the road ahead
Change is the promise of the new administration in D.C. It is also the
admonishment of John Zimmermann in his
Change Your Mind blog. He is a
veteran automotive journalist with three decades of experience in the motorsports publishing industry. He says changing our minds
“does not mean we have to abandon the American ideal, for many would say that
just such an abandonment is what got us into these straits in the first place.
The fabled American spirit is precisely what we need to get us out of this mess,
and we cannot begin applying it too soon. Before we do, however, there are
certain fundamental changes of perception that we must embrace, and while some
of us already do, the imperative for all is inescapable.” Among the changes
Zimmermann asks for is Motorsports returning to its roots as a developmental
test bed. “ . . . what better arena is there for the advance of automotive
technology than racing? Motorsports has always been the natural research
laboratory for the automobile industry, and it is therefore only logical that
the racing industry should shoulder the responsibilities of its position and
lead the way to the future.
“. . . . in recent times the focus of the sport’s governing authorities has not
been on running ever faster and ever farther, but on restraining the very
technological advances that made the sport what it was. The result of this quest
for mandated mediocrity is that this once groundbreaking rolling laboratory has
been trivialized to the point of being only “entertainment.”
Among the needed changes Peter DeLorenzo lists in his weekly
AutoExtremist Rant of January 7 (http://www.autoextremist.com)
are: getting consumers to resume spending, repelling the efforts of “southern
senators and members of Congress hell-bent on destroying the Detroit Three in
their quest to ultimately replace the nation’s homegrown industry. . . .” And,
“Getting American consumers to look beyond the negative perceptions and discover
the positive reality about Detroit’s competitive models . . . the most daunting,
make-or-break marketing challenge in history.” He believes the Washington auto
industry hearings “. . . seared a losing image for the domestic automobile
companies – at least two of them anyway – in the minds of the American consumer. DeLorenzo is the author of
The United States of Toyota which is available
at Amazon.com and leading book stores. He founded the Autoextremist internet
magazine in 1999 and his weekly
rants have become a “must read for many professionals within and without the
Comments? Please go to:
frank washington update
It's been almost one year, January 29th, 2008, since I was
attacked while walking for exercise. Trauma doctors,
surgeons and dentists took most of the year to put me back
together. I've undergone facial reconstruction surgery, eye
surgery to rid me of double vision and I've done time in the
dentist chair. I wanted to thank all of you who supported me
with your concerns, your prayers and your donations to help
with my medical expenses that I'm well and back to work.
I'm really just happy to be here given the circumstances. I
truly believe that your concern, your prayer and your
support in the wake of my being attacked have much to do
with me still being here. I think something greater than us
all heard you and opted to bestow on me the blessing of
continued life. I will do my best to earn it. Thank you so
much and Happy New Year. Frank.
PO Box 23167
Detroit, MI, 48223
Autowriters.Com invites readers to submit their own Clog
(Online Column). Your reward: a byline and an audience of
your peers. All submissions are acknowledged, queued
and used at the editor’s discretion.
A slap in the face invites a response but it is hard to do
force when it is a verbal assault mixing truth, half-truths
and untruths in the halls of Congress and echoed in national
headlines and newscasts. The emotions provoked can’t be put
back in the bottle nor stilled by lengthy syllogisms - but
the nation’s auto journalists are weighing in as best they
can. Two veteran commentators sent us
their blogs on the subject.
Gary Witzenburg, has been writing about automobiles, auto people
and the auto industry for 21 years. A former auto engineer,
race driver and advanced technology vehicle development
manager, his work has appeared in a wide variety of national
magazines. He asks, “Shouldn't those auto/government
hearings have been reversed? Did it occur to anyone else
that those oh-so-painful auto CEO/government hearings should
have been the other way around?"
“Instead of the heads of America's three remaining
automakers groveling, begging and enduring live public
floggings trying to sell their case for government loans to
get them past the global economic crisis and credit freeze
that government greed, corruption and incompetence has
created, shouldn't they have been vein-popping outraged and
Shouldn't they have pointed accusatory fingers at that sorry
collection of arrogant, auto-ignorant Senators and
Congressmen who got them into this mess and demanded their
assistance? For his full blog: "At Witz' End: What The Auto
CEOs Should Have Said” click here:
Denise McCluggage has been reporting and commenting about
Detroit and the cars
it makes since 1952. In the process
she has won numerous honors, awards and distinctions for her
writing. She admits, “. . . I have, in my time, spit out the
word “Detroit” much the same way Sarah Palin pronounces
“elitist.” I’ve criticized “Detroit Iron” and complained
about slow-moving management and silly decisions. (Aztec!?)
