AJAC website for use by consumers as a resource buying guide, at no charge, when shopping for a new vehicle.  The comparative data is criteria driven and based on Canadian expertise.

Are consumers aware of AJAC's Canadian Car of the Year Awards? And does winning the Canadian Car of the Year award have any influence on a purchase decision?

The answer is yes.

Maritz Research, on behalf of AJAC and in association with Honda Canada., conducted a survey of 2013 Honda Accord buyers to test their recognition of AJAC and the Honda Accord as winner of the 2013 Canadian Car of the Year award.  Good news:

  1. 100% of survey respondents knew that the Honda Accord was selected as the 2013 Canadian Car of the Year by AJAC.
  2. Compared to previous award influence surveys, the awareness level has gone up from 74% (2008) to 100% (2013)
  3. 56% of survey respondents said the AJAC Canadian Car of the Year Award had a positive influence in the purchase decision.   This result demonstrates that the overall CCOTY award's influence has maintained its position of over 50%

Today's vote results will be posted to the AJAC web site this week.  The TestFest comparative data is already posted.  Look for "Vote Results" and also "New Vehicle Data - Criteria Driven - Canadian Expertise" at ajac.ca

Please follow us on Twitter @AJACanada or #testfest and on Facebook.

This news release is brought to you by CNW Group: AJAC's official news wire service.

SOURCE: Automobile Journalists Association of Canada

For further information:

For more information about AJAC, its annual TestFest, and the Canadian Car of the Year Awards, please contact Beth Rhind, AJAC Manager, 1.905.375.5145, e: beth@ajac.ca.

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