Our friends at Jalopnik have an interesting history on the Renault Twingo, a car that is about to celebrate its 20th birthday, and has arguably entered the “small car hall of fame” alongside cars like the Mini and the Volkswagen Golf. You can read about its origins as a Polish people’s car and see how its strayed further and further away from the ideal. The next Twingo is slated to share a platform with the upcoming Smart Fortwo replacement, and that means a rear-engine, rear drive layout.
In a rather terse and self-consciously matter-of-fact column released earlier today, Jalopnik’s Matt Hardigree drew a line in the sand: the website will not honor any product embargoes not related to new-car drive events and opportunities. He’s careful to point out that it’s business advantages, not ethical considerations, underlying the change in policy.
When the Detroit News decided to make a click-tastic slideshow of The 50 Most Beautiful WAGS In Sports, the blogosphere responded with some WAGging of its own — mostly of tongues. Nearly everybody agreed that there was something deeply saddening and pathetic about the fact that a semi-respected Old News bastion is now using Google Image Search and one-click-per-picture tactics to puff up the numbers. Some of the strongest criticism, however, came from a most unlikely source.
16 Fisker Karmas waiting at a New Jersey port caught fire, with all 16 cars burning to the ground.
One of the many victims of Sandy: Jalopnik. Along with the other servers of the Gawker network, Jalopnik joined the fate of some ten thousand websites served by 150 data centers on the East Coast that were drowned out by the ferocious storm. Even after going down, the site’s problems did not end. (Read More…)
Summer is always a slow time in the industry, so what better way to boost traffic than to manufacture a controversy out of thin air about a “third rail” topic like electric cars?
I’m not afraid to admit I’m wrong (though I tend to be right nearly every single time without fail. So there.). When I saw that Mazda had asked Jalopnik readers for their thoughts on the next MX-5, I oscillated between sheer terror (at the prospect of reading a bunch of keyboard jockeys telling engineers how to do their jobs, i.e. every press launch) and total Schadenfreude.
The next MX-5 is more than likely “locked in” past the point of no return. Styling, engineering and powertrains are all but locked in, and not a damn thing can be done to change them, even though the next MX-5 will have to be tweaked a bit to become an Alfa Romeo. That’s a shame. Mazda might be wise to listen to some of the suggestions put up by Jalopnik’s readers.
A shake-up at Jalopnik means the most heated rivalry since Senna Vs. Prost (ok, maybe Piquet vs. Reutmann, with TTAC playing the part of the suave, petulant Brazilian) will change forever. Hopefully for the better. Or, as Jalop would put it, THIS IS OUR NEW EDITOR IN CHIEF.
If you saw the video above on Autoblog, accompanied by some tired prose suggesting that you summon some enthusiasm for this, the latest automotive promotion, would you think twice? You might if you knew the person who posted the story, and knew they were being paid to promote said promotion. But how does one actually get an inside look at the gritty world of automotive PR payola? How do you break through the great wall of… what’s that, Jalopnik?
Today, Autoblog writer Jeff Glucker wrote about Nissan’s Britney Spears contest. Trouble is, he’s working for the agency that’s running it.
Earlier this week, [then-Autoblog Associate Editor Jeff] Glucker sent out an e-mail solicitation to several of his contacts in the automotive website world, asking for help promoting a new campaign for the Nissan Versa:
I am working with third-party agency that’s assisting Nissan with a new campaign for the Versa. No, I didn’t lose my job or anything – this is just some side contracting work so I can buy a second iPad or golden shift-knob for my car.
Oh right, you just have to open your eyes.
I know, the sniping at Jalopnik is getting old, and I’m sure this article will receive a lot of complaints. But this is The Truth About Cars, and the truth must be told. Banking on the limited attention span of its readers, Gawker’s outlet for things remotely related to cars headlined yesterday: “European Union wants to ban gas, diesel cars by 2050.” A headline like that is sure to produce clicks. Too bad, clicking readers are being had.
Just for this occasion, we break the TTAC rule of not copypasting whole articles. Here is the Jalopnik article in full length:
“The European Union’s transport chief wants to ban diesel or gas-burning vehicles in cities by 2050, mainly through higher taxes and new rules. Maybe now’s the time to start broadening those U.S. import rules…”
That’s it. No more. Where’s the beef the Jalopies have with the brutal transport chief?
The site that just a few days ago did pride itself of its investigative journalism skills, not only fornicated the puppy on this one, it also missed out on the juicy stuff. (Read More…)
Welcome to amateur hour. As reported yesterday, The Wall Street Journal claimed in a story that Toyota’s “data recorders can lose their information if disconnected from the car’s battery or if the battery dies—as could happen after a crash.” Their source was “a person familiar with the situation.” Commentator Carquestions concluded that the source doesn’t know what he or she is talking about. After we wrote about it, Carquestions fingered the not so knowledgeable source as “a secretary within Media Relations at the DOT.”
Instead of talking to a secretary, the WSJ could have done what we did: Call Toyota headquarters in Tokyo. (Read More…)
The media and “celebrities” are making hay over the Toyota recall issue, desperate to find evidence of electronic and software gremlins. We’re adamant in stating that Toyota needs to change their software to give braking priority over a stuck pedal, and to replace the pedals, of course. And there may well be genuine software or electronic glitches out there, but we’d like to see solid evidence of them. Instead, we’re stuck listening to Steve Wozniak’s experience with a faulty cruise control on his Prius. It’s being spun as an example of Toyota’s electronics gremlins, creating confusion and scare-mongering. As if there wasn’t enough of that already. (Read More…)
Blogging, like most human pursuits, is perennially torn between two competing impulses: getting paid and keeping it real. On the internet, where the basest pandering tends to yield the most bounteous rewards in traffic (if not discourse), the temptation to lose focus in search of new traffic is ever present. In a striking piece entitled “The Awesomeness Manifesto,” Jalopnik Editor-in-Chief Ray Wert admits that over the past year (or so) he and his website have strayed too far from the path of realness. The impetus for the decline in standards: pressure from Gawker bosses, and what he paints as a year of post-carpocalyptic malaise.
A year ago this month, I caved. I did what I was told, dampening our smart and snarky voice. I moved Murilee from daily to weekend duty and let go of many new names. Instead of looking forward while remembering the past, I forced my overworked and undersupported team to stumble blindly across the post-Carpocalypse automotive desert. We chased the same carrot as Autoblog, Motor Trend, and the rest, pursuing what we were told was the “growth segment” of the automotive universe — general consumers and non-enthusiasts…. we were hungry for cheap traffic, and we gorged, competing over meaningless press releases and page-view-whoring galleries because there was nothing else on the table. And dammit, we were good at it.
The good news is that Wert says he’s sorry. Jalopnik, he says, will once again focus on “a new breed of enthusiast… waiting to be freed from the shackles of a crossover culture.” The not-so-good news?
John Heinricy (Cadillac test driver)- Cadillac CTS-V: Top Lap: 2:46:560
Aaron Link (Cadillac development engineer)- Cadillac CTS-V: Top Lap: 2:48:902
Brian Redman- CTS-V: Top Lap: 2:49:596
Michael Cooper (Who is this guy?)- BMW M3: Top Lap: 2:50:424
Jack Baruth- Cadillac CTS-V (TTAC): Top Lap: 2:51:153
Lawrence Ulrich- CTS-V (New York Times): Top Lap: 2:53:157
Bob Lutz- Cadillac CTS-V (VP of Marketing, GM): Top Lap: 2:56:321
Michael Mainwald (carguydad.com)- BMW M5: Top Lap: 3:05:398
Wes Siler- Mitsubishi Evo X (Jalopnik): Top Lap: 3:08:126
Chris Fairman- CTS-V: Top Lap: 3:14:292
Archan Basu- Jaguar XF: Top Lap: 3:15:670
Tom Loder- Audi RS4: Top Lap: 3:15:702
It’s official: TTAC’s top driver has beaten Bob Lutz! Check back tomorrow for Jack’s on-the-ground take on the weirdness that was.