By on April 15, 2011


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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10 Comments on “Under Pressure, Opel Drops Journalist Vacation Offer...”

  • avatar

    I never had the faintest inclination to take my family with me on a business or conference trip. I don’t know any professionals who do so, either.  Might be different for automotive journalists, wonder why?

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Yeah no urge to take a loved one on a business or conference trip either.  One of my colleagues was trying to locate a training on a rather hot topic in my district right now and the one she found happened to be in Las Vegas, NV but during the month of July when none of us are on contract and I have other real family stuff planned.  She told me, “You could bring (my fiance) with you.”  Why?  If I went I’d spend 8 hours a day engaged in stuff related to the conference.  I always thought it was stupid to get family to tag along so they have to entertain themselves till you’re free.

      • 0 avatar

        As one of my favorite mentors regularly asks, “If you were digging a ditch, would you bring your wife down in the hole with you?”

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Plus (the thought just occurred to me) if you’re an auto-journalist who brings your wife along to a car review/test-drive that’s just one more chance for Baruth to knock boots with her.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      It’s statistically unlikely.

      Only once in the past two years have I seduced a wife of a male journalist after meeting them at an event, and it was only because the husband was so fey half of the guys in the business think he’s just married to her to provide a cover for his other activities.

      On the other hand, while I was at the CTS-V Challenge there was a guy who made a full-court press play for Vodka McBigbra. It wasn’t successful. I think it will take Jimmy Page or Fernando Alonso to pull that off.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        I’m just ribbing you, Jack.  A happy person in any partnership isn’t available to be had.  Anyone who shows themselves to be a “free agent” usually has a dang good reason for being so.  (Say’s the divorced soon to be remarried guy.)

      • 0 avatar

        Incedentally, you both are my least favorite parts of TTAC.

  • avatar

    I think GM could increase the ‘time flexibility’ of their press intros by simply providing the ‘journalists’ with checks and pre-written reviews.

    BTW – the obnoxious Ford banner ad on this page is a real hairball and is the worst thing my computer has had to digest since I stopped looking at on a regular basis.

  • avatar

    Another reason not to buy GM goods. They don’t have ethics.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    What do VW and the other Germans offer journalists?

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