By on October 10, 2012


This essay, which likens supporting a sports team supporting a sports team to being in an abusive relationship, struck a chord with me even though I care little about pro sports. But what about you?

Imagine a girl. Very pretty, a joy to be around, and a nice person that is kind to animals and people alike. She’s a good person, and deserves a good boyfriend, someone who is nice and kind to her.

She has a boyfriend. But he sucks. He makes her pay for everything. When they do something, he tells her what they’re going to do, never asks what she want to do, and never makes any accommodations to her wishes. He only pays attention to her when he wants something out of her, but when she needs something, he is totally unresponsive. He relentlessly lies to her, and is transparently dismissive of their relationship and her as a person. He makes important decisions that impact her without asking her, or consulting her or even considering what she wants. He takes her completely for granted, and almost seems like he holds her in contempt. In essence, he treats her like garbage. Yet, she worships him and supports him no matter what.

What would you tell her? You’d say what any reasonable person would say: What the hell is wrong with you? Why are accepting this? You can do better. He’s not worth it, there are so many other great guys out there who won’t treat you so badly, stop putting up with this.

Now, think about this: If you are a devoted fan of a pro sports team, you have the exact same relationship…with that team.

You are the girlfriend, the team is the boyfriend, and they don’t give a shit about you, and you love them anyway.


TTAC writers and readers are accused of bias at every turn. Sometimes, they are flagrant trolls looking to incite discord, but other times the accussations are made in earnest by people who do contribute valuable insights to Planet TTAC.

As far as favoring one car company over another, I feel exactly the same way the author does with sports teams; no matter how much companies try to “engage” their clients, whether they are paying customers or automotive journalists, they are ultimately after your money, and everything else is secondary.

Sure, there are individual models I prefer in any given segment, and there are legions of dedicated, hard-working people working to make the best cars possible, but that does not detract from the end goal; make money by selling more cars than the other guys.

As the author eloquently puts it

“Stop and really look at it, especially if you are really intense about your team. Why do you buy their gear? Or emotionally invest in their results? Why do you put so much effort into them? Why do you identify with them…when they don’t give a fuck about you? In what other arena of your life would you accept such incredibly awful abuse and one-sided loyalty?”

In light of this view, it strikes me as absurd when TTAC is accused of any sort of bias. Personally, I have other things to invest my emotions in, like human relationships for one. And I’ve always felt that the attachment of one’s identity to any sort of tangible manufacturer element, like a genre of music, a style of dress or worst of all an automotive brand, is modern day tribalism at best, a pathetic desire to belong to a group at worst.

Ask someone why they love one car company unconditionally, spending hours arguing on the internet about its supremacy or defending it from critics when discussing cars with their social circle and their reasons are often flimsy. “My Dad had one” or “We’re a [insert brand here] family” are among the more concrete ones. It’s not for nothing that “fanboys” are the butt of online jokes for some car guys. Most of these people just want confirmation that what they bought was the right choice. Others exhibit Salafist-like fanatical affiliation to a faceless entity that doesn’t care a lick about them beyond their pocketbook.

But then, maybe you’re someone like Mikey, who has worked at a plant for 30 years and feels immense loyalty to an auto maker. Or you might just love to accuse us of hating General Motors and watching our reaction.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

79 Comments on “QOTD: The Futility Of Being A Fanboy...”

  • avatar

    I’ll admit that I have some fanboy associated qualities. But, everyone likes rooting for the decision they made.I have a fond liking for every car brand I’ve personally owned, though I don’t really flat out hate any of them.

    Nissan – My first and second car. 96 altima and 02 Xterra. Neither could do any wrong to me.

    Audi – My 96 A4 fell apart, but I’m still swayed to them over any of the other luxury brands becuase of the driving experience, fit&finish of the interior, and good looks of the extrior compared to it’s contemporaries.

    Honda/Acura – My most recent 2 cars, 04 RSX and 00 S2000. Wife’s last was an 00 civic. mine were the cars I always wanted when I was in high school. And now I’ve owned both. I rule. And none of those 3 have done anything wrong to me, and were exemplary ownership experiences.

    Mazda – We bought my wife her 3 due to the 0% promo. The car is outstanding though, and so fun to drive. And they make the Miata. And they made the RX-8. I’ll have a mazda in my stable for a while if they keep up what they’re doing in the fun department.

    And I’ve always had a thing for Ford, moreso recently since they seem to be doing everything right.

    I probably won’t own another Honda, especially a newer one, anytime soon due to them removing the fun from their lineup, but with any of these brands I could see myself going back and buying a particular model that I loved at some point, like a V8 S4, or a 370Z.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know what happened to honda. It’s like they’re run by accountants or a holding company. There’s no life to the brand. Same with Toyota. Mazda on the other hand, continues to make sporty cars for people who love driving. They continue to build great cars even though they don’t have the backing of Ford anymore.

      I totally advise that you get a B6 S4, you won’t regret it. I got an S4 Cab 6sp manual in 2004 and I can’t let it go. I’m a grinning idiot when I drive it. It ain’t free to maintain, but at 115k miles it’s been totally trouble free unlike my new Range Rover which has been in the shop way too often. B6/B7 S4s are completely cheap to pick up now. So pick up a good one.

      • 0 avatar

        I picked up my S2000 less than 8 months ago, so I doubt my wife would be thrilled at another car purchase, and the S2000 is just too much fun to let go voluntarily for something else.

