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CONSUMERS CHOOSE BUICK LESABRE AND TOYOTA CAMRY AS 1992 FAMILY CIRCLE 'FAMILY CAR OF THE YEAR' AWARD WINNERS

 CONSUMERS CHOOSE BUICK LESABRE AND TOYOTA CAMRY
 AS 1992 FAMILY CIRCLE 'FAMILY CAR OF THE YEAR' AWARD WINNERS
 NEW YORK, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Which 1992 model year domestic automobile best met the needs and standards of the American woman and her family? Which import car was rated number one? What effect did the economic climate have on potential new car buyers' decisions? What were the most popular options families would pay extra for on a new car?
 These questions are answered in the Nov. 3 issue of Family Circle (on sale Oct. 13) with the results of a major independent national survey of American car-buying families and the selection of the cars they judged best.
 The Family Circle 'Family Car of the Year' winners are:
 -- Buick LeSabre -- Domestic Category
 -- Toyota Camry -- Import Category
 Valerie Salembier, publisher of Family Circle, stated: "Family Circle is the only consumer magazine to sponsor an automobile awards program based entirely on the opinions of new-car-buying families across the country. We established the 'Family Car of the Year' award program five years ago to guide consumers by objectively reporting which vehicles proved most satisfactory on many categories important to families buying new cars."
 Survey Results
 Results showed that drivers ranked dependability/reliability as the number one reason to buy the Buick LeSabre. Six in 10 LeSabre owners expressed complete satisfaction with their car. When asked to evaluate the LeSabre as a family car, nearly three-fourths said they were completely satisfied.
 Rankings in the import category were similar, with dependability/reliability being cited as the most important consideration in buying the Toyota Camry. More than three-quarters of Camry owners were completely satisfied with their vehicle's overall performance. When asked to rate the Camry as a family car, three out of four owners, once again, said that they were completely satisfied.
 Both Buick LeSabre and Toyota Camry were ranked number one by the families surveyed in seven out of the eight criteria of judgment.
 The survey also noted that the economic climate had minimal effect on car purchases decisions. Less than three-in-10 respondents indicated that the current economy forced them to reduce their spending or delay their purchase. In fact, up to 40 percent of the respondents indicated it had "absolutely no effect." Safety features -- specifically air bags (66 percent) and antilock brakes (53 percent) -- topped the list of items for which buyers would pay extra.
 Method of Selection
 In determining the winners of the 'Family Car of the Year' award, the survey relied on the evaluations of new car owners using criteria that previous Family Circle automotive research had shown was most important in the selection of family vehicles. Those eight criteria included: performance and handling, safety, dependability/reliability, appearance and styling, space and comfort, satisfaction with dealer, value for the money and suitability for intended uses.
 A two-stage process was used in selecting the winners: first, 10 finalists were determined by identifying the five domestic and five import 1992 models/makes which had the highest unit sales volume from Oct. to Dec. 1991 to households with children under 18. R.L. Polk (one of the most widely-known and accepted sampling sources for automotive industry research) then matched vehicle registrations lists for that quarter to a comprehensive list of household characteristic data it had compiled. After the elimination of all cars not intended for "family use" (i.e., two-seaters, trucks, etc.), as well as vehicles that are not being produced in 1993, the finalists, in alphabetical order, were: Domestic: Buick LeSabre, Chevrolet Cavalier, Dodge Caravan, Jeep Cherokee and Plymouth Voyager; and Import: Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Camry and Toyota Corolla.
 Questionnaires were mailed to more than 17,500 recent purchasers of these 10 cars. For consumer respondents to have qualified, they must have had at least one child under 18 at home and they must have owned their vehicles for six months. This process allowed enough time to judge overall satisfaction adequately, including rating of manufacturers' warranties and assessment of dealership personnel. Survey results from nearly 4,000 qualified respondents were tabulated.
 Respondent's answers were assessed by the Family Circle Satisfaction Index, which measures the qualities considered most important by family car buyers when making a purchase choice and how the vehicle actually performed in these areas.
 -0- 10/13/92
 /CONTACT: June Golden of Family Circle, 212-463-1063, or Ira H. Silverman or Sharon Holle, both of Silverman, Warren/Kremer, Inc., 212-686-5983, for Family Circle/ CO: Family Circle ST: New York IN: AUT SU:


TM -- NY007 -- 9197 10/13/92 10:02 EDT
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Date:Oct 13, 1992
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