Daily Podcast: No Long Termers Need Apply

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

There is an argument to be made for car mags and websites accepting manufacturer-supplied long term test vehicles. But I'm not going to make it. If these consumer champions want insight into what it's like to live with a particular car on a day-to-day basis, they can either buy it their damn selves (like Consumer Reports) or ask one of the people who bought one. To my mind, freebie long-term test cars are evidence of collusion: a manufacturer's unspoken quid pro quo, just for being a friend of ours. There's no question that a week's access to a press car is one of the major perks of working as an automotive journalist– albeit a pleasure more-or-less denied TTAC scribes. (BTW: I'd like to see a writer convince an I.R.S. auditor that driving their family around in a long term test car is not a taxable perk.) But it's high time for Road and Track, Car and Driver, AutoWeek, Edmunds Inside Line and the rest to Just Say No to free long term test cars (a.k.a. "our fleet"). Their readers deserve a higher standard of journalism. As for those who claim our policies are self-serving sour grapes, I assure you that as long as I'm the publisher, TTAC will not be bought by any manufacturer, at any price.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Dave M. Dave M. on Aug 16, 2008

    I for one was under the impression that Edmunds bought their own cars. Regardless of the source, I enjoy reading different perspectives of a car's design, drivability, ergonomics, etc. I've always felt TTAC (and CR for that matter....) have had impeachable credentials for unbiasness. And while CR has worked decades to attain and maintain that reputation, it is quite remarkable that TTAC has attained that rep in such a short time. It is obviously a labor of love for you Robert. I'm also keeping a close eye on Karesh, because his site has really jacked up their game, and again, obviously a labor of love. I remember the old days when he would get flamed when he offered/asked people to join his database.... Anyway, keep up the great work.....

  • John Horner John Horner on Aug 16, 2008

    Robert: "But the idea that Car and Driver et al. are exempt from ethical standards because they’re in the entertainment business is nuts." I didn't say they were exempt from ethical standards. I was, however, taking exception to the characterization of the magazines as "consumer champions". A for-profit consumer champion seems oxy-moronic to me, but perhaps I am simply too cynical. But hey, I can't stand any of the formerly popular auto rags and haven't bought one in years :).

  • Hwyhobo Hwyhobo on Aug 16, 2008

    John Horner wrote: A for-profit consumer champion seems oxy-moronic to me, but perhaps I am simply too cynical. 1. Why? 2. People who work for non-profits (like CR) get paid, too. Every employee is "for profit".

  • Sanman111 Sanman111 on Aug 17, 2008

    Honestly, I find long term freebies extremely pointless because it takes out important elements of the ownership experience. Once my car gets extensive checks prior to delivery and preferential treatment at the dealership if anything goes wrong, I'll start buying into them. At least with long-term testers bought by the mag, you have an idea of true cost of ownership.