By on May 10, 2010

Chief Engineer for GM’s Corvette program Tadge Juechter probably didn’t blow any minds by pointing out that car magazines have reached the point where lying (or at least printing disingenuous information) in order to goose interest in their upcoming issues has become standard procedure. He sure did get a chuckle out of the assembled Corvette nuts though. Meanwhile, don’t hold your breath for a V6 (or mid-engine, or hybrid) Corvette… no matter what Automobile Magazine might tell you.

UPDATE: Automobile Magazine fires back after the jump.

Automobile has added the following editor’s note to its piece on the C7 Corvette: recently posted a video of Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter lambasting Automobile Magazine for our story on the next-generation Corvette. Juechter implies that our article was sensationalist and misattributed information to him. Automobile Magazine stands by its story.

It is clear that, in his appearance before the Corvette faithful in Bowling Green on May 1st, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter regretted speaking as freely as he did to our reporter, industry veteran and Corvette owner Don Sherman. Mr. Juechter can spin his comments all he wishes, but a careful reading of our story, which is reprinted here, reveals that 75% of the story consists of verbatim quotes from Mr. Juechter himself. At the end of our piece, Don Sherman prognosticates about the future Corvette; it is crystal clear to the reader that at this point in the story, it’s Don Sherman making educated guesses, not Tadge Juechter speaking. At no point did Don quote Mr. Juechter as definitively stating that a V-6 is in the works for C7, but he did indeed predict that a V-6 is a POSSIBILITY, based partly on Mr. Juechter’s comments that most certainly implied that this is the case. Don also makes it clear that, in his opinion, a V-8 is a certainty for the next Vette, but speculates that it might not be standard equipment.

It is a bit rich that, at this juncture, Mr. Juechter stands in front of a Corvette crowd and says about Automobile Magazine, and about print automotive enthusiast magazines in general: “Don’t believe any of what you read. Most of it will be wrong. They may guess on some things luckily, but most of the time it will be wrong. It can [even] be attributed to me and be totally wrong.” Well, when 75% of the article is verbatim quote from you, Mr. Juechter, is the article 75% wrong?

Mr. Juechter wishes to dismiss the entire category of automotive enthusiast print magazines out of hand. This is a strange approach, given that Automobile Magazine and its competitors play a major role in promoting Corvette enthusiasm, even now when, as Mr. Juechter readily admits, the next-generation Corvette is still years away.

Joe DeMatio
Deputy Editor

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16 Comments on ““There’s One Industry That’s Maybe In Worse Shape Than The Auto Industry And That’s The Automotive Publication Industry”...”

  • avatar

    I picked up a copy of C/D he other day because I haven’t read it in about nine or ten years, and holy hell has the quality gone down.

    Either that, or much like video games and TV, the “golden age” of automotive mags just happened to be whenever you were 11-15 years old.

    • 0 avatar

      No, the quality has gone down to some extent.

      It’s not just the enthusiast magazines. Compare a copy of today’s Hemmings Classic Car to an issue of its predecessor, Special Interest Autos, from the 1980s or 1990s. It’s also depressing.

      For that matter, compare in issue of Time or Newsweek to one from 20 years ago.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m going to agree with geeber on this: the quality of the media in general has gone down demonstrably in the last two decades.

      It’s a feedback loop: you shout louder to get more attention, but you can’t say as much that’s useful, nor can you differentiate yourself from other shouters. Eventually, you end up with a marketplace full of shrill, shallow content providers and an audience that’s either jaded and/or fickle.

      The real travesty is that the few media outlets that haven’t engaged in this kind of behaviour have been so marginalized and starved for funds that they’re failing as well.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Hemmings’ “Classic Car” is still a darn good read, though I liked it better before they split Special Interest Autos into two magazines. I liked it back when the “domestics” and “imports” were covered mix and match in the same mag. Even so, those are the only print automotive magazines I still subscribe to. Once upon a time I subscribed to C&D, R&T and Automobile all at the same time. But they all slid so far down hill that I dropped ’em one at a time.

      Today’s Internet content is so much more compelling and interactive that I don’t miss the rags at all. Speaking of which, I remember how exciting it was to actually get a letter to the editor published back in the day. LOL.

  • avatar

    While what he said, might have been truthful, he didn’t do himself any favors saying it. GM, prepare for a little automotive press backlash, something you don’t need anytime…and especially not now.

  • avatar

    A mid-engined Corvette is a bad idea, not sorry to hear it probably won’t happen.

  • avatar

    In fairness, ALL print media and journalism is struggling, so it’s not just the auto mags.

    Much as I like TTAC and similar, if/or when the lights go out on the car rags, MANY unique and talented voices will be silenced, or least, tougher to find…Peter Egan @ Road & Track, Jamie Kitman, Ezra Dyer and Robert Cumberford @ Automobile, John Phillips and Aaron Robinson @ Car and Driver, Art Antoine @ Motor Trend and several others I’ve yet to mention…

    To any true auto fan, the coming demise of car magazines is NO cause for celebration. Online resources are great, but there are some things that print journalism still can do just as well, if not better, than online resources…comparison tests, interesting travelogs, and opinion pieces. It’s really only industry news and new model information where the long lead time for mags is a major problem.

    Not saying that TTAC is gloating the print world’s troubles (or are you?), but the auto world will be a FAR less comprehensively covered place when the mags are gone. Sad.

  • avatar

    Ever since Car & Driver appeared to me to ascend the socio-economic pyramid and self-satisfied themselves by concentrating on high-end expensive “special people” conveyances vehicles and began ignoring us “commoners” I decided to ignore Car & Driver.

    Let them have their steak while my class roots in the dumpster for our discarded but still edible detritus.

    We will horde our discretionary dollars and ensure those dollars go to those whose snooty little noses are held high so the “better people” do not even have to see the commoners so far below them.

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. +1

      A sprinkling of supercars makes it interesting but let’s hear about cars I can actually aspire to own. Let’s hear a little about the sport of racing – all types please. Let’s hear about the standout automotive personalities and their activities. Let’s look in on some automotive projects.

      I’m done with the mainstream mags. I give them a look from time to time but lately they are all the same.

      Thank goodness for the ‘net and all the fine folks like the TTAC readers who keep the hobby interesting.

  • avatar

    Every month I read my Car & Driver, and every month I shake my head at the lack of talent at the magazine.

    I ask myself if maybe it’s just me, and my tastes have changed or I’ve gotten bored of reading about new cars.

    I don’t think it’s me. The magazine is boring. The current writers would do decent as college students, but they are definitely not of professional magazine caliber.

    The folks there also seem to have their price structure out of whack. What’s the ceiling on being considered a Top Ten Car now? $80k? Seriously, there are legions of folks out there willing to throw $80k on something that will depreciate so quickly?

    In summary, I read the magazine to keep up with new cars and in general what’s happening in the car world. But every month, I’m less interested in that magazine.

  • avatar

    Years ago I gave up Motor Trend because it was so dreadfully dull for C/D; and then noticed that I couldn’t tell one issue of C/D from another. Same old comparos and stale information. Hemmings Classic Car isn’t what Special Intrest Autos was; but still I think it is better than most Automotive periodicals.

  • avatar

    I glance at C&D in the bookstore or the magazine section at the grocery store. Haven’t bought one in years. Not worth the cost. I usually read Peter Egan’s columns the same way, except I’ll buy a copy of Cycle World because my high performance budget is more easily sated by $8,000 motorcycles than by $80,000 automobiles.

    I have subscribed to Automotive Engineering International magazine, however, and find its articles to be utterly fascinating. No overbearing personalities, no mundane comparos, etc. Just excellent reporting and analysis.

  • avatar

    I haven’t noticed the decline in quality, but having subscribed for 25 years, I can tell you that reading the same columns over and over gets tedious, and the new layouts C&D and Automobile use make the magazine almost impossible to read – can’t tell the article from the ads, and the once clear and legible stat pages are a mess!

    Also, now that I can read the latest 24/7, why read 3 month old info? At least the subscriptions are dirt cheap, so I do’t feel like a total chump!

    Something these magazines should note: I read about cars on a half a dozen websites daily, yet never feel the need to click over to Car & Driver’s or Automobile’s or Motortrend’s websites..

  • avatar

    That’s because their webportals kind of… suck. Terrible layout, confusing, difficult to navigate, with small pictures and scribbly little text. Their sites need to be redesigned for the 21st century.

    The most readable and accessible format online has got to be that of Motive Magazine, a site that’s sadly R.I.P. since the pirating of their editor. That’s format, mind… the content was sometimes good, sometimes not, but the layout and photography made it very accessible.

  • avatar

    American car rags are rubbish. Is there a way to get Evo/TG for cheap in the US? Even the library doesn’t carry them.

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