But I’ve discovered that Detroit must be family – when
others criticize it with distortions of the facts and sheer
ignorance I rise up, arms akimbo, and say: “Wait just a darn
minute here!” So herewith I consider seven myths about that
collective noun “Detroit.” Regardless of persuasion, pro or
con, any responsible discussion of the domestic auto
industry needs to deal with these “myths.” And, also with
her politically astute counter to union versus non-union pay
proposals by Senators from the Southern states hosting
transplant auto plants. Read her full '7 myths about the car
Tom-Tom rants, raves, rambles and ruminations are
and express the opinions of the writer.
Until proved otherwise, Dan Jedlicka represents Chicago’s longest-tenured
newspaper journalism family (excluding publishers). His father, Albert Jedlicka,
was the real estate editor for the Chicago Daily News from 1950 until his
untimely death in 1976 at age 62, two years before the paper folded. Dan has
been the Chicago Sun-Times auto writer since 1968. A 58-year stretch of Jedlickas that is still growing although Dan recently moved to his home office
to continue the paper’s Auto Times section from there. He proudly recalls his
dad won national recognition in Time Magazine for exposing the country’s first
big savings and loan financing scandal. Dan worked briefly at the News and then
shared the same office building with his father when the News moved to the
Sun-Times in an unsuccessful effort to survive.
Dan worked at the Champaign-Urbana Courier, the
Chicago City News Bureau and as
a PR copy writer during his first years after graduating the University of
Illinois in 1965 with a degree in communications. While newspapering is in the
family, a love of cars was not. His dad had only a passing interest while Dan’s
is avid. He has owned 25 high- performance cars, among them Ferraris, Maseratis
and Porsches He fondly recalls a blood red 1950s Ferrari Europa with a rakish
Pininfarina body which was like a shot of testosterone in the placid environs of
Harrisburg, Penn., startling the good citizens there when he drove it to feature
writing assignments for The Evening News or tooled around the countryside with
his wife, Suzanne, then a bride of one year. More than owning classic
automobiles, he worked at driving them well, graduating the Bob Bondurant
Driving School, BMW’s advanced M-Class high performance driver’s school and the
BMW Skip Barber Advance Driving School. He was a member of the U.S. team that
participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia high-speed rally/race in Italy
and has been a stock car race winner.
Dan also claims another record yet to be disproved
- 4,000 car reviews and
growing. That number includes those written during the 11 1/2 years he was head
auto reviewer for Microsoft’s MSN Autos web site and those written over the
years for a number of national magazines. His work has appeared in Esquire and
Harper’s. He has often tested three cars in one week. He thinks
that it will be easier
to approach that pace and attend more press previews now that his Sun-Times
section has been cut back from twice to once a week. But, he is building an
online road test site that may require more of his time:
Comments? Please go to:
Hats off to IMPA for its informative November Impact coverage of a timely presentation and Q & A with
Efraim Levy, senior industry analyst in Standard & Poor’s U.S. Equity Research Group. . . .
Steve Saleen is back in the muscle car business after selling Saleen, Inc. and departing an aborted venture involving a Chinese automaker. He has opened a 150,000 square foot facility in Anaheim, Calif. and plans to produce high performance versions of the
Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro. He provided select Southern
California enthusiasts a sneak preview of his first offering, an SMS 570 Challenger prior to its debut at
NADA convention in New Orleans
The new time for Autonetwork’s live internet TV show (http://www.autonetwork.com) is 11:00 A.M, EST. Autonetwork.com President and show host
Roosevelt Gist advises the show has added live dealer interviews and that they are going to high definition webcasts. They also have agreed to provide a featured blog for a new auto section on
www.BlackAmericaWeb.com. . . . The
Chicago Auto Show is responding to the financial stringencies of
the times by providing a brand-neutral, fully equipped, two-car media
conference set for
McCormick Place exhibitors during this year’s event.
In a brief note Harold Gunn reports that Harold Gunn is proud and humbled (but not too humbled) to announce that Harold Gunn has been elected to a third term as president of the
Texas Auto Writers Association. . . . Hyundai now checks motor vehicle records of all persons requesting access to its company-owned cars before making them available. . . . Continental Tire North America, Inc. has launched a redesigned consumer website at
www.continentaltire.com . . .
The UK Government took action to support its motorsport supplier industry
without an uproar in the House of Commons.
Media Post reports that the U.S, is now the third best market for the
Smart car and that it has achieved that acceptance without advertising, relying instead on word-of-mouth, press and other grass roots events. . . . The publication also summarized a
Consumer Reports survey that found “42% of new-vehicle shoppers are putting off a purchase; 39% of respondents are holding off because their vehicles are in good shape; 30% are doing so because vehicles are too expensive; and 30% are holding off because they are skittish about the economy. Eighteen percent are waiting for fuel-saving technologies like hybrids to become more affordable, and another group of 18% are balking at interest rates for financing. A quarter of shoppers in low-income households are delaying because of financing rates."
Generations Media Group has published its third issue of Mustang Generations, currently distributed through Mustang parts suppliers and expects to offer opportunities for freelancers soon according to editor and publisher
Benton Launerts. (email@example.com). He says
the magazine has “a huge focus on the people behind the car... and features some of the finest photography.” . . . . Thinking of making money with a blog?
Technorati’s State of The Blogosphere 2008 Report, as summarized by
The Center For Media Research, reveals among many interesting facts that the mean annual revenue for blogs that accept advertising is $6,000 while those blogs with more than 100,000 unique viewers per month bring in as much as $75,000. Other facts of interest: by the end of 2007 there were 22.6 million bloggers
in the U.S., 184 million world wide with 94.1 million blog readers in the
U.S. and 346 million readers world wide.
Michael Karish reports that his unique
www.TrueDelta.com web site, which relies on volunteer owners’ reports on gas mileage and driving experience, now has 38,000 cars enrolled and the number of models represented increased from 71 in November, 2007 to 179 a year later. The site has added "Why (Not) This Car?" reviews, where members describe why they bought the car they bought rather than their second choice.
With no explanation from the publisher nor comment as yet from
Csere, he is out as vice president, editor-in-chief of Car and Driver. He left at the end of 2008 after 28 years with the publication, 16 as EIC.
Hachette Fillipacchi Media Sr. VP and group editorial director John
Owens is acting EIC until a replacement is named. . . . Robert
Golfen who oversaw the Wheels section at the Arizona
Republic left the paper after 20 years, taking a new post at
Speed Channel as Auto Editor. . . . Andrew Ganz former
editor of the mothballed American Driver, now edits the daily blog
www.LeftlaneNews.com and writes for the bimonthly upscale magazine
Registry and RM Auctions catalogs.
Mark Williams says he has
heard the phrase “hiring freeze” too often since leaving his post as
editor of Truck Trends. While he is open to the “Car Czar” post he is
pursuing other options, including a couple of book deals and freelance
assignments. His email address is:
firstname.lastname@example.org . . .
Xavier Dominicis has departed Toyota PR and the auto industry for Plano,
Texas based Rent-A-Center where he is vice president of public affairs.
. . . Dan Passe has departed his Communications and Marketing post at Penske Racing and can be reached at
Newsweek Midwest Bureau Chief Keith Naughton stayed ahead of the
magazine’s closing of all of its domestic bureaus except D.C. He is now
a reporter for Bloomberg News in the Motor City.. . . . John Zajac
reports that his Chrome Sweet Chrome pdf chats are moving from the late
20th century to the 21st by migrating to a web site,
www.chromesweetchrome.com He notes that all columns from the past are
archived and can be referenced for dispute or praised by one and all
viewing the site. . . . Wallace
Higginbotham has a Porsche blog at
www.porscheofhiltonhead.com and plans
blogs for BMW, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo . . . Neal Dunlop now
freelances and can be reached at email@example.com.
across the finish line
Terry Jackson, January 6, 2009. He covered autos for
newspapers in California and Florida and continued to
write about them while serving as Deputy Features Editor
at the Miami Herald.
December 18, 2008. The popular Porsche PR pro
lost a long battle with cancer. In addition to his
winning personality, he is best known for daring press
introductions of Porsches and the Rennsport Reunions he
initiated in the United States.
Glenn F. Campbell
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AWARDS & EVENTS
and ICOTY Awards
Earth Angel Award
Most Environmentally Progressive Automaker
International Car Of The Year
International Truck of the Year
Dodge Ram 1500
Lifetime Legend Award
Warren Brown, Washington Post
Earth, Wind & Power Award
Volkswagen Jetta TDI
North American Car & Truck of The Year
Urban Wheels Awards
Executive of The Year
Joyceln K. Allen, VP, Public Affairs and Corp.
Communications, On Star
Company of The Year
Mitsubishi Motors North America Manufacturing
Car of The Year
Truck of The Year
Diversity in Motorsports
Texas Truck Rodeo
Truck of Texas
SUV of Texas
Ford Expedition King Ranch (2008)
CUV of Texas
Truck Line of Texas
Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy
Tony Schumacher (Drag racer)
Pioneer In Racing Award
Dave McClelland (NHRA announcer)
Jim Chapman Award
Judy Stropus (PR for Don Schumacher Racing)
Joel Miller (Star Mazda series runner-up)
SAMA Star of The Show Award
(Miami Auto Show)
MPG Dean Batchelor Best Of The