Category: Media

By on September 6, 2018

With Ford Motor Company dropping all but one car from its lineup to focus on utility vehicles and crossovers, there’s little reason to run ad campaigns for both. You don’t see Coca-Cola running spots for both Diet Coke and Coke BlāK, as the latter of the two beverages disappeared from store shelves roughly a decade ago. Companies don’t bother pushing products they don’t have, and pretty soon Ford won’t have cars.

Thus, the automaker has ended all nationwide marketing for the Fiesta, Focus, Taurus, and Fusion. Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said the automaker intends to use the freed advertising dollars on the company’s current and forthcoming utility models — setting aside a portion for the Mustang. But the Fusion, which is slated to stick around for another two years, will have to go without. Read More >

By on April 17, 2018

Depending on who you believe, Tesla is either the innocent victim of a shadowy, union-backed disinformation campaign peddled by so-called journalists, or a cynical, profit-chasing company willing to underplay injury statistics in a bid to keep its operation looking viable and progressive.

It’s not hard to fall into one of these two camps.

There’s a battle raging between the electric automaker and the journalists behind an explosive story published in Reveal, a publication of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting. In it, Reveal claims workers at Tesla’s Fremont assembly plant face unsafe working conditions resulting from an all-hands-on-deck-style work culture. Workplace injuries are often categorized as personal medical issues, the report stated, and CEO Elon Musk’s dislike of the color yellow (a color used to mark workplace hazards) has created further risk to employees.

False, false, and false, Tesla claims. Read More >

By on November 29, 2017

Infiniti G20, Image: Wikimedia

Don’t look now, but there’s a major shortage affecting the automotive industry. Well, maybe that’s putting it a bit too strongly. There is a major shortage — but it primarily affects the automotive blogging industry, and the shortage in question is a shortage of history.

Here’s the problem in a nutshell: There are approximately one zillion car websites on the Internet, each of them trying to cook up 10 new stories a day to “increase engagement.” So how do you get those 10 stories? You can get a few of them from Automotive News and a few more from press releases, but that won’t fill the hopper all the way to the brim. To paraphrase the talking house in D.H. Lawrence’s sublime The Rocking-Horse Winner, “There must be more stories!” So you start looking for Wacky Car History Features to write. The problem is that this ground has been worn smooth by the grubby fingers of the second-tier blogger class. Everything you can think of has already been written up 10 times by drooling morons. The Mercedes 500E? The “Pasha” interior Porsches? The Mazda Cosmo? They’ve all been done to death. You’d better start looking at more esoteric stuff than that, like the Mitsuoka Viewt… oh shit, that’s been covered thirty times.

Eventually you give up and just start throwing darts at the Standard Catalog Of Imported Cars. Which brings us to Jason Torchinsky’s “Meh Car Monday” on the Infiniti G20. I think Torch is a great writer and a great person and a great dad, and to be fair the G20 piece is pretty well-balanced. The G20 has received much worse from far less talented writers; Doug DeMuro applied his genial disregard for the truth in the vague direction of the smallest Infiniti a few years back, claiming that it was just a Sentra. He was wrong, and Torch is careful to disavow that claim in his piece, but I’m a little troubled nevertheless.

Allow me to explain why the G20 was anything but “meh”, and why it’s important to remember that fact.

Read More >

By on September 25, 2017

bmw-new-logo-1920x1080

Interested in distinguishing its premium models from the rest of the flotsam and jetsam, BMW is launching a “new” black-and-white logo it will use to market its “flaggschiff” units around the globe. The updated look was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show and will be used for the 7 series and i8 coupe, as well as the forthcoming 8 series coupe, convertible, i8 roadster and X7 SUV.

Rumored to be similar to the cheesy carbon variant of the company’s emblem found in numerous aftermarket Ebay listings, the new logo is essentially the old one, only desaturated into monochrome with the company’s full name — Bayerische Motoren Werke — written out in its entirety. However, there seems to be some confusion as to how the new logo will be used and what its heritage actually entails.  Read More >

By on June 9, 2017

tesla model x, Image: Tesla Motors

A horrible situation transpired in Midtown Detroit yesterday evening, in which the driver of an old Chevrolet Silverado pickup crossed the center line on Canfield Avenue, near Second Street, and struck four people standing outside the Shinola store.

According to the latest reports, a 73-year-old man has died, while two others remain in hospital in serious condition. The 42-year-old driver, who has reportedly never held a license in his life and was driving with illegal plates, was arrested at the scene. He told police he had taken two Ecstacy pills, Xanax, and officers also suspect he was under the influence of alcohol.

An unidentified passenger riding in the truck told media he didn’t know why the driver crossed the line, adding that he tried to stop the vehicle by jamming the gearshift lever into “park.”

What makes this story different from the many instances of innocent bystanders being injured by passenger cars not being where they’re supposed to be (not to mention criminally irresponsible behavior on the part of vehicle operators) is the location of the crash, and the reason those pedestrians were standing along Canfield.

It was a Tesla pop-up event. And those bystanders were looking at Tesla vehicles near a mobile design studio. As early reports filtered out, some decided to take speculation to new heights. Read More >

By on May 15, 2017

bmw grille

Last week’s ABC News investigation into unrecalled BMW models bursting into flames after being parked raised a number of questions, but didn’t provide viewers with many answers.

While the automaker, like others, has seen its fair share of fire-related safety recalls in recent years, the models involved in the apparent rash of spontaneous fires appear quite diverse — both in model type and age. Any fire can have a number of causes, leading many to see the report as sensationalism, especially after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it couldn’t find a recall-worthy issue behind the blazes.

After taking time to examine ABC‘s findings, BMW decided to speak out. Read More >

By on May 11, 2017

[Image: Wikimedia Commons]

While BMW definitely isn’t alone in this regard, the company’s safety recalls often contain an ear-piquing phrase: “Risk of fire.”

The German luxury automaker has had no shortage of fire-related recalls in past years, but a ABC News investigation points to dozens of recent fires that destroyed vehicles not under recall. The models involved reportedly span the gamut of the brand’s product lineup, but the fires share a common trait. Each blaze broke out after the vehicle had been shut off — in one case, after the vehicle had sat dormant for three or four days. Read More >

By on April 17, 2017

car-saviors-still

Automotive television has developed some extremely bad habits, the worst of which is creating false reality show-style drama among characters with no appreciable personalities. Build shows are the absolute worst for this, yet the agreed-upon recipe seems to be to force one-dimensional characters to argue with one another, intercut with B-roll footage of people working on a car. Rinse and repeat.

While shows like Top Gear and The Grand Tour manage to avoid this problem — by providing entertaining short films, product reviews, and humorous banter — most programs where the host touches a wrench becomes painful to watch within the first few minutes. There are, of course, mainstream exceptions. Mighty Car Mods and RoadKill are both project-oriented shows that remain enjoyable due the presenters’ enthusiasm, authenticity, and willingness to fail. However, neither of those examples exist on a major television network and persist as online-only affairs. And there isn’t really a build show on cable that anyone should consider on par with either.

However, there could be a contender when the Discovery Channel airs its first episode of Car Saviors tonight.  Read More >

By on March 20, 2017

Volkswagen Car Sex Commercial Screenshot

Volkswagen USA released an advertisement on YouTube today entitled “Luv Bug,” and it uses the ever-popular growing family angle to appeal to the customer.

Click through to watch this interesting take on in-car entertainment, and see if you spot what’s wrong. Read More >

By on February 25, 2017

untitled

Onlookers outside Detroit’s Cobo Center took part in a great American pastime yesterday. That is, thrilling at the impending destruction of an airborne 1969 Dodge Charger.

You know the one. Orange, Confederate flag emblazoned on the roof, once the star of a popular TV show that was serviceable in its first season, but then got really stupid. There’s a pull, an irresistible force that compels us to find old B-body Chargers — ideally a ’69, sometimes a ’68 but never a ’70 — and launch those nose-heavy suckers to a frame-twisting death.

It’s the only classic, lusted-after muscle car that we associate with low-altitude flight and, for some reason, we continue to applaud the torture and destruction of the remaining examples. Why? Read More >

By on February 8, 2017

2017 Kia Niro Hybrid Hotel Emma, Image: © 2017 Mark Stevenson/The Truth About Cars

Simon Cameron, the 26th United States Secretary of War, is known for saying, “An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought.”

He could have said the same thing about supposed automotive journalists, too.

Wayne Gerdes, who was hired by Kia to set a Guinness World Record for fuel economy in the new Niro Hybrid, has just posted his review of the same vehicle. You know exactly how this is going to go.

Read More >

By on November 29, 2016

Untitled

Do you remember the last Volvo commercial you saw? Or any Volvo commercial?

If the answer is “no,” you clearly haven’t seen the videos offered up by Volvo Trucks, which somehow manage to make 18-wheelers seem as alluring as a two-seat droptop. By staging stunts that compel viewers to seek out a heavy truck license, the company’s online videos have given the truck maker a strong media presence and plenty of word of mouth.

It’s too bad that Volvo Cars (long since snatched from under the Volvo Group corporate umbrella) can’t do the same thing. Read More >

By on October 12, 2016

BMW Films

Before Twitter and Facebook and all that other social media crap that complicates your life, BMW was hiring legendary (or noted) filmmakers to shoot a series of eight 10-minute short films.

The directors instilled their years of experience into the plot and cinematography of each spot, with big-name actors brought on for flashy star power. Perhaps the last time Madonna was relevant was in one of these flicks. (It was directed by Guy Ritchie — when he was last relevant, too. —Mark) And all of this happened before YouTube! Can you believe how much you’ve aged?

Well, BMW Films is back, and it’s packing a Brit. Read More >

By on October 8, 2016

2015 Ram 1500 Rebel

Having your vehicles prominently featured in a big-ticket Hollywood film is any automaker’s dream, but Ram’s starring role in the upcoming movie Monster Trucks has turned into a nightmare.

Apparently, the film is so awful that Paramount Pictures has delayed its release three times and taken the odd step of booking a $115 million impairment charge, Automotive News reports. A write-down, in other words.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles wants the promotion, but could it end up gaining notoriety by starring in a mega-dud? Read More >

By on September 26, 2016

Audi RS7 ad

To disenfranchised voters, sitting through the first of the presidential debates tonight will be akin to laying back in a 19th century dentist’s chair. Open wide.

Politics (mostly) aside, Audi saw the potential viewership and wasn’t about to let a TV audience of that size pass it by. In its new spot for the Audi RS7, the automaker stages a John Woo-worthy valet battle that should provide some viewer relief. Read More >

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