• Popular auto poll announce new features for 2015

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    Sunshine Television (STV) will again launch its annual awards program to determine the Philippines’ most popular automobile brands and models. The Auto Focus People’s Choice Awards (AFPCA) has been the country’s only award system for the automotive industry that determines the winning models based on a unique selection process that combines on-line public votes and unit sales. Now on its 11th year, the AFPCA will soon get underway and will introduce key changes in the overall selection criteria.

    Specifically on tap for this year are: first, an upgraded weight ratio for unit sales versus public votes that will favor the latter; and secondly, a longer poll period that will allow voters the opportunity to maximize their participation.

    Back in 2012, unit sales became a factor in the overall AFPCA selection process. This involved an equation that assigned specific weight ratios to sales (60%) and public votes (40%) in calculating a particular car model’s overall score and standing in the tally for the various Model of the Year categories and for the Automobile of the Year titles. This year, the weight ratios will put emphasis on public votes via an 80% weight ratio versus 20% for unit sales.

    “Over the past three years, the AFPCA has had a passive and an active element. Monthly sales data from January onwards as provided by Stradcom comprised the passive side of the equation. It was quite straight forward with official coordination between the Land Transportation Office, Stradcom and STV providing a somewhat ready-made data bank from which unit sales figures were derived. The public poll via online or off-site voting constituted the active element of the AFPCA. This required pre-registration and hands-on participation on the part of voters — a personal and direct manner ofX involvement and expression of choice.” Ray Butch Gamboa, STV chairman and CEO pointed out. “With the 80% weight on public votes, we are highlighting the “People’s Choice” essence of the awards and recognizing the special effort that public votes entail. Also, we mustn’t overlook the apparent aspirational side to voting trends we’ve noted in various model classifications over the past AFPCA editions. Votes don’t necessarily mirror actual sales, particularly with pricier but more desired models, and that’s where cars of this type fall at a disadvantage when sales volumes get factored in. This year’s weight ratios should balance out total scores more equitably. It’ll likewise make the public happier to know their votes now have more punch.”

    This year, the AFPCA public poll will roll out to an earlier start on April 1. With voting pegged to culminate on the usual September 30, the regular closing date, the voting period will now stretch out to a full 6 months. The on-line poll will be again be hosted on a dedicated AFPCA page on a popular social networking site. After a simple procedure of “Liking” the page and registration, the voter will be prompted and guided through a convenient process of selecting individual models in the designated categories, and from these, choosing a particular model as the “Automobile of the Year” pick. A simpler option to directly select an “Automobile of the Year” will also be introduced. A candidate automobile voted via this option will also reflect a similar vote tally in its specific “Model of the Year” classification. Within seconds, any submitted vote will appear on the Results Page which will rank Total Scores accordingly. This tally can also be publicly viewed on the AFPCA web-site at www.autofocus.com.ph . As in the previous year, online or off-site voters may vote once a day.

    As STV’s Gamboa explained: “Extension of the voting period from three to six months will serve several purposes. One, opportunity for participation or voting is maximized. Two, there is more time to generate and build-up public interest especially in the later months of the poll when the tallies and standings begin showing more evident trends, and nip-and-tuck contests spur followers to heighten their support for their favorite models. Last but not least, and again this has to do with balancing the scoring equation, we create more equity between unit sales and public votes. Unit sales figures cover January to September of the given year. That’s 9 months worth of sales for each model as opposed to only 3 months worth of votes in the past. The “People’s Choice” essence of the AFPCA again has to be bolstered, and the extended 6-month poll period will adequately close the gap.”

    The model list-up for the 2015-2016 AFPCA is nearing finalization. Up for grabs are “2015-2016 Auto Focus Model of the Year” awards in such mainstream categories as: Sub-compact, mid-size & large sedans; sports/performance cars; multi-purpose vehicles (MPV’s); pick-ups; vans; compact, mid-size & large sports utility vehicles (SUV’s) and an Open category for models that cannot be classified in the preceding classes. The introduction of a new “Hatchback” is currently being mulled. There will be separate “Luxury” classifications in model categories with significantly distinct pricing scales. From these categories, which will feature some 140 base models, will emerge the popular pick for the coveted “2015-2016 Auto Focus Automobile of the Year” prize in separate Standard and Luxury classifications.

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