Chip Shortage Claims an Unusual Victim: DriveTribe

DriveTribe, a social-media site that was focused on the automotive industry and car enthusiasm, has shut down.

The cause: The semiconductor chip shortage.

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Automotive News To End Article Comments Dec. 1

In a sign of the times, Automotive News will be killing comments on its articles, starting tomorrow.

Don’t worry, we have no plans to follow suit.

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On Decisions, Consequences, and Being 'That Guy'

We are constantly making decisions as we all hurtle through this life toward a destination unknown.

Sometimes these decisions turn out to be the “correct” decision, however “correct” is defined within the relevant context. Sometimes it’s the opposite.

The problem is that while the outcome of our decisions is sometimes obvious – I know when I order that one more beer that I’m kicking a payment of minor pain down the road to tomorrow – sometimes, the outcome isn’t foreseeable. Especially when you’re making a decision that feels correct at the moment (and defensible in hindsight), and yet a nasty surprise is just seconds away from smacking you in the face.

In other words, sometimes you make a decision that seems correct, seems low risk, one that others would agree with – and it still all goes to hell.

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Stop the Porsche Panic: The Stop-Sale of Manual GT3s in California is No Big Deal

It’s a headline that sounds ready-made for outrage-clicks from both the #savethemanuals crowd and those who dislike too much regulation of autos: “Porsche 911 GT3 Manual Can’t be Sold in California.”

Some outlets used some variation of that wording when reporting the story. A story that sounds like a case of overbearing regulators killing the fun by meddling in the free market. Add in the California factor — remember, it’s the only state that can set its own emissions standards — and feel the blood boil.

Truth is, the story is a bit more mundane than all that.

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Chicago Auto Show Set to Return in July

The 2020 Chicago Auto Show was, as far this author knows, the last major auto show to take place before COVID shut the world down.

Now, it might be the first auto show to return.

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There's Even More to the Voltswagen/Volkswagen Story [UPDATED]

While giving my opinion last week on the Volkswagen April Fool’s Day scandal, I wrote that I hope it would be the last time I posted about it.

Cue Ron White voice: “I was wrong.”

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Volkswagen's Prank Play Presents Problems [UPDATED]

I hope this is the last time I write about Volkswagen’s April Fool’s Day faceplant this week.

Really, I do. The clicks are nice, but variety is the spice of life.

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Volkswagen Apparently Played Us and Everyone Else

Late yesterday, news dropped that Volkswagen planned to change its name to Voltswagen. A lot of automotive journalists noted the date and called out the announcement as a premature April’s Fool prank, but further reporting seemed to confirm that the name change was indeed real.

Turns out that it really is an April Fool’s prank gone awry.

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Beware the Secret Guest Post

Every day my inbox fills with scammy, scummy come-ons from folks who are trying to sell TTAC on allowing them to guest post.

They usually work like this – the “person” (emails could be coming from someone operating under a pseudonym, or even a bot) behind the email is either offering to pay us to run a guest post, written by them, that would create a bunch of links back to whatever product they’re hawking.

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Housekeeping: How the Press Loan System Works

When I got hired on at TTAC, I checked with our news team about what we were expected to disclose when it came to considerations from automakers. Steph told me that unlike with some other outlets, there was no need to disclose how the press-car system works, since y’all knew the deal.

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Housekeeping: Are You TTAC's Next Top News Contributor?

As you saw last week, our news chief Steph Willems left the daily news grind behind to pursue an opportunity outside of automotive journalism. That leaves us looking for our next news guru.

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Dear Auto Journalists: Auto Shows Aren't Really for Us

Last week, the New York Times ran an article about auto shows, and what the future may hold for them both during the pandemic and in the post-Covid19 future.

Auto shows are in the news because the pandemic caused the 2020 New York Auto Show to be scrapped, along with Detroit – and in a year in which Detroit moved the show to the summer for the first time. The 2020 Los Angeles Show is still on, as of now, but as with any large event scheduled for later this year, uncertainty surrounds it. The rumor mill suggests it too will be canceled.

While the article itself was a perfectly standard feature story, it was the discussion about it in Facebook groups that host members of the automotive media (as well as PR flacks and other industry professionals) that missed the point, in my opinion.

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Super Piston Slap: Wish You Were Here, Herr Johnson!
Perhaps you’ve read about Davey G Johnson, the pioneer online car scribe that never lost his “voice” as he rose up journalism’s ranks. He was a sounding board for my autoblogging career (at it were), a TTAC well wisher and a willing partner in the Mehta brother’s looney misadventures. And now, every time time I see the red lights on TTAC’s Yoast SEO plug-in, I’m reminded how his SEO-unfriendly ledes weaved a story with seemingly no connection to the automobile covered, but he made it work before you had to click to see more. Nobody did it like Herr Johnson: making my last face-to-face with the legend even more bittersweet. Because the finale to our conversation is so suitably Davey…
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Going Car-free May Work for You, But It Won't Work For All

Journalist Randy Essex of the Detroit Free Press took to those same digital pages last week to discuss how great his new car-free life is, even during the life-threatening cold of the polar vortex.

To which I say, good for him. If he’s happy living a car-free life in Detroit, more power to him. But his article is just the latest part of a conversation happening, at least in certain circles on social media, about going car-free.

This isn’t to pick on Essex. Again, if not having their own car works for him and his wife, that’s fine with me. To each their own, you do you, all that jazz. But going car-free won’t work for everyone, and urbanites, especially urbanite auto journalists, need to remember that.

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It's Electric - or Electrified - Whatever, Just Get It Right

The 2018 North American International Auto Show, aka the Detroit Auto Show, is upon us, and at least one of the new vehicles shown will be electrified. But not necessarily electric.

Yet, journalists, both those who cover the industry and especially those who normally work other beats (such as business or news), will continue to incorrectly conflate the two. Which in turn will give this editor even more gray hairs.

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  • FreedMike “Tanner Lee Hellbusch” is the best perp name I’ve heard in some time. Props to the police for this!
  • ToolGuy Road and Track are two different things. I will not track any of my road cars, and almost any single thing I might do to make a road car better on the track would tend to make it worse on the road. If I had a billion dollars today, I would buy and track an Ariel Atom (1,349 lbs), but never drive it on the road.[actually - Road, Track and Truck are *three* different things, but I digress]Will I miss the sound of lunatics driving performance ICE Mopars irresponsibly on public roads? No I will not. (Will the torque of performance Stellantis EVs get the maniacs in trouble even more easily? Probably.)Will I miss doing oil changes and pumping smelly gasoline? Nope.
  • FreedMike “…and that means you must also select the 10-speed automatic transmission. “If it’s the same 10 speed from the Mustang, avoid it like scabies.
  • 6-speed Pomodoro I'm not opposed to an EV, but I have no idea what one would have to have or look like to compel me to buy one. The three things I look for in a car are seat comfort, sound, and a stick shift. I generally think I'm waiting for at least the generation after the next generation for engineers to figure out what makes EVs worth driving. That puts us around 2030, so why worry about it? But who knows. Maybe Honda will ace the compact sports EV with an s600amp and pull me in.
  • THX1136 Agree with SCE, the cost alone puts me out of the equation. Would I like an EV Charger, sure but see previous sentence.