Yesterday we reported on a story first published by CarChat, that raised serious questions about the credibility of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), Canadian Car of the Year Awards. This morning we received a response signed from AJAC President Clare Dear and CCOTY Chairman Richard Russell, with the other side to the story.
The letter refers to the same instructional webinar that Banovsky deals with in which it states that, “10 is a perfect score. That means it leaves no room for improvement. But there is nothing that can’t be improved upon. So there can be no 10 scores. If you score something as 10 that score will be discounted.”
AJAC counters that “discounted” does not mean “completely ignored.” Rather, that any vote of 10 will be reduced to a 9.9. AJAC also claims that over the years there have been very few times that the use of 9.9 instead of a rating of 10 has ever been used because, “AJAC’s experienced voters understand that there is always room for improvement, especially in something as complex as a motor vehicle.”
This would then eliminate the possibility of “vote rigging” by journalists.
The letter continues, “If Mr. Banovsky had been an accredited journalist with access to information provided voters and/or had made the effort to use facts, he would know that a ’10′ score has nothing to do with being ‘best’ in class. It has only one meaning: ‘perfect.’ It has nothing to do with the ranking of vehicles, best to worst. Every individual rating is independent. If there are five vehicles in a class, for example, they could all be given exactly the same ratings for any or all parameters. In short, his comments are clearly based on an ignorance of the facts and we have requested that he retract them.”
In addition, AJAC asserts its long standing record, stating that, “The Canadian Car of the Year awards program is one of the most thorough and unbiased of its type in the world and has been acknowledged as such by many critical observers – not the least the auto manufacturers whose vehicles we evaluate, more than 60 experienced and respected journalists invited to do the judging and the international accounting firm of KPMG who are responsible for tabulation of the secret ballots . We go to great lengths to ensure its validity and credibility and take strong exception to any suggestion that the results are ‘fixed’. We are prepared to protect our reputation by whatever means necessary.”