        Thinking about it though, it gives me some flexibility to look at B7s in a few years, especially since they went on for how many long? until 09 or so?

      • 0 avatar

        You’re comparing a car’s reliability to a Land Rover? Oh God.

        I love the B6 S4 but wouldn’t go near one. In my head I picture a 4 door or wagon Mustang GT. In reality, a one owner example with less than 100k miles is going to be far less reliable than my 225,000 mile Accord V6 6MT. And when the B6 does break, it’s so expensive to fix (even DIY) that I might as well just lease a brand new one and dump it when the warranty is up. I did a lot of research on them last year and with the amount of miles I put on my DD (20-25k/yr), there’s no way I can justify the risk. I always thought the broken timing chain guide issue was an overblown internet thing, until I test drove an S4 Avant that actually had the issue with only 79k miles. They’re cheap for a reason.

        duffman, congrats on the S. I’ve had my AP1 for a couple of years and every time I consider getting rid of it because of all of its disadvantages, all I have to do is find a curvy road and drive it like I’m possessed. What a ridiculously fun (and eminently reliable) car for the price.

  • avatar

    It’s nostalgia for me. My Dad had a CJ8 when I was a little guy. My grandpa had a CJ7 that I loved. I learned to drive in a Wrangler. My wife drove a Cherokee when we were in Highschool. I drove it after that. The first new vehicle either of us ever owned was a Grand Cherokee. I’ll always love Jeep. I may not like all their products, and I certainly can’t sit here and tell you they’re the best vehicle for every scenario, but as long as they keep making Jeeps like the Wrangler I’ll always have a special place for them in my garage.

  • avatar

    I think the flip side of this is even more interesting. We have some serious “anti-fanboys” around here with utterly irrational hatred of certain makes of cars. GM, BMW, and VW being the biggest targets.

    Personally, I simply love interesting cars. I don’t think any make or model is perfect.

    • 0 avatar

      Or an irrational hatred of anyone who chooses to buy a car nicer than what they’ve chosen to buy.

    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely agree. We naturally have built-in biases, and I see a lot of value in challenging those biases. Some of the most rewarding decisions I’ve made came from setting aside my cup of hater-ade and considering the unthinkable.

      – An ex-BMW hater, test drove a manual 3-series after considering every alternative under the sun. I wasn’t even out of the parking lot before realizing this car was absolutely THE PERFECT CAR for me.

      – A hybrid hater coming from a family of GM haters, you can imagine I wasn’t foaming at the mouth for a Volt. After running some numbers and test driving it, I realized it actually made a lot of sense as a commuter/city car, and it’s actually a pretty fun drive in it’s own way. Have one in my garage now.

      – Denounced the 911 turbo as a grocery-getter/ (rich) hairdresser car for being offered only in AWD. One moist lap of the nurburgring on summer tires changed my tune. Driving a 230hp RWD car doesn’t give you any idea how a 450hp car will drive. I wouldn’t even think of a RWD turbo now.

      I could go on and on about land rovers, miatas, wagons, VWs, transmissions, etc. You really never know until you try something. Except priuses… those are terrible ;)

      • 0 avatar

        I came to that conclusion when I recently got a hold of a Suburban. For the longest time I thought full-size SUVs were a waste of gas and going the way of dinosaurs. Now I can’t wait to see what the 2014 is like. (That said, I’m not giving up on my Honda Fit – it still makes too much sense for me.)

    • 0 avatar

      SAAB fanboys have got to be the worst. (full disclosure: as evidenced by my name, I have a soft spot for Saab). But seriously? Some fanboys like to put themselves through lots of pain (read: VW fanboys) but Saab fanboys are downright delusional. I knew this guy who, even as the independent Saab was going through bankruptcy (earlier this year) was still convinced that they would be bought and resurrected by Youngman. He probably still thinks that they will be resurrected. I love the company, but seriously, once they became independent, they never stood a chance. These poor guys — they will admit that their company hadn’t made a truly outstanding product in 20 years, and they will still buy the rebodied Opels anyway. I dont think that there is any other company who has had such loyal, delusional fans. Even VW boys can say that their company’s reliability has been improving, and that their company is in great financial shape regardless. Saab fans can say neither. Bless their hearts. May Saab rest in peace.

  • avatar

    I think this is right on and especially so when you extrapolate out to any elite. Hollywood and the morons who have so unfailing gained (not earned) the adoration of our young for instance.

    Car companies are run by Humans. You may have a good assessment of how they are today but CEO’s change, dollars devaluate, or any number of other things. Brand loyalty in any forum has it’s limitations.

    Nissan has my confidence but like GM could lose it if they tried.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve owned a few Nissans and Infinitis, and I have to say they seem off on a bad course. There isn’t a recent redesign that seems to be for the better. Nissan/Infiniti used to have really crisp design, but now it is all blob mobiles.

      • 0 avatar

        +1 Blobs with snowmobile transmissions. Meh.

        Which is sad, because I LOVE my old 5-speeed Pathfinder.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with this too. My main brand is Ford, but I also had a soft spot for Nissans as well.

        My firts car was an ’88 Maxima GXE that I put through hell and I still have it. Surviving my high school years is no small feat. Plus that VG30E just sounded great when you rev it. I can see why it favorably compared to BMW back then.

