AutoPacific and IntelliChoice.com Announce 2008 Motorist Choice Awards

Toyota Sequoia Takes Top Spot in 2008 Motorist Choice Awards

CAMPBELL, Calif. & TUSTIN, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SOURCE INTERLINK MEDIA's (NYSE:SORC) IntelliChoice.com, the online source for automotive ownership cost and value analysis, and AutoPacific, the industry source for owner satisfaction rankings, today announced the results of their third annual Motorist Choice Awards for model year 2008. With better than expected insurance costs, the Toyota Sequoia scored highest of any vehicle, a position bolstered by its standing as best in ownership costs and best in retained value. Most surprisingly, this year's list of winners does not include vehicles from Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge or Mini Cooper.

There were some relatively new winners garnering top spots including the Nissan Rogue and the Honda Fit, and although the list is fairly diverse among manufacturers, Toyota (10 awards including Lexus), and General Motors (nine awards), thanks to brands such as Cadillac, Chevrolet and Saturn, dominated.

The Motorist Choice Awards were designed by AutoPacific and IntelliChoice.com to recognize the vehicles that delivered both the highest customer satisfaction and the lowest cost of ownership. The awards take AutoPacific's owner satisfaction data from new car and truck buyers and combine those data with IntelliChoice.com's rating methodology to create a new kind of award that speaks to both the hearts and wallets of car buyers.

"Several winners this year are relatively new, such as the Nissan Rogue, Honda Fit, GMC Acadia and Saturn Sky, while others are a surprise, such as the Large Light Duty Pickup and Compact Pickup winners, the Chevy Avalanche and Honda Ridgeline. The surprise is that neither of these are what would be considered 'regular' trucks and therefore show their value to their owners," said James Bell, publisher and editor of IntelliChoice.com. The absence of Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge vehicles is regrettable and parallels their current sales situation. None of the vehicles from these brands rated particularly well within either AutoPacific's or IntelliChoice.com's individual analysis."

"Due to the economy and fuel costs, more and more people who want a larger vehicle are focusing on Crossover SUVs rather than traditional SUVs or gas-guzzlers. We added two new Crossover segments highlighting this growing class of vehicle," said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. "In fact, in our Large Crossover SUV segment, every vehicle is an all new release within the last 24 months. The contenders for both new Crossover SUV segments are two of the closest categories."

Cars: Lexus LS
Trucks: Chevrolet Avalanche
SUV/Crossover SUV: Toyota Sequoia (top overall winner)
Minivans: Toyota Sienna

Bell added that any vehicle scoring 700 or higher in the Motorist Choice Awards can be considered in the top tier of highly desirable new cars or trucks. "There were 44 outstanding vehicles scoring 700 or better. Last year, only 25 vehicles scored above that standard, which certainly speaks to the quality of vehicles being produced today. Some vehicles scored very well, but didn't make the winner's list due to other even higher-scoring vehicles in their segment. The Premium Luxury SUV segment is a perfect example, as there are ten vehicles in that segment and nine of them scored 700 or higher. In fact, the Cadillac Escalade topped the Lexus GX by just four points."

The complete list of 2008 Motorist Choice Award winners includes:

SEGMENT
WINNER
Aspirational Luxury Car
Compact Car
Compact Pickup
Compact SUV/Crossover SUV
Economy Car
Image Compact Car
Large Heavy Duty Pickup
Large Light Duty Pickup
Large SUV
Large Crossover SUV
Large/Luxury Car
Luxury Mid-Size Car
Luxury Crossover SUV
Mid-Size Car
Mid-Size SUV
Mid-Size Crossover SUV
Minivan
Premium Luxury Crossover SUV
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV
Premium Luxury Car
Premium Luxury SUV
Premium Mid-Size Car
Premium Mid-Size SUV
Premium Sports Car
Sports Car
Sporty Car
Lexus IS
Toyota Corolla
Honda Ridgeline
Nissan Rogue
Honda Fit
Volkswagen GTI
Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500
Chevrolet Avalanche
Toyota Sequoia
GMC Acadia
Cadillac DTS
Lexus ES
Lexus RX
Subaru Outback
HUMMER H3
Toyota RAV4
Toyota Sienna
BMW X5
Toyota Highlander
Lexus LS
Cadillac Escalade
Chevrolet Impala
Toyota 4Runner
Audi TT and Chevrolet Corvette (tie)
Saturn Sky
Ford Mustang

METHODOLOGY

The Motorist Choice Awards were calculated by combining IntelliChoice.com cost of ownership data with AutoPacific's customer satisfaction survey data.

AutoPacific surveys 45 different vehicle ownership attributes and, of these, 38 product-focused attributes are used. Each of the product attributes generates a score between 5 and 25, allowing a maximum possible score of 950, which is then normalized to 1000. The actual scores range from 490 to 785.

The remaining seven attributes focus on cost of ownership and are addressed by IntelliChoice.com. These attributes include Depreciation, Financing, Fuel, Insurance, Maintenance, Repairs, and State Fees. IntelliChoice.com rates vehicles based on a vehicle's total ownership cost against the vehicle's total expected cost.

To merge the IntelliChoice.com data with the AutoPacific rating system, IntelliChoice.com ranked each model within the 25 different segments. Through a conversion formula, the best model in the IntelliChoice.com analysis received the equivalent score as the best model in the AutoPacific analysis, and the worst model received the equivalent score as the worst model in the AutoPacific analysis. This conversion was done for each segment of vehicle.

The AutoPacific score was then combined with the converted IntelliChoice.com score. This was accomplished by creating a weighting for each segment based on the AutoPacific importance scores from the 45 attributes. The average importance score from the product attributes were weighted against the average importance score from the ownership cost attributes. The AutoPacific and IntelliChoice.com scores were combined through multiplying the AutoPacific Score by the product attributes weighting and the IntelliChoice.com score by the ownership cost attributes weighting, and then adding the two scores together.

About IntelliChoice.com


Part of PRIMEDIA's Enthusiast Media, IntelliChoice is the market leader in automotive ownership cost and value analysis. Founded in 1986, IntelliChoice is committed to empowering consumers to make better purchase decisions by providing independent and essential automotive information and tools. Through the IntelliChoice web site (www.intellichoice.com), consumers get the help they need to research, compare, configure and price vehicles. The site also connects buyers to the buying alternatives of their choice, including vehicle manufacturers and an online car buying guide. 

About AutoPacific


AutoPacific is a future-oriented automotive marketing research and product-consulting firm. Every year AutoPacific publishes a wide variety of syndicated studies on the automotive industry. The firm also conducts extensive proprietary research and consulting for auto manufacturers, distributors, marketers and suppliers worldwide. Company headquarters and its state-of-the-art automotive research facility are in Tustin, California, with an affiliate office in the Detroit area. Additional information can be found on AutoPacific's websites:  http://www.autopacific.com and http://blog.vehiclevoice.com.


For information on AutoPacific 2008 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, click here.

For information on AutoPacific 2008 Ideal Vehicle Awards, click here.



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