Montreal, Quebec – The Association pour la Protection des Automobilistes (Automobile Protection Association)(APA) has released its 2008 new-vehicle ratings today. The release coincides with the publication of Autos 2008, the annual car guide published jointly with French-language consumer magazine Protégez-Vous. The APA ratings are compiled with information from its new-vehicle testing program, and complaint assistance and referral services.

New vehicle sales in the first quarter of 2008 rebounded in January after automakers dropped Canadian prices on many models, and reduced interest rates for leasing and financing to close the gap with U.S. prices. American prices are still lower, said APA president George Iny, but for the vehicles under $30,000 that most consumers buy, the savings are usually not worth the effort of getting around the non-tariff barriers set up by many automakers.

The APA also noted that it cannot remember a time in recent memory when an entry-level European luxury model has been so affordable, such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4, which have dropped below the payment for a loaded Japanese mid-size sedan. It also mentioned that the shift to smaller vehicles is more apparent in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada: although Quebec is only about one-quarter of the Canadian car market, the province buys almost half of the highest-rated small cars, such as the Mazda3, Toyota Yaris and Honda Civic. This year, a record three Hyundai vehicles have earned the APA’s “Recommended” rating, partly due to an “extraordinary commitment to safety” with electronic stability control standard on its budget-priced Elantra and all of its more expensive vehicles.

The APA also commented on new regulations adopted in December which will make winter tires mandatory for all vehicles driven in Quebec from November 1 to March 31, beginning next fall. APA’s ratings are the only ones to show which vehicles have poor or no winter tire availability. APA believes the new requirement was introduced hastily and is poorly planned, giving the example that the 18- and 20-inch winter tires for the Mazda CX-7 and CX-9 are out of stock early in the season.

The report is available in English at

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