        I had an ’01 Frontier Desert Runner SE with the V6 and 5 speed. Another great vehicle I owned. It was fun with the stick, but reliable. It also had neat stuff on it too, like a 6 disc Rockford Fosgate audio system with text display AND steering wheel controls (in ’01 on a COMPACT truck!) and it had neat styling elements in the interior, like the gauges for example… they mirrored the R34 Skyline GTR’s style. Did I mention it never gave me trouble? Ever?

        Then I had an ’02 Maxima SE 6 speed. It was nice, but the quality just wasn’t there. It squeeked and rattled, things fell apart, the Bose radio SUCKED and would cut out for no reason, it killed a power steering pump, it had obnoxious torque steer and it had a rear BEAM axle like on a Corolla…. I traded it at 100k, save for the wonderful VQ35DE engine, the rest of the car was tired, and no, I didn’t drive it as hard as I did the ’88.

    • 0 avatar

      With reference to Nissan: Concur that the design is not great. Have a cube. Function is terrific. Mileage is good (32-35) and the power is there. Bought it because my wife likes the look and I tolerate it. Mechanics (for which I kept veto power)though are very good IMO. 6 speed manual with a 1.8 that seems to have everything it needs. Bought a 100kmi extended warranty and sorry I did. I intend to put a hitch on it and make a small trailer when warranty is expired. In England it is rated to tow 2klbs with 200 pound tongue weight IIRC. That carries my heaviest load. It is capable of doing everything I presently keep a small truck for.

      Won’t buy the same car with CVT. That makes us set up for an argument when it needs to be replaced. Understand versa is to get a regular 4 speed auto and that means cube probably will. Could live with that too.

  • avatar

    There are a few problems with the analogy:

    1. There are “better” guys out there that you can date. There are no “better” car companies or sports teams as an alternative.

    2. If you leave your crummy boyfriend people either won’t care or will support you. If you give up being a fan of the Bills or Honda those within your social group might get upset.

    3. Liking a car company or sports team gives you a rival that you can hate.

    4. People want their sports team or car company to be winners- not nesecarily to appreciate them as a fan. $10 tickets and constant free swag doesn’t matter if the Detroit Lions never have a winning season. Other than Ray Wert, I don’t think anyone wants to hear Bob Lutz say “I love you”, but GM fans do want the company to do well.

    Overall, I don’t think fandom or loyalty is really a bad thing. Having a passion for Lancia or Apple or the Calgary Flames isn’t a character flaw, it’s a hobby. A person does not have a fixed amount of emotional investment.

    Just because a few people take it overboard does not mean it is best to entirely avoid it.

  • avatar

    I grew up in a family with blue-oval veins, but my father ended up retired from GM. All the marques make something special every once in a while. For me it was the SAAB turbo coupe.

    It was not the advertising or the looks, it was the way it performed. I lived in the snow belt surrounded by big American RWD machines which were scary in the snow and ice. The SAAB and the original Mini could go through snow better than anything else I’d ever seen. Even big 4X4s couldn’t touch them, they just never got stuck.

    They actually seemed happy to play in the snow. The only Japanese car I remember with a similar vibe was the Datsun F10, the early Civic didn’t have it, I don’t why. Now SAAB is gone, and so is my aspiration for someting special to save for and buy.

    No one makes anything special for me anymore, but I’m open to suggestions for a substitute. Maybe that survey the TTAC recently published was correct – maybe the Accord is the new SAAB coupe, but it’s not the first to come to my thoughts. Maybe I can find one to restore, if it’s not too rusty, or too late.

    • 0 avatar

      Feel for you P_I. I was going to University out in Colorado when Aspen and Vail went over to the DARKSIDE and purchases SAABs as patrol vehicles. You would’ve thought the very fabric of the space/time continum was flailing apart on the seams of burning bibles because the municipalities went Swedish, not GM or Ford, regardless of the fact that Saab was a GM holding. No amount of argument or factual content would sway these reactionaries who quickly tied this ruination of America to Bill Clinton, because it was his fault that Aspen voted to buy Saabs.

      Sorry, your question of car for you is simple. Buy a Saab. There’s still quite a large margin squating on dealer’s lots right now.

  • avatar

    But what about Liverpool football club?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Bad analogy. Fans realize it’s a business and what they think matters not to the owners. Most of us realize it’s “bread and circuses” and take care of those who matter to us. Yes, there are overgrown manchilds who rant and rave on sports radio and blogs; but really? it’s a game, race, etc. There’s always the drunk, loud, and rude fan anyplace that has a flat-screen and beer. The last two are the ones who revel in the abuse.
    Yes, there are many, many fanboys on here. The my brand is the best ever/this brand is worst ever exist on here. Not to be discounted are the fanboys who crow Chrysler/GM are doing just the bestest ever and are blissfully ignorant of the bailouts and repercussions from the bailouts. Wanna beat on GM like a whack-a-mole? Flail away and ask for more quarters if you need them. I’m done bitching. Now would you wear a Canadiens hat to a Toronto bar:)

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      Mmm… agree that a lot of fans realize it’s a business, but that doesn’t stop them from embracing the fandom part of it with all their hearts. Case in point, my best friend’s husband is a DIE HARD Leafs fan who loves the team with his heart and soul (and does realize and bitch about the business aspect of it).

      In a similar manner, he’s a GM Lifer only ever buying GM products. He doesn’t disparage other brands, but as far as his own purchases, it’s GM or nothing. And I mean NOTHING.

