By on November 9, 2008

Whether or not you like to read car magazines on the throne, it looks like the only paper with a future is rolled up beside the bog. Starting with the January 5, 2009 issue, AutoWeek will switch from a weekly to a biweekly magazine. According to the pub’s press release, less is more. “This change gives us the opportunity to grow as a brand,” opines brave-faced publisher Keith Crain, “and increase our reach to enthusiast consumers, making AutoWeek much more than just a weekly.” (Or, in fact, less.) Needless to say, AutoWeek will not become AutoBiWeek (although one wonders if that name might open-up new profit opportunities). “Modifying the frequency of the magazine’s distribution allows us to focus on more comprehensive editorial features and vehicle reviews. We look forward to providing lengthier and more comprehensive pimpatorials, although our paper quality will go down the toilet. So to speak.” I just made the last two sentences up, obviously. But not this: “I’m thrilled to be able to make a great brand better,” said AutoWeekEditor and Associate Publisher, Dutch Mandel. “The changes demonstrate our commitment to evolve in an ever-changing world. Our readers now demand news the moment it happens, which we provide to them at autoweek.com. These changes will allow us to deliver more in-depth coverage in our products. Our readers will be excited and pleased.” In fact, they already have a new strapline with which they can take delight. “AutoWeek is America’s only fortnightly automotive enthusiast consumer magazine.”

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25 Comments on “AutoWeek Becomes Bi-Weekly But Still Calls Itself Autoweek...”


  • avatar

    “AutoWeek is America’s only fortnightly automotive enthusiast consumer magazine.” They actually said that. I wouldn’t believe it, went to the source and checked. It’s there. Fortnightly. Rumors that the publishing company has fallen into British hands are being denied. And there I always thought the average American automotive enthusiast spells fortnightly with an a.

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    I dont demand news the moment it happens. But if I do I come to TTAC. But if I did, giving it to me another week later is What I want? Sheesh, this guy should be a politician.

  • avatar
    truthbetold37

    Is this Eric Bloom of “Needs more cowbell” Blue Oyster Cult?

  • avatar
    Stu Sidoti

    Be-all print magazines like Autoweek will not survive much longer, the Web is simply to fast and too vast for a be-all print mag to compete with.

    The automotive print magazines that will survive and thrive in the near future are those that provide either A: such a specific subject-matter that the Web does not cover well-YET and/or B: provide such a high-quality of production, printing, tactile experience and writing brilliance that people will readily buy them for what might be viewed as a collector’s experience-‘The Rodder’s Journal’ comes to mind. I could find nearly every piece of information that their quarterly magazine provides long before it rolls off the presses, but they create such a well-done example of what a magazine could be, I happily read it.

  • avatar
    jademat

    Clearly, this is “spin” with a capital “S”. THey have to be dying in the magazine market as the Internet news continues to crush the print mags.
    I subscribed to Autoweek for about 15 years – just letting go this past July. A weekly auto mag made sense in the pre- and early-internet days. They provided a regular source of news and reviews on the auto market and the best weekly US source of news on all types of racing. Plus – their classifieds are always interesting. But, as the years passed along, I found more and better information (and earlier) information elsewhere on the web. It finally hit me this past spring that I was skimming AW in about an hour – and there was almost nothing in it that I had not read or heard elsewhere in more detail. So, I did not renew.

    Interesting irony – after failing to renew, I have continued to receive issues all the way through October. That has got to be costing them money.

    Theirs is a business model that won’t work these days.

    They have had (and do have) some good writers, though. Mark Vaughn comes to mind among the current crop. Sign him up for TTAC when AW folds.

  • avatar
    Bozoer Rebbe

    I’ve read Autoweek since before they fired Satch Carlson over felony charges by an aggressive DA for Satch having sex with a 17 year old high school student at the school where he taught (charges were eventually dropped and word is that she was a rather high mileage 17 y/o). The magazine has always been a fun read and had great classifieds.

    Keith Crain and Dutch Mandel are charter members of the lucky sperm club, running businesses they pretty much inherited from their fathers. Observing them at the auto show media previews, they act like they’re some kind of automotive royalty, expecting and receiving special treatment from the automakers. Even if Autoweek folds, I’m sure that Mandel will remain comfortably ensconced in Grosse Pointe.

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Actually, continuing to send you the magazine makes them money. A magazine’s ad rates are based on its circulation, and if they can artificially inflate circ by continuing to send copies to dead, missing, former and mythical subscribers, that’s to their advantage. The cost of printing and mailing the copy they send you is minuscule.

    In fact there are supposedly Magazine Publishing Association regulations outlining exactly how long they can continue to send copies, though I have no idea whether they’re honored, since they’re voluntary.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    A while back I let my subscription to AutoWeek lapse because the publication wasn’t all that interesting. Call it Crain’s disease — the remarkable ability to drain the life out of a fascinating topic.

    I view Automotive News similarly, but in that instance what’s the alternative? The blogs are getting there, but they still rely pretty heavily on links rather than doing much primary reporting.

    Perhaps tree-based media are a dying breed, but in AutoWeek’s case an additional problem is that Crain may be better suited to producing industry journals rather than an enthusiast’s newsmagazine, which requires more color, depth and editorial cheekiness. Another problem is that Crain’s management structure has a dynastic quality, e.g., the Mandel family’s long-standing domination of AutoWeek leadership. Not to suggest that Dutch is a bad editor, but I don’t think the publication has improved all that much either.

    One caveat to the above: Perhaps Crain’s biggest latent resource is the staff of its European Automotive News edition. When those folks are given some latitude they do more interesting reporting than their American counterparts. In other words, the European edition doesn’t read quite as much like an assemblage of press releases.

    Perhaps Crain needs to do with its automotive publications what Ford is planning to do with its American passenger cars — import the Europeans!

  • avatar
    Bozoer Rebbe

    I know that Crain publications, including Automotive News and AutoWeek are perceived as cheerleaders for the domestic auto industry, but like most in the news business, their writers are not exactly pro Detroit or pro car for the matter.

    I once had a chat with Alyssa Webb, who was the Beijing bureau chief for Automotive News and editor of their Automotive News China edition. She now works out of their LA office. She told me that she hates cars, she hates the car business and only works the automotive news beat because it was an opportunity to write about business, her main interest.

    A political lefty (she said that Israel was a “terrorist state”), I’m sure she was comfortable living in the People’s Republic.

  • avatar
    Adub

    I let my subscription lapse this summer when I realized they no longer provided real news, just press release fluff that you don’t need a reporter for. Content is not even decent quality, and the bj they give every car is a joke. Seriously, the Caravan as a great vehicle?

    Their editorial bent is also a joke: every issue is “save the children” and now they have a vegetarian telling us to give up meat to drive a car with a CO2 clean conscience.

    They wanted me to renew for $30. I just got an offer for $20 which I considered…until I read this.

  • avatar
    jademat

    Actually, continuing to send you the magazine makes them money. A magazine’s ad rates are based on its circulation, and if they can artificially inflate circ by continuing to send copies to dead, missing, former and mythical subscribers, that’s to their advantage. The cost of printing and mailing the copy they send you is minuscule.

    I didn’t realize that. That’s great – because I feel that it is actually worth what I am paying now.

    I love the comment om Rebbe about Dutch Mandel and Keith Crain. I have had a small sense of that attitude, but could not quite put my finger on it…..

  • avatar

    Actually, I just met a guy who does Ad sales for a print journal and he tells of absolute disaster in today’s world where even Google reports ads going down.

    The days of him being able to sell a $10k page will take a long time to return, and will probably arrive in a fairly modified form.

    He also mentioned subject-matter experts going independent (online) of mags like his, as a Huge source of competition.

  • avatar
    factotum

    How many Americans know what a fortnight is?

    “more comprehensive editorial features and vehicle reviews.”

    Just what the world needs: more car reviews from a source that accepts auto manufacturer advertising

  • avatar
    Nickatnyt

    Gave up on Autoweek over a year ago. Too many short, boring and biased articles for my taste. This is the first time since then that I have been reminded that they even exist.

  • avatar
    Bozoer Rebbe

    Just what the world needs: more car reviews from a source that accepts auto manufacturer advertising

    Do you read movie or book reviews? Newspapers get revenue from movie and book ads. How about political commentary on the broadcast and cable networks (as well as biased reporting)? Obama’s $640 million didn’t all go to lawn signs and bumper stickers (actually, the campaign charged for stuff like that). At least with AutoWeek there’s a certain transparency because the financial support from advertisers is prima facie. I prefer that to the sub rosa left wing anti-business bias of Consumers Reports.

  • avatar
    Bozoer Rebbe

    How many Americans know what a fortnight is?

    About as many who know what a factotum is.

  • avatar
    Usta Bee

    I used to read autoweek back in the late 80’s when Satch Carlson still wrote for it, but haven’t read it since then. I never knew the highschool sex story about him until just now. There’s even a Wikipedia (Wikipedophile ?) story about it….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartlett_High_School_(Anchorage,_Alaska)

  • avatar
    Stephan Wilkinson

    Poor Satch, he just got caught. 20 percent of the virile, randy high-school teachers I know have boffed students, and probably 90 percent of the college profs. And not just the guys…

  • avatar
    Cerbera LM

    AutoWeek subscriber from 1982 to Sep, 2008 guess I bailed just in time. Unlike jademat they are no longer sending me the magazine.

    Threw in the towel when the “lift style” fluff made up half the magazine. How many garage pictures and “reviews” of cigars/watches/gps can a guy take. Never found someone to replace Satch Carlson. The only columnists I was still reading were Farley & McCluggage. Pre-internet it was worth it for the racing news but now it’s a bad imitation of imitation vanilla.

  • avatar
    Matthew Sullivan

    Another former subscriber here, for 15 years until just a couple of years ago.

    They cut down the motorsports coverage and upped the tuner car BS and I just couldn’t stand it anymore (uh, about that Whipplecharger thing….). Cory Farley was the only thing I still enjoyed reading.

    I do, however, give them credit for the funniest written phrase ever: “corn” “dog”. That gem was in their coverage of the first F1 race at Indy, as the described the F1 glitteratti coming to terms with the local cuisine.

  • avatar
    Bozoer Rebbe

    # Stephan Wilkinson :
    November 9th, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Poor Satch, he just got caught. 20 percent of the virile, randy high-school teachers I know have boffed students, and probably 90 percent of the college profs. And not just the guys…

    A high mileage seventeen year old, a middle aged guy who can’t keep it zipped up and a politically ambitious prosecutor. The girl was over the age of consent in Alaska, so normally there’d be no law broken by boffing her consensually, but the prosecutor used a law intended to prevent quasi-incest by stepparents and other guardians. Apparently the young lady is now suing Carlson in civil court. What’s she going to be awarded if she wins, a 20 year old “piggue of plastique” Lotus or Saab Sonnet?

    In my high school, the basketball coach married one of the students immediately after her 18th birthday. Their relationship while she was a student was common knowledge in the school. In college, a friend of mine had an affair with his Latin teaching fellow.

    Hell, there’s an entire web site (I think it’s called Hot For Teacher or something) that keeps track of all the female teachers arrested for sex with students.

  • avatar
    Bozoer Rebbe

    The only columnists I was still reading were Farley & McCluggage.

    Denise is a classy broad. Can drive rings around most guys.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Unfortunately, Mrs. Lokki just renewed my Autoweek subscription for me without looking. All car mag subscriptions are the same to her.

    I’d been seriously pondering canceling ever since that cute vegetarian started vapidly writing a regular column….why do I care what she thinks about cars?

    Anyhow, to tell the truth, I’d been thinking about dropping them once a week for most of a year now.

    As everyone is saying here, no one says anything in Autoweek any more. They’re not testing or comparing cars (enough to catch my attention anyway) and except for NASCAR there isn’t a lot of depth in their race reporting. As for Detroit’s problems? What problems? Detroit ain’t got no stinkin’ problems.
    So why do I care what they think about cars? I can read the press releases in the free newspapers that the Dallas Morning Times is dropping in my driveway.

    I want them sneaking around the Ferrari garages finding out what Masa intends to do about Hamilton next year.

    Now they’re going to biweekly? Unless they change the content, I’m not even going to notice that I’m missing every other week. Perhaps their theory is that I’m only going to think about canceling every other week now.

    So now, I’m pondering the idea about paying for TTAC content. I don’t usually like to pay for web content, but if I look at it in terms of what I’m paying Autoweek without having to bother to recycle the rag after I read it… maybe that IS a better use of funds.

  • avatar
    essen

    Can anyone out there recommend another auto mag? I guess I’m naive – I gave up Motor Trend years ago for Autoweek, and I like my weekly fix of carmag. I wonder if they are going to double the remainder of my subscription.

  • avatar
    I_Like_Pie

    essen

    Winding road is my favorite. They are the best in the business right now.

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