Eight 2002 Canadian Car of the Year Award category winners were announced today by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) at an awards ceremony held at the Holiday Inn Select Airport in Toronto, Ont. AJAC’s Gerry Malloy, president of the Canadian Car of the Year Awards, explained that, “Canadian consumers want to know which vehicles are the “Best New” for 2002. Based on survey results of past winners, almost half (44.5%) identified the award(s) as an influence on their purchase decision. This year’s winners represent the best among an excellent group of new cars and trucks for 2002, as selected by a professional group of automotive experts who test drive, and report on, new vehicles in various media. Unlike American or European car awards, the Canadian program follows a sophisticated voting process based on back-to-back, real-world testing. The vote and test results are made available to the consumer to help him or her make an informed decision when buying a new car. The winners are: Best New Economy Car: Mazda Protg ES Best New Family Car: Nissan Altima Best New Prestige Car: BMW M3 Best New Sports Coupe / Sedan: Acura RSX Best New Station Wagon: Mercedes-Benz C320 Wagon Best New Minivan: Honda Odyssey Best New Sport Utility Vehicle: Jeep Liberty Best New Pick-up Truck: Chevrolet Avalanche The overall Canadian Car and Truck of the Year will be announced on February 13th, 2002 in conjunction with the official opening of the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto. The Best New Design and Best New Technology winners will also be declared at that time.