  • avatar

    Maybe it’s me, but this seems like another thinly veiled puff piece for TTAC to try to convince readers that they aren’t anti-domestic.

    “Or you might just love to accuse us of hating General Motors and watching our reaction.” There is no reaction, rebuttal, or defense other than threatening with the banhammer. I don’t think anyone really cares, but the issue is the outright denial and pretending otherwise when you have been called out on it numerous times.

    I personally find it comical that a person who doesn’t know how many turbos are on a Typhoon or Grand National (despite having a GN project car for crying out loud), or what type of engine is in a Corvette is somehow qualified to comment on GM’s engineering, inventory management or future product plans.

    • 0 avatar

      It is not you. This is the anti-GM conspiracy manifesting before your eyes. Now I must replace the second turbo on my phantom GN before I prepare another article about channel stuffing.

      Note that none of those criteria leave you qualified to do anything but tell someone how many turbos or cylinders a car has.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    +1000 Derek.

    I’m still getting over my breakup with Honda but I think for the most part the article rings true to fanboyism among car enthusiasts.

  • avatar

    I grew up with Chrysler products: Dad’s 1950 Plymouth, his 1953 Dodge and his 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer. The last two were garbage, but I still like some Chryslers and owned them for the better part of 30 years.

    I learned to drive in dad’s 1960 Chevy Impala sports sedan and cruised in it and in his 1966 Impala sports sedan. Amazing cars in style and pizazz. They also ran very well, too.

    I never experienced a Ford in my family, so perhaps that’s why I’m not a Ford fan, but that doesn’t mean I hate them. I’ve owned 2 Rangers.

    I like Chevy due to the fact that I got to experience the glamour of the Impalas of old. Of course it’s much, much different today, and has been for the better part of 40 years, but Chevy happens to make a car I like, moreso than any other make, so until that changes, there you go.

    People swear by their Toyotas and Hondas, but they just don’t have any appeal to me, especially when my Chevys have been just as reliable as the CR-V wifey drives.

    Perhaps it’s a nameplate as someone accused me of a few weeks ago, but there you have it. Guilty as charged.

  • avatar
    Larry P2

    For a long time, TTAC was so reflexively anti-EVERYTHING domestic that it occasionally went over the line into outright intellectual dishonesty. Not that some of the Domestics didn’t frequently deserve a LOT of the venom, mind you, its just when it got carried away into delusional, misshapen absurd arguments (C4 Vette, including the ZR1, was supposedly one of “GM’s Deadly Sins.”)

    But you have swung back with some serious objectivity (Baruth’s hosannas to the new mustangs and his ripping of Porsche’s naked exploitative avarice of the gullible; and Range Rover’s and Volkswagen’s borderline criminal outrageous unreliability.)

    Your apology has been accepted.

    But in terms of the Domestic “bailouts” that are obsessively attended to here, both the European and Japanese automakers have learned to do them more quietly and less flamboyantly. There, it is known, without a tinge of irony, as “Industrial Policy.” Generally speaking, once “Industrial Policy” has bailed out an automaker in Europe for 30 years or so, all is forgotten (Lamborghini, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Renault, Citroen, Peugeot…..and EVERYTHING British) it is cleansed of all negative connotations here at TTAC.

    • 0 avatar

      ” Range Rover’s and Volkswagen’s borderline criminal outrageous unreliability”

      A 2005 LR3 has .82 repairs vs. .57 for a Civic and .64 for the Golf. A gap exists, sure. But, it is no where near as large as people like you seem to think.

      • 0 avatar

        VW’s have massive sludging issues due to their poor implementation of direct injection. These issues are all over the forums, but usually happens outside of the warranty period and therefore will never show up on official reports.

      • 0 avatar
        Larry P2

        Mention that statistic to someone about to have the transmission rebuilt in their 50,000 mile three year-old VW @ $5,000, or the suspension bits rebuilt on a 2 year old, 25,000 mile Range Rover @ $15,00.

        But in the interest of fairness, I’ll admit that Range Rover and Volkwagen have drop dead gorgeous interiors that are leagues ahead of the domestics in their use of soft touch buttons and other tactile qualities.

      • 0 avatar

        “Official Reports?”

        Those number come from actual consumers outside the warranty period.

      • 0 avatar

        I find it humorous that someone citing actual stats on a thread titled “The Futility of Being a Fanboy” is being countered by fanboys with anecdotal evidence.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I don’t much care how the European Socialists spend their Pounds, Lira, Francs, or nowadays Euros. When the US Govt spends US Dollars on car companies, I get concerned.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        I don’t much care how the European Socialists spend their Pounds, Lira, Francs, or nowadays Euros. When the US Govt spends US Dollars on car companies, I get concerned. Sorry the Brits still used Pounds last time I was there. Carrying three different currencies was a PITA. US base in the UK, went to the continent often.

      • 0 avatar

        “When the US Govt spends US Dollars on car companies, I get concerned.”

        I, for one, am thrilled that the venture has worked better than was prospected at the beginning. I also find it interesting that some find spending money on keeping the auto industry afloat is treated with such derision but ‘groupon for gramma’ and taking medicare over to a risky venture-capital scheme is lauded as ‘Murican values.

  • avatar

    I like Fords. Always have. It probably stems from my dad growing up with the GT40, that was always his dream car when they brought back the GT…. I can only imagine how he felt… can’t blame him.

