By on January 11, 2012

When FNG Derek Kreindler called the new Fusion a “game changer” the Best&Brightest tore his throat out like Patrick Swayze in the climactic final scene of RoadHouse. Quite the trial by fire for the young man, particularly since he was effectively making his editorial debut in the middle of a very high-pressure Detroit Show situation. Still, the message came through loud and clear: TTAC readers are allergic to hype.

In a late-night convo with DK, I started to wonder how other automotive sites, and readers, react to that kind of phrasing. With that in mind, let’s have some fun with nine (more) instances of “game changer” misuse, shall we?

#9. 2013 Ford Fusion — KBB In a staff article, Kelly Blue Book wrote “the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion appears destined to be a true game changer in the mid-size sedan segment.” What a bunch of Kriendler wannabes!

#8. 2010 Ford Fusion — AutoGuide Colum Wood notes “The folks at Ford have done an incredible job at marketing the new 2010 Fusion Hybrid, making it seem like a game changer. In some ways that’s true, in other ways, not so much.” Any points Mr. Wood gains by tempering his praise are lost by using that Canadian hipsterism, “not so much.” Wait a minute… where did DK used to work?

#7. 2010 Ford Fusion — Car and Driver Patrick Bedard: “Ford has pulled off a game changer with this 2010 model, creating a high-mpg family hauler that’s fun to drive.” Why does the Fusion keep changing the game? How many games are they going to change? I like one game — Sinistar. They’d better not change it. Beware, I live.

#6. 2011 Ford Explorer — AutoWeek Wes Raynal headlines his article “Game Changer? Ford has high hopes for its redesigned 2011 Explorer.” Putting a question mark after “Game Changer” is a good idea. It can help put some distance between the author and his assertion. One example would be if I ran an article called: “Goat Molester? Wes Raynal Might Be One.”

#5. 2011 Ford Explorer — USA Today Chris Woodyard’s headline: “Ford’s game changer? Get ready for the 2011 Explorer.” Again, that question mark is hard to beat. “Cage filler for mentally handicapped parakeets? Get ready for USA Today’s automotive section.”

#4. 2012 Ford Focus — Chicago Tribune Steven Cole Smith writes, “Ford’s much-improved Focus is a game-changer.” This is good news for people who are concerned that the game didn’t change between the 2011 Ford Explorer and the 2013 Ford Fusion.

#3. 2009 Ford Flex — Wards Auto “Ford’s Game Changer” is how the Flex is described. But it turns out that Ward’s isn’t offering an opinion. They are quoting Mark Fields, who says the Flex is a “game changer”. Derek Kriendler receives no inspirational credit, which more or less proves that time travel cannot exist. If it does, this article will disappear, because I will take a job with Microsoft in 1987 instead of working for David Hobbs BMW, and I will currently be a Seattle douchebag who time-trials a supercharged Acura NSX instead of America’s best-loved automotive writer.

#2. 2011 Ford Fiesta — Detroit News No list of autojourno silliness is complete without a mention of Scott Burgess, whose headline declares “Ford Fiesta a game changer in world of small, nimble rides.” Read it with me in the Don LaFontaine voice: IN A WORLD… OF SMALL, NIMBLE RIDES… ONE FORD WILL CHANGE THE GAME. “Europeans are lining up from Bulgaria to Brussels for this little road runner,” Burgess notes. Either Mr. Burgess has somehow managed to avoid acquiring a sense of European geography over the course of dozens of manufacturer-provided free overseas trips, or he is making some horrifying joke about the path of the blitzkrieg.

#1. The Mystery Car — MSN Autos It appears that, at some point in the past, MSN Autos created an article entitled “Top 10 Game Changers”. There are links galore to it on the Internet, and we are pretty sure the original NSX is on the list. Was there a Ford as well? Did Ford make one of the TOP TEN GAME CHANGERS OF, LIKE, ALL TIME? We will never know. Unfortunately for us, however, MSN has taken the article down and all links to the article result in a dead page notification. Why did they take it down? Shame, obviously. When an automotive outlet has the grace to take ridiculous articles down, that’s a true game changer.

Update: Fashion reporter (and TTAC reader) Cameron Miquelon noted that the article is back up and can be found here. All of my different visited links from this morning are now showing up. Could this be a case of MSN realizing there’s a demand for the article? The 1991 Explorer does make the list. Thank you, Miss M! Check out her site, unless you are substantially better-looking than I am, in which case please do not talk to her — JB

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57 Comments on “The Nine Worst Ford-Shilling Uses Of “Game Changer” In Recent Automotive Journalism...”

  • avatar

    For the record, I enjoyed Derek’s work.

  • avatar

    “…which more or less proves that time travel cannot exist. If it does, this article will disappear, because I will take a job with Microsoft in 1987 instead of working for David Hobbs BMW, and I will currently be a Seattle douchebag who time-trials a supercharged Acura NSX instead of America’s best-loved automotive writer.”

    JB, we have met the game changer, and it is you.

  • avatar

    The term, “game changer”, used to be a real world beater. The synergy of thinking outside the box, seriously, was not rocket science. For what it’s worth, at the end of the day, I think of the children and could care less. In general, Derek Kreindler should for some reason, just say, “my bad”, or something like that, and tend to the next paradigm shift in general.

    Derek wants him some game changin’, that’s all I’m saying.

    You know?

  • avatar

    Derek Kreindler is a game changing social media influencer that will blow the competition out of the water

    -Sent from my 2013 Ford Fusion Energi via MyFord Touch and SYNC by Microsoft

  • avatar

    If all the Ford models above are truly game changers, I’d really like to know what game is being played.

  • avatar

    Pretty groovey Derek!
    When my mom uses her MyFord Touch in her 2012 Focus like that, her trip odometer zeros out – then counts up, her screen blanks out then returns to home, and her car shifts three times going around corners. Hell of a game changer, I’d say!

  • avatar

    “When FNG Derek Kreindler called the new Fusion a “game changer” the Best&Brightest tore his throat out like Patrick Swayze in the climactic final scene of RoadHouse.”

    Sounds to me like some of the B&B might need to get a hobby and lay off the Maxwell House. Sheesh. Breathe, people. Not every sentence these guys write has to sound like they’ve got a reindeer up their butt, does it?

  • avatar

    The truth about it is that bloggers think their words mean something. We the readers surf the shit you guys write and compare sites…I mean pics ’cause at least the pics are of (appearantly) real objects. Words are cheap. I’ve not read one good thoughtful overall analysis of the roll out of 2013 vehicles. Instead you write about the use of two words. Bored? Searching ? Maybe contemplating a new site? The Truth About Car Talk and Hyperbole? Don’t get me wrong, I find TTAC entertaining, as fun as all the pensioners at the Piss and Moan Cafe. Carry on.

  • avatar

    I just discovered that I write like I have a dolphin on a shoe string.

  • avatar

    Why does that tractor transmission look like a turbine?

  • avatar

    Don’t hate the player — hate the game. Changer, that is. And don’t ever change.

    Occasionally, some true game changers do come along. But they are few and far between. The first generation Chrysler minivans, Taurus, Mustang, 240Z, LS400, and Prius were all genuine game changers for the industry.

    Then there are models that don’t transform the industry, but that can change a company. The RX-7, Miata and GLC all saved Mazda from failure. The Altima kept Nissan from becoming completely irrelevant in the US market. Without the Grand Punto, Fiat would have gone belly up (and that, in turn, probably kept Chrysler from disappearing not long thereafter.)

    Unless the Fusion can completely blow the Camry and Accord out of their positions of dominance, it ain’t no game changer. And while it looks alright, I doubt that this car is so transformational as to make such a thing happen.

    • 0 avatar


      I would add the original Explore into the list, since it really kick started the whole SUV craze. And yes I know the Bronco and Cherokee came before it, but the original Explore was a vehicle really changed the game. The new one however… not so much. The Fusion? The Focus? Ummm hell no! They are just a series of me too products that are slightly above par. Its just these days par (Accord, Camry, Civic, Sentra, etc) are sub-par thus leveling the playing field.

    • 0 avatar
      Japanese Buick

      A game-changer can only be honestly called such in retrospect.


      • 0 avatar

        Yes, I think “in retrospect” is the best use of the term. It was, vs it is, or will be. I enjoyed DK’s enthusiasm for the car, which I thought was totally honest. Don’t let the opinions of a grizzled veteran dampen your enjoyment of an industry that, at it’s best, can be very exciting.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        YES. If you knew it was a game changer before it “hit the streets” your compeditors would react before it had time to change the game.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      If we wanted to be really fussy here, we could jump on the various writers’ lack of precision in the use of the term. A “game changer” would be a vehicle that breaks all of the existing rules and renders them obsolete. The best example I can think of is the original Chrysler minivan, which rendered obsolete the old station wagon (at least in the U.S.). The next best example is the Toyota Prius, 2d generation, which took an unconventional powerplant beyond the “interesting science project” stage and brought it into the mainstream while delivering on the promised benefits of the technology. Honda’s “integrated motor assist” is not an interesting science fair project, but it doesn’t really deliver much benefit. The Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, on the other hand, are very much in the “interesting science fair project” stage.

      By that definition, the new Fusion is not a game changer. However, based on its appearance (at least in the photos), it may be a new benchmark or standard-setter for the segment, in the way that the original Ford Taurus was a standards-setter for the segment at least until the early 1990s.

      I found the original Fusion to be an adequate design, at best. This one looks better in photos than its Japanese competition (Camry, Accord, Altima) and certainly better than the warmed-over product from GM and Chrysler.

      But it doesn’t change the game, it’s simply a stronger player than it was before.

      Same for the new Focus.

  • avatar

    Aha, so “Game Changer” is to Ford what “Segment Buster” is to Chrysler, right? Because I seem to recall that they were farming that term pretty actively around the time the Pacifica was launched.

    • 0 avatar

      Segment-buster, at least the idea, goes back 10 years before Pacifica. Chrysler played the game by having many of its vehicles straddle segments (usually on the upper-end).

      I recall Lutz saying that as a management exercise, they filled the Design Dome in Highland Park with all products and thought what might fit in between the gaps, or outside of them.

  • avatar

    I’m anxiously awaiting the unveils of the new Vauxhall Firenza hpF, Chrysler Airflow, Aston Lagonda & Bricklin SV-2.

  • avatar

    I wonder if the Model T, Model A V8, ’49 Ford, Mustang, Taurus, Explorer, etc were ever referred to as Game Changers by the PR machine back in the day.

  • avatar

    It ain’t no game changer.

    It’s a pardigm shift accross autotmotive technologies introducing new synergies to automotive consumers.

  • avatar

    Wasn’t so much the use of the two words in question, as the whole sentence:
    “The Fusion will be a game changer in the segment, and we can confidently say that without indulging in any sort of PR-fueled hyperbole.”

    Those are the words of someone who really believes what they’re writing…or someone sleep deprived, inundated with craptastic PR-prose and cranking out posts like crazy.

  • avatar

    “If it does, this article will disappear, because I will take a job with Microsoft in 1987 instead of working for David Hobbs BMW, and I will currently be a Seattle douchebag who time-trials a supercharged Acura NSX instead of America’s best-loved automotive writer.”

    Don’t worry JB, I will always think of you as a douchebag in my book.

  • avatar

    Sinistar, was indeed, awesome.

    The Seattle comment isn’t that far off. I’ve never seen so much flannel and Pabst in my life.

    While we’re on the topic of bad writing, can things stop being “Killer Apps?” Where did they come from? Is there an App colloseum where they fight to the death, thus declaring one App the victor and worthy of the title? Why are we now using this phrase with things that aren’t even software application related or that aren’t even applications?

  • avatar

    From todays autoextremist:

    “Most Significant Production Car: The 2013 Ford Fusion has simply blown-up the mid-sized segment with its brilliant combination of visionary design, scintillating content and overall operating efficiency. It’s a true game changer in every sense of the word. When it hits the showrooms next fall, the Ford Fusion will instantly be one of the hottest cars in the market. It’s that good.”

    Nooooo!!!! Mr. De Lorenzo too???

    • 0 avatar

      Could it be I’m not the only one genuinely impressed with the car that’s not a “social media influencer” flown in on a FoMoCo chartered Dassault 7X?

      • 0 avatar

        Probably. Car shows a lot of promise. I always gauge a car by how the stripped version looks. If the plain-jane version looks good without the doodads, then it will most likely be a winner.

        Cut it up though and it reads like a movie promo:

        “has simply blown-up the mid-sized segment”

        “brilliant combination of visionary design”

        “scintillating content and overall operating efficiency”

        “true game changer”

        “instantly be one of the hottest cars in the market”

      • 0 avatar

        consider yourself lucky you missed out on the plane, Derek. 7x’s are nice planes to look at, but your life is better entrusted to the capable hands of a professional pilot than a temperamental french fly by wire flight control computer.

    • 0 avatar

      Mr. De Lorenzo too???

      De Lorenzo is ultimately a shill for Detroit (although like a scorned woman, he turns bitter on a dime whenever they ignore his advice, which is often.)

      If Toyota built the Fusion, De Lorenzo would denounce it as some sort of dull appliance and move on. In contrast, I would give Mr. Kreindler the benefit of the doubt. He made a judgment call with which I would disagree, but unlike Mr. Extremist, he doesn’t strike me as being full of s**t or himself.

      • 0 avatar

        De Lorenzo is the ultimate insider who feels the entire Detroit region and auto businesses are entitled. Entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Entitled to the bailout. Entitled to a complete lack of criticism. At times he has been hard on GM but it was done only to serve as a personal assault in order to settle some conflict brewing in the background.
        His views are incredibly biased and more often than not clouded by his regional bias for everything Detroit.

  • avatar

    As a former insider at the taxpayer owned GM, the term “game changer” is used VERY OFTEN in the halls, in the coffee break rooms and everywhere else.
    If I heard once I heard 1,000 times the Volt described as a “true game changer”. Most of us staff level employees knew it was BS but we all just kind of nodded and moved on about our business of finding new jobs.
    The phase is used so often many of us would mock those managers/directors/executives who over use the phrase.
    The phrase has now made it into the marketing propaganda.
    The phrase is overplayed and played out.
    Let’s end the use right here.

  • avatar

    This is all you need to know about DeLorenzo right here, in a nutshell:
    “Oh well, on with the show, where the two remaining domestic car companies flexed their muscles, and that Italian car company up the road got back into the compact car game. And the rest? Well, that’s another story altogether.”

  • avatar

    For the record, Automobile mag asked on Facebook if followers thought the new Fusion was a game changer. I think it’s safe to add them to the list.

  • avatar

    Could we set some criteria for “game changer” status? I could say my post lunch dump is a “game changer.”

  • avatar

    2nd time JB has stepped up to defend DK.

    First was the industry buffet/shill post.

    – Just don’t start making clay pots together like Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, fellas.

    • 0 avatar


      I don’t see it that way.

      It’s more Jack’s way of expressing his humor when anyone heaps hyperbole upon a motor vehicle without providing proofs that it’s warranted – here on TTAC.

  • avatar

    There is nothing about the industry today that is a ‘game’. More like surviving a war against it by eco-nazis and an ever encroaching big government.

    That said, pretty funny read. Especially the ‘Seattle douchebag’ part, that made me chuckle…

  • avatar

    Remember when game-changing meant swapping out Super Mario Bros. for The Legend of Zelda? Or how paradigm shifts meant shifting a pair of dimes across the counter of a local greasy spoon for a good cup of black coffee with two sugars and one cream? That was great.

    PS – JB, don’t ever change your game. player.

  • avatar

    LOVE that pic!! They just started working on the first prototypes when I retired.

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