Press-car abuse is a part of the automotive journalism industry. So, too, is damage caused by normally diligent journalists who made a mistake/had some bad luck. I don’t intentionally abuse vehicles, but I’ve dented and dinged and broken a few things because sometimes shit happens.
What I have not done is use a press car to help flood victims. Nor have I been scolded for doing so, even though the car wasn’t apparently damaged.
[Editor’s note: This article was originally posted with the title “ Why Are We Given A New Car To Drive Each Week? And How? GCBC’s Background, Ethics, And Methods Explained” on GoodCarBadCar on March 28, 2016. I asked Tim if we could repost it here because, whether he knows it or not, he’s one of the very few people in this business you should aspire to be if you want to become an automotive journalist. It is reposted here with his permission and for your education. —MS]
Of the 6200+ posts on GoodCarBadCar, only 3 percent are car reviews. In February 2016, for example, we published five reviews on GCBC plus 66 other articles, not to mention another eight submissions at The Truth About Cars and six more at Autofocus.ca.
Yet it is with increasing frequency that the people with whom I have personal contact — whether in conversation at visiting hours for a funeral, in emails from long-time readers, when questioned by soon-to-be car buyers — clearly believe that the bulk of my work revolves around driving fast cars down twisty roads.
After reading Jack’s “mean-spiritedly annotated” interpretation of Motor Trend’s Scott Evans’ rollover of a Cadillac ATS at a press event and then Scott’s safe-n-sane account of his unfortunate off-road adventure, I remembered 24 Hours of LeMons head honcho Jay Lamm mentioning that he’d rolled a Range Rover in spectacular fashion during his car-journo days. With all this talk about upside-down press cars lately, I decided to interview Mr. Lamm about his wreck and the effects it had on his subsequent career.
(Today’s guest post comes from Peter Dushenski. While most journalists love to brag about what kind of press cars they can get access to, Peter is here to share the story of how he got banned from from fleets. It’s one you won’t often hear. – DK)
“Also I must inform you that I will no longer be supplying you with Toyota or BMW vehicles.”
That was it.
That was the very last line in an e-mail I received last week from The Press Fleet Manager. No explanation followed. Not even a sign-off remark. No “Sincerely”, no “Regards”. No frivolity.
The man on the other end of the phone was the “Wheels” editor for the Smallville Citizen-Journal and he was furious. There was no Mythos RoadSquisher SUV in his driveway! His press car had not been delivered! Instead, there was an email at the top of his in-box explaining that the journalist who had been driving the Mythos the previous week had crashed it, along with an assurance that he would be rescheduled for the next available vehicle as soon as possible.
“You stupid bitch,” he screamed into the phone, “what the f— do you think I’m going to drive this week?” My friend, a pert young woman who works for one of the major press-car agencies, was flabbergasted.
“Sir, if you drive your own car for a few days, we will make sure to get you—” The volume on the other end went up another notch.
“I DON’T OWN A CAR, YOU IGNORANT STINKING C–T! GET ME A CAR NOW! TODAY! OR FIND ANOTHER JOB WHERE YOU CAN SUCK C–K ALL DAY LONG!”
“Sir, what can I do, the fleet is completely empty—”
“GET UP AND WALK YOUR DIRTY WHORE ASS TO THE AIRPORT RENTAL COUNTER AND GET ME A CAR! AND HAVE IT DELIVERED! IN THE NEXT TWO HOURS!” And that, my friends, is exactly what she did.
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- Inside Looking Out For midsize sedan it is too small. It basically is a compact car.
- Stodge I test drove the 200S and damn, its suspension was so firm, I was convinced it didn't actually include suspension at all. It hurt my spine and hip, it was that firm.
- MRF 95 T-Bird If Mopar had only offered sport hatch versions of the 200 and or Dart they might have sold more of them for folks who wanted some more versatility without having to go for a small utility Compass Patriot or new at the time Renegade or Cherokee.
- El scotto I started driving in the late 70's. The cars high school kids could afford and wanted were very very worn out muscle cars. Oh Lordy those V-8's bring back some happy memories. Oh there some outliers in my crowd, a VW Bug and a Dodge Scamp with slant six; neither car would die. In 10 years their will be young people wanting very used Teslas or Dodge's with hemis. B&B, I say that if someone is excited about their EV, Hybrid, or Hemi welcome them to the club of people who like cars.
- El scotto Farley and Billy Ford need to put on some jeans, flannel shirts and PPE. They should (but never will) walk the factory floors and ask "what is wrong?", "what could we be doing better?"Let me caveat that. Let Jimmy and Billy explain that any constructive criticisms will be non-attributable. Oh they can use platitude like making the house level again or setting the ship on the right course.Sadly I suspect than many, many Power Points will die in vain in the executive suites in Dearborn. At least three if not four very expensive consulting teams will be hired to review Ford's QC problems. Four consulting teams will mean four different solutions. None them will be put in action. Ford will still have huge QC problems.