    For me, it’s been the Mustang. Growing up in the era of primered out and lowered Hondas being ‘cool’ and being an idiotic thug was accepted, I was different. Give me RWD and a big V8 any day of the week. The Mustang was always this… sure there was miss ques like the Mustang II and weak 255’s and 302’s of the late 70’s and early 80’s, but for those you have stuff like the SCJ 428’s, Boss 302’s, Mach 1’s, Mustang cop cars (yeah, just try running….) the SVT’s and Bullitt. Steve McQueen’s ’68 390 GT is firmly burned into my mind and that’s what a ‘true’ Mustang is to me…. of course everybody has a different idea of what a Mustang is, and really that’s what a Mustang is.

    I was a proud owner of an ’06 GT. I loved that car. Unfortunately though, it was my daily driver so with good stuff like a properly powerful 4.6 3 valve V8, you also get a cramped interior, punishing ride and the interior quality itself was pretty bad. Plus you couldn’t really carry much stuff in it…. I’m an amatuer photographer and all that gear just doesn’t fit…. plus the final nail in the coffin was the AC compressor blowing itself up, taking the whole system with it. I traded it for a ’12 4Runner SR5, because it holds all my stuff with plenty of room to spare, it’s safe and it’s comfortable. Plus I also work for a Toyota dealership, that and Ford turned the Explorer into another soft unibody SUV. I still wanted a real bodt on frame SUV so the ‘Runner easily one that one. I like the ‘Runner just fine and on mine, I see the fanatical attention to detail and quality that Toyota is known for so I’m a happy camper. Going back to the Mustang; would I own another? Absolutely. It would be the weekend car/ track slut/ blow off steam car. Though the interior was cheap, it at least was put together all right and nothing fell off. It never gave me trouble until the AC conked out and it was just a solid car. It wasn’t perfect, but it was honest about what it was, a budget muscle car. It excelled here. I hope it’s new owner understands that as well.

  • avatar

    “Or you might just love to accuse us of hating General Motors and watching our reaction.”

    I think you have it a bit backwards, it should read, “Or you might just love to accuse us of hating General Motors because we love watching your reaction.”

    It seems that every international stumble, or perceived international stumble, by GM is proclaimed daily, front and center, by the Editor-in-Chief. What is one to think? It really gets old. (and I’m no GM fanboy)

  • avatar

    I’ve had three Honda’s in a row, then a Mazda, a Ford, a Hyundai and now a Chevy (HHR SS. even GM’s broken clock is right twice a day). I go for (IMHO) the best car with no brand loyalty.

    As for sports, some years ago I had my epiphany. Almost physically ill after “my” team lost a playoff, I thought “Why do I care. The lowest paid guy on that team made more money this season than I’ll make in a lifetime and he’s probably laughing all the way to the bank over how wrapped up I am in this”. No mas! I do still watch sports from time to time but I keep it in perspective.

  • avatar

    I’ve had Hondas and one Infiniti, but I am in love with the blue oval. I have an F-150, 2x Taurus SHO (94 and 10), that’s my current fleet….Focus Ti Hatch, Mercury Milan, Ford Taurus GL, 2x Ford Explorer (02 and 08), that’s my past fleet…And if you drive anything other than a FoMoCo product, you can go straight to hell in a Pinto with a full tank of gas :-)

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been to hell in a Pinto. Not sure how much gas it had. Didn’t matter, because every 20 miles or so the battery would fall out and you’d have to retie the damnable red bailing twine. I honestly felt that 3″ of high-temp silicone was a huge improvement over the original carburetor gasket (and bolts).

      The thing always started, and never exploded, no matter how much we prayed.

  • avatar

    Woah, Tucker Max is still relevant? I didn’t know this was 2007.

    If you’re going to look at life as “Well Company X just wants my money and doesn’t care about me” then your outlook will make you a pretty awful person to hang around.

    If, instead, you enjoy sports, or car companies, for the camaraderie, rivalry, and general bonding experience, then you’re gonna have a good time.

    To insist that you, TTAC, or any website anywhere have zero bias towards one brand or another strikes me as just…not true. Everybody has some sort of bias. I am a Ford guy. TTAC writers have their own preferences. Asked what car brand you would recommend to a friend, what would you say? Who makes the best overall lineup of cars? Everybody has a different answer for different reasons.

    I could try to reason why I prefer Fords, and any time I write about Ford I try to insure that my readers know that hey, this is a Ford guy writing about Ford’s latest and greatest thing. I might be biased.

    That, to me, is more honest than saying “I don’t have any biases.” Just because I am a Ford guy doesn’t mean a piece of me dies every time I drive my girlfriend’s new Chevy Sonic (though my Blue Oval buddies have given me a lot of shit about it).

    I grew up playing sports. I have a competitive nature. I like to believe, whether true or not, that my team/brand/automaker is better than yours. That was the point I was trying to make in Derek’s post about Scion/Heavy metal; people define themselves by the brands they personally endorse, especially young people.

    Equating my fandom to modern day tribalism or a desperate need to “belong” reveals a certain “holier-than-thou” attitude you seem to be harboring, as well as a hint of hipsterdom, i.e. “too cool to be a fan, man.”

    • 0 avatar

      (Equating my fandom to modern day tribalism or a desperate need to “belong” reveals a certain “holier-than-thou” attitude you seem to be harboring, as well as a hint of hipsterdom, i.e. “too cool to be a fan, man.”)

      I’m feeling this a bit too. Nothing wrong with brand preference, just be honest about why you prefer certain products and give consideration to the facts about others.

      During the years I worked for Nissan, I considered getting on the company lease plan, but in the end, I just stuck with driving a 10 year old Oldsmobile or Grand Marquis because Nissan didn’t offer anything (that I could afford, I really dug the boxy 1st gen M45) that made me want to cough up the dough.

      if I HAD to buy a new car, I probably would have gotten a Nissan out of principle, but that scenario never occurred.

    • 0 avatar

      Well that’s exactly what I enjoy cars for. All the good automotive-related memories I have involve people and have nothing to do with brands.

  • avatar

    Everyone, including TTAC contributors, is biased. Karesh comes closest to impartiality, and rarely makes unsubstantiated proclamations that something is simply “better”. But, he still lives in Detroit: it’s understandable that he roots for the success of the home team. As a Californian, I have a similar affinity for Tesla.

    Likewise, Bertel. After working with VW for decades, he has a clear preference for the company over any other. He has made no secret of the fact he thinks VW has better products and more competent management than its American and European competition.

    So while I agree that none of TTAC’s writers have a calculated “agenda”, I think it’s disingenuous to say that TTAC has zero bias.

  • avatar

    My brother-in-law named my nephew Ford after the cars, and over-ruled his wife’s say, who was against it. The article reminded me more of their relationship than his dedication to the Ford Motor Co… although that’s dedication to fanboi-ism if I’ve ever seen it. I don’t like him much; he carries the same type of narrow-minded no-exceptions views with him to the rest of life.

  • avatar

    I’m not so much a fan of certain brands as I am of certain cars. I identify as a ‘Volvo guy’, sure, but that doesn’t carry over so much to the newer cars – sure, I’d take a C30 or V50, but other than that, they’ve made nothing in the past decade that does a whole lot for me. No, I’ve owned several RWD models, learned to drive in a 244, and I love them for what they are – tanklike, easily repaired, wonderful in snow – rather than what the company is.

    Most importantly, I have no trouble admitting how much I enjoy occasionally driving my grandfather’s Outback or my roommate’s old Civic. Good cars are good cars, no matter who builds ’em.

  • avatar

    Guilty as charged!

  • avatar

    Most of my automotive brand associations I feel are pretty logical. When it comes time to spend money directly with a given manufacturer, I spend it on a product that I want and need, but also give consideration how spending money with that company affects the people I know and my community.

    Living in a Detroit 3 town, the choices are easy. GM, Ford and Chrysler have provided me plenty of choices for whatever vehicle I’ve needed at reasonable cost and are built or have components that support people I know (and don’t know) in my community. I’ve never needed to shop an import brand (although I have owned used ones).

    Some may feel Detroit 3 vehicles are of poor quality and it illogical to buy one just because they’re built in town. As I’ve always known exactly what product I’m buying, I’ve never had an issue that would cause me to feel that way.

    When it comes to project cars, I again lean towards Detroit cars because I prefer the style of the older vehicles and the powertrains. I like big honkin engines that are cheap and easy to make power with. Logical right? A 2JZ fan might not agree, but a little rivalrly only improves the brand. I have nothing against a lightweight euro or japanese chassis with a big V8 either.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I think the “bias” accusation is mostly the result of the inevitable fact that everyone — and enthusiasts to an even greater degree — comes with a built-in set of predilections, values and priorities. These manifest themselves in all kinds of ways, big and small, in the content of posts and articles.

    A really good example of this is the seeming inconsistency between the critical reception given to the revised Honda Civic (and perhaps the CR-V, too) and its reception by the marketplace. It’s not that the enthusiast world is biased against Honda, it’s that enthusiasts’ values and priorities are different from the bulk of people who buy automobiles.

    Some of the cars which TTAC allegedly is biased towards may simply contain the tradeoffs and characteristics that TTAC’s staff values. Conversely, some of the the cars (and manufacturers) against with TTAC is allegedly biased my simply reflect a different set of values and priorities than those held by TTAC.

    “Bias” as a pejorative usually implies unthinking support or opposition; but I don’t think that’s the root of TTAC writers’ position. Rather, there position is the product of those priorities and values; and there’s nothing to indicate that they don’t think about them from time to time.

  • avatar

    I only favour cars made by the blue oval because I’ve spent so many friggin hours sweating and cursing and getting covered in sh*t and grease whilst working under the bonnet on so many different Fords that I feel the most comfortable owning one.
    That said, after more than a dozen FoMoCo products over the past 10 years I now drive a Chevy.

  • avatar

    I own a Camaro, a Mustang, and a Cobalt, Yes I am a GM/Domestic fanboy.

    I did drive a Genisis stick shift a couple of weeks ago. I must say, I was impressed. No fear of me buying a Korean car,but I was impressed.

  • avatar

    I have absolutely no brand loyalty and have owned cars with VINs starting with J, W and recently even 1. But I do have dogmas. I’ve only owned rear wheel drive cars and I’ve only owned manual transmission cars. The closest that my loyalty to rear wheel drive and manual transmission cars has come to being an abusive relationship is when those requirements led me to get a BWM.

  • avatar

    There are 2 types of fans out there. Those who support their team no matter what and those that support their team but can be honest about them to.
    Some fans blame the ref for a bad game and get very angry at other fans who will say their team played a bad game and made mistakes.

    I see TTAC as the type of fan who can admit mistakes and be honest about the game.

  • avatar

    I pretty much subscribe to the Lee Iacocca philosophy of “If a better car exists, buy it”. I am not really loyal to one brand in particular, but I do like Audi.

    Audi is on the same level as BMW and Mercedes but doesn’t nickel-and-dime their customers for options. One of the reasons I bought a Q7 over a Gl450 was the Q7 had heated leather seats standard and that was a combines $3000 option on the Gl.

    I also like Subaru, because they offer the most for the money out of any automaker, and they are actually very high quality.

  • avatar

    I consider TTAC bias only in that they play to the sterotype that all new Hondas and Toyotas are bland, they may not be that interesting but we don’t need to be reminded of it so often.

    Theres that and Panthers, I like panthers but they’re not really something that I can openly suggest to everyone.

    As far as cars that I myself hate, I can’t think of any.

    I’m a car buff that appreciates cars for what they are and I don’t expect “The handling of a BMW” nor “The power of a Bugatti”. If a cars a plain sedan I expect comfort, safety, and space, if its a SCUV thingy I expect ground clearence, comfort, room, and safety, if its an economy car I expect decent mpg!

    I don’t think that TTAC is bias towards GM, GMs just a hot spot for stories and articles. I DO think that several of the TTAC members do play to the illogical “Japanese Grocery Getter Sedans are boring” bandwagon and if its to continue I’d like a decent explanation as to why FF sedans should deliver a thrilling experience.

  • avatar

    I am a Ford fan for the simple fact that in college I walked away unscathed from a crash that should have killed or maimed me. This crash gave me an appreciation for the quality and ruggedness of Ford trucks in particular. I am sure there are other vehicles out there that would have fared equally as well but luckily haven’t had the opportunity to find out.

  • avatar

    Fanboy behavior changes with context.

    If I was stuck in a North Korean prison with mikey, our respective loves for Hyundai and GM would vanish, as would our differing views on unions. But dedicated blog sites attract dedicated fans of all stripes, and it’s supposed to be a safe place to air these preferences.

    Even as a lifelong western Pennsylvania resident, I’ve never developed an affinity for sports teams. Even though I spent 8 years at the University of Pittsburgh, I still can’t hate Penn State fans, who may be the most rabid of any fans in the US. Non-US soccer fans may be even more rabid.

  • avatar

    My father always drove company vehicles. He got a good sampling of Detroit iron over his career. In my formative years he was on a steady diet of Buick’s and Oldsmobile. Mom drove an Oldsmobile. They were fine cars for the time but I remember getting stranded a few times and other various problems. They were all blah vehicles.

    Then dad got this new car from Ford, the Taurus. It looked different which I liked, and what really sticks out is how much Dad raved about how much better it was than everything he’d had in the last 10+ years. Dad was now a Ford man. (Conversely he had some Chrysler’s in the 70’s and said they were the worst vehicles he’d ever driven.)

    As an adult I was vehicle shopping and told Dad that Ford had garbage for vehicles (late 90’s) and bought a Honda. He rode in my Accord just once and agreed, eventually buying several Honda products.

    Fast forward 10+ years and I tell Dad that Honda has lost their way and Ford has a better product. He goes test driving and wants to buy Mom a new Taurus now. Amusing.

    A funny side story is that now my brother is the one driving company vehicles. After a Dodge Caravan he is now the one saying Chrysler is garbage and he’d never suggest anyone buy one. Guess some things in the family don’t change.

  • avatar

    “Others exhibit Salafist-like fanatical affiliation to a faceless entity that doesn’t care a lick about them beyond their pocketbook.”

    A while back we visited a relative of my wife’s and they said “we’re Ford people” in a conversation about cars. Stunned, in the car after we left I said to my wife, am I thinking wrong, but arent’ these the people who sued Ford because their Lincoln was a piece of crap? Oh yes, I was thinking correctly, it’s them.

    What? But then I never did get the team loyalty thing either.


  • avatar

    I married into a Dodge family. The first new car I bought when I got married was a Civic. My father-in-law disapproved and told me that I should have instead bought a Neon. Right then I knew that brand loyalty had a certain amount of blindness to it.

    Today my mom has that ’98 Civic and it still runs great. I doubt I’d be saying that about a Neon!

  • avatar

    I’m a fanboy of cars more than brands. Always loved the Impreza line (especially the 2 I owned), love the GTI (despite selling my MKV due to reliability issues), MINI Cooper (own an ’05 S), BMW 3 series (e30 M3 in particular), 4Runners (own a 5th gen), Land Cruisers, and the FR-S/BRZ twins. As far as brands, I typically like Subarus and Toyotas for generally being straight forward, good, practical, well thought out cars.

    I have a particular distaste for cars that I deem overweight, overwrought, or built to a marketers spec sheet.

  • avatar

    You bring up a good point. A lot of auto-journalism publications get accused of favoring or bashing one brand entirely too much. Many readers of Motor Trend speculate that BMW is conducting some under-the-table deals with the magazine company…

    I am a big General Motors fan. But you will not hear me ranting about anti-GM posts on TTAC. Why? Because I understand that GM is flawed. Some of the stuff it does is stupid. And TTAC rightly points those things out.


  • avatar

    I don’t consider myself a “Fanboy” of any particular make.
    I do find myself defending vehicles that get dumped on by people that have only owned or rented the el cheapo base model.
    Oddly almost all of them are GM products.

    I don’t see TTAC as being “biased”(wasn’t that word banned here?)
    TTAC seems to be the only place I can go that has a professional atmosphere.

    “they are ultimately after your money, and everything else is secondary.”
    I love that line. Car makers keep making the cars that they do because they sell. If it stops selling it goes away.
    I’m a different breed though.

  • avatar

    I couldn’t care less about sports. I was never socialized to like sports, since my dad is an engineer who played sports but didn’t watch them, since and my mom is a former-hippie who thought football was immoral. I haven’t found a reason to start caring now.

    But I *AM* a car fan like lots of people are sports fans. I love seeing the engineering, the competition, and one-upmanship. I’ve been treated extraordinarily well by some (Prius), subjected to shoddy engineering by others (Volkswagen), and found others steadily earning more and more respect every year (Ford).

    But, like any sports fan who claims loyalty to the game above all, is the fact that cars are useful and interesting and come with fascinating consequences/costs/tradeoffs and that’s what I really care about.

  • avatar

    Are we talking about being a Fanboi or of being predisposed to a particular brand.

    xxxx families usually have a certain bias because that is what they are familiar with. My experience with them is that they are loyal to a brand not so much because of the great vehicles but because they have a long standing relationship with a certain dealer and that dealer treats them very very well unlike brand x up the street.

    I will admit I have an inherent bias towards GM but that doesn’t mean I’m not critical of them, I WANT them to do better, I want Cadillac to be the standard of the world, I want Chevy to kick ford/toyota/vw’s butt when it comes to vehicles.

    The fact is they don’t, they are merely competitive and not class leading. I know many of the reasons why this is so, but in the end, they just aren’t executing to the level of some other manufacturers. However I do also feel that GM gets a bad rap on many levels and some of the criticism is more coming from an inherent hate of GM than a legitimate complaint. I also do wonder why people call GM on doing certain things when nearly every manufacturer does the same thing, those I find unfair. Overall I don’t feel TTAC is anti-GM, what I’ve seen here is pretty fair appraisals of GM products.

    I’ve owned Chryslers, Ford, Chevy, Cadillac, nothing imported but that is about to change (unless you count my Triumph motorcycle)

    So does this make me a fanboi or a brand enthusiast? Where do you draw the line? I’m certainly critical of GM, I want GM to do better, in some ways (not because of the bailout) but because I think if GM does well, the US will be perceived in engineering etc much like the Germans are. Right now the USA is playing second fiddle to nearly everyone reputation wise when it comes to manufacturing and that alone bothers me. I think cars are in some ways ambassadors of a country, and well look what our cars are saying around the world.

    Does that make anyone happy? I know it doesn’t make me happy.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Hmm… Datsun; Plymouth; Datsun; Dodge; Saturn; Oldsmobile; Cadillac; Dodge; Steyr-Puch; Buick; Toyota; AMC.

    That definitely confirms it; I am clearly biased towards cars. If there’s any real brand loyalty in me it’s towards Mopar’s products, as their performance parts division doesn’t play favorites and their proponents are among the most wild-eyed bat$#!+-insane people out on the track.

    I’m also a “5 doors or nothing” type now – but it doesn’t need a diesel power plant and manual transmissions are not de rigueur, as I’m more than secure enough to let someone/something else do the shifting for me.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    I guess I’ll take this time to note that while many here whine about auto industry subsidies,I’ve yet to see one comment about major league sports teams sucking up bloated tax credits,sweetheart parking fee deals,or taxpayer-funded sports arenas on public lands.Public lands that invariably seem to sell,or lease,at below market value,justified by dubious claims of redevelopment,or(low wage)job creation .While I’m off topic,why should the non-sports viewing public have to further subsidize all this boring,overpriced,meat in motion via cable,internet,and satellite packages? Why pay for mandatory basic cable sports channels that cost upwards of 100% more to broadcast vs other basic cable stations? Oh yeah,cars,bias,etc… Automotive journalists of all stripes & sites share a disproportionate love of German road sedans due to their being the closest thing metaphorically to wearing a white towel at a bathhouse.

  • avatar

    I am not loyal to ANY company… I am only loyal to an individual car that will meet my needs/desires. While my Accord and now the TSX I replaced it with have been probably my 2 favorite rides ever, I would not buy anything by any Asian brand in 2013.

    If you go back 5 years, to get a mid or full sized fully loaded (for me “loaded” means leather, moonroof, nav) sedan with a manual, you had to buy an import brand almost exclusively. Now suddenly there’s the new Fusion, the Regal, Verano, Cruze that let you “build it your way”… and almost nothing from the imports (that are affordable to the average man) that meet that criteria. Vanilla Dude would be proud.

    My money and “loyalty” goes to who makes cars that I would want to buy.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • RHD: An Applecart (very clever of you, by the way) could be an electrified, high-tech shopping trolley that rings up...
  • RHD: These names are much better than ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 and so on. What the #### is VW thinking?
  • Inside Looking Out: Saturn tried that – did not work. Can we say that Saturn was an iPhone of the cars?
  • conundrum: The Apple business plan of buying something for $50 each from outside supplier(s) and selling it for $1500...
  • Inside Looking Out: Van Rivian.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber