Tuesday, December 18, 2007, posted by Auto Rider at 6:58 PM

Canada wants to get rid of old vehicles. To keep them out of Canada roads, the federal government will be introducing incentives. The investments are intended to lure vehicle owners to scrap old gas-guzzlers.

Environment Minister John Baird admitted it is a "huge challenge" to persuade Canadians to change their behavior to help combat climate change. But he said that the Conservative government is pursuing numerous options, including incentives for individuals who get rid of old and inefficient vehicles. "We will have an initiative in the coming weeks on that," he told the Economic Club of Toronto.

According to environmentalists, a 12-year-old vehicle produces 17 times more pollutants than one manufactured at the present time. A discussion paper released this summer outlines a number of possible incentives that could be offered, ranging from cash to free public transit passes to rebates on the purchase of new, fuel-efficient vehicles, reported Canada Autos.

The document states: "The incentive options offered through this new program will aim to accelerate the removal of older vehicles from the road and to encourage Canadians to consider sustainable transportation alternatives.”

It can be noted that a number of organizations are now offering vehicle-retirement programs countrywide. These programs include Scrap-it in Vancouver, Cash for Clunkers in Kelowna, B.C., Bye Bye Beaters in Winnipeg and Car Heaven.

Fatima Dharsee, Car Heaven's program manager, said that the government has consulted her organization as it develops its own plan. For the program to succeed, she said, it must include a range of rewards. "The right thing to do is to offer a suite of incentives, because there are families of four who want to participate and do the right thing, but for them, offering a transit pass that only works for one person won't fit their lifestyle," she said.

Scrap-it, Canada's first vehicle-retirement program, was established in Vancouver more than a decade ago. Through Scrap-it, drivers with cars built before 1993 are given $1,000 toward a new hybrid vehicle, $500 to buy a bicycle, a free transit pass for 18 months or other rewards. To qualify, individuals fill in an application and deliver their car to a designated recycling yard.

This year, the Conservatives have committed to cutting greenhouse gases by 20 per cent against current levels by 2020. However, they have been condemned by environmentalists for abandoning commitments made under the Kyoto protocol.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007, posted by Auto Rider at 8:46 PM

At a press conference of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) held at the Toronto Congress Center at the country’s capital, twelve vehicles from twelve “Car of the Year” categories were awarded as “Best New” for 2008.

Giving recognition to the vehicles is the AJAC’s means of giving Canadians honest comparative information about new vehicles debuting in the country’s auto market. To stand for this cause, the organization made the information about each vehicle that made it on the list in their website ready for consumer access. To come up with the vehicle’s data, AJAC conducted a series of evaluation for the 177 new vehicles which initially made it as entries. The four day vehicle tests were held last October 29-November 2, 2007 at the Niagara-on-the-lake in Ontario. This yearly vehicle assessment had been famed in the global auto industry as the “TestFest”.

For the data to be reliable reflecting real life consumer driving experiences, the TestFest’s evaluation program includes the typical driving at public roads. At the site, 70 Journalists get to pick their bet by means of driving the cars back to back themselves on the same roads, day and under the same weather conditions to avoid bias. Seventeen evaluation parameters are used that basically include driver position and ergonomics, engine smoothness, steering, handling, visibility and styling both in the exterior and interior of the vehicle. With these filtering program, winning vehicles are really the best in their kind.

2008 CCOTY Co-chairman Paul Williams commented, "In my opinion, the AJAC Canadian Car of the Year awards are founded on the most objective, informed and thorough evaluation process you'll find. The evaluations are based on back-to-back testing in real-world situations. They're a uniquely Canadian resource for people looking to buy a new vehicle".

The 2008 category winners are:

BEST NEW FAMILY CAR: Honda Accord EX Sedan
BEST NEW LUXURY CAR: Mercedes-Benz C Class
BEST NEW PRESTIGE CAR (over $75,000): Audi R8
BEST NEW MINIVAN: Hyundai Entourage
BEST NEW PICKUP TRUCK: Chevrolet Silverado
BEST NEW SUV/CUV under $35,000: Nissan Rogue
BEST NEW SUV/CUV $35,000 - $60,000: Saturn Vue
BEST NEW SUV/CUV over $60,000: Buick Enclave

Aside from the twelve “Best New” awards, AJAC also awarded the Audi R8 as the “Most Coveted Vehicle”. The AJAC started recognizing vehicles as the “Most Coveted Vehicle” in 2005 giving honor to a dream car. The vehicle, to be a winner must gain the interests of car enthusiasts enough for them to say that it’s the vehicle they would buy in case they win in a lottery.

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