If you want to truly understand how the sausage of “automotive journalism” is made, there are two articles that you absolutely must read. The first is fun: it’s by Neal Pollack and it talks about the outrageous excesses of Mercedes PR’s “Pied Piper.” The second is long and occasionally tedious: it’s called “Taking Readers For A Ride” and it was written for American Journalism Review by a fellow named Frank Greve with material assistance from … yours truly.
Most people know by now that the majority of new-car press introductions are absurdly sybaritic affairs, featuring five-star hotels, unlimited room service, outrageous gifts, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Why does Subaru have to introduce the XV Crosstrek in Iceland? The simple answer is that they didn’t … but they knew that the broke-ass journalists who used the trip as a vacation (and, in at least one case, a hookup) would treasure the trip for the rest of their lives.
This sort of thing distorts autowriting to a degree that is borderline insane. But if you listen to the PR people and their apologists in the media, they will tell you that there is just no other way to do it. Wrong answer. It’s possible to do a press intro on the cheap — and it’s also possible to make that intro the best one of all time.
Earlier this week, we celebrated the new year by looking at a couple cars that are eligible for private import under the NHTSA’s “25 Year Rule” and I figured there were many more possibilities out there warranting a mention. Some of these have become eligible over the last couple years, where some won’t be ready for a year or so.
I’m sure I’ll miss some, either via simple forgetfulness or willful ignorance. (I doubt there are many people chopping at the bit to import a Zastava Florida.)
Newly promoted, high-priced executives at Mazda seem to think there’s something to this crossover fad.
That, Hyundai’s landed a Benjamin Button to lead Genesis and I wish I would have known how cheap I could have purchased an F1 team … after the break.
This week on the TTAC forum, we’ve had a few interesting rides on the Classic and Collector subsection. Not just the stuff I’ve posted, either, as our own Ronnie Schreiber posted a very cool vintage truck he had photographed.
This weekly feature isn’t just for TTAC writers, either. I’d love nothing more than to wake up on Friday and not write about a single car that I’d posted. Please, post links to cars you’ve found as you search the web, and I’ll give a shoutout to the best.
This week, we have Ronnie’s Corvair, a Jeep, a K-Car, an Eighties-vintage Alfa, a cheap Ferrari, and a Lotus.
*Unless it isn’t.
According to Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales, the next-generation lightweight Lotus two-seater sports car has a future in the United States around 2020 — that is, if Lotus is still around then.
The chief executive spoke to Automotive News and said the Elise could be adapted to the U.S. market’s famously fussy safety regulations, which eventually killed the current-generation Elise in 2011 in the States.
This isn’t the first time Lotus has teased us. Remember the Esprit (pictured above) that was definitely going to be a thing? Yeah, um, I guess that one is still in the mail, huh?
After a brief hiatus in 2014, Lotus Cars USA is back in the game for 2015, including a move to the Detroit metro area.
My 25-plus years as a Big Time Auto Industry Executive afforded me many memorable moments. It would be difficult to single out one example, but I may be the only person on earth who has shaken hands with both Soichiro Honda and Derek Kreindler.
As for the low point of my career, there is no contest: the morning of May 7, 1998, four months after I joined Mercedes-Benz Credit Corporation. That was the day it was announced Daimler-Benz had merged with the Chrysler Corporation.
As rumors swirl about the eventual release of the BMW M3 Touring, Theophilus Chin has put a couple of renders together of Bavaria’s hot D-pillared automobile.
Here’s what happened overnight (and stories we’ve missed over the last few days).
The ATS-V+ rumored by Motor Trend is definitely not happening according to Cadillac spokesperson David Caldwell. The proposed new model would encroach too much into CTS-V territory for comfort.
Here’s what happened overnight.