Under Pressure, Opel Drops Journalist Vacation Offer

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The ever-evolving world of auto journalism ethics took an interesting turn recently, when GM’s European brand Opel offered 200 journalists the opportunity to test “some interesting models from our product range” on the Mediterranean vacation island of Mallorca. What raised the eyebrows of the German Journalist’s Association: the fact that the test offered access to only a few new features (stop-start on the Astra Sports Tourer diesel, and a six-speed autobox on the Insignia OPC), while offering journalists the opportunity to bring their families along at “a special rate neogtiated by Opel.” The GJA called the offer “practically an attempt to bribe journalists,” prompting Opel to withdraw the offer. Hit the jump for a translation of Opel’s statement [via Autobild].

We have made discussions closely monitoring our media invitation to a product test in Mallorca. The background to this is a new, time-flexible test format that we have started on a trial basis this year. In addition to traditional formats such as international product launches, national road shows and test car loans, this is a new way to give media / journalists the opportunity to test and report on our latest products in a compact, time-flexible format. This is the core of our invitation, and not just supposed “Majorca All-inclusive”components as was partially reported. The optional Offer of extending and / or transportation of additional people were clearly separated and sold at 100% at the expense of the participating journalists. We are pleased about positive reactions to the new, time-flexible test format.

At the same time we also note that the optional component of the new test format led to the question from some places as to whether this is unequivocally in accordance with the intention of the actual product tests in Mallorca. We understand this question, and respect the discussion and different opinions and therefore we will no longer offer the possibility of optional extension and / or participation of additional persons. We have decided to take this step because we want to signal our commitment to open and clear communication.

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