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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.”
A recent report suggests the Canadian Car of the Year Awards may be fixed. CarChat Editor Michael Banovsky, citing an unnamed but trustworthy source, is reporting that members of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), were told of a way to skew the results of the annual Canadian Car of The Year awards.
The plan has allegedly been in place for years and involves discounting perfect scores. The way it works is that if a journalist feels a car is the best in one attribute, they can give it a score of 10, which will then be ignored. This stems from the idea that “no vehicle is perfect.” Apparently the rule has been in place for several years, but only this year were journalists told of the plan. It would then seem that not all journalists were “in” on the plan in years past.
The conspiracy does seem a bit much, but arguably the best evidence that such vote rigging has been going on is the fact that in 2008 AJAC awarded the Lexus IS-F the top spot in the Sports Performance category, despite it being up against (what we have to admit are obviously superior rivals), the BMW M3 and Nissan GT-R.
AutoGuide contacted AJAC for a comment but as of the posting of this story we have received no reply.
CarChat is also reporting that several journalists, not wanting to participate in the scheme, have decided to now rank “perfect” vehicles a 9.9 out of 10.
AJAC just recently released the list of nominees for Canadian Car of the Year and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the year, after 70 of Canada’s “elite” automotive journalists spent the week testing a long list of 156 vehicles at the organizations annual Test Fest event. The 12 class winners will now be submitted for the 2010 Canadian Car of the Year or the 2010 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year, which will be announced at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Ontario on February 11. The list of winners is included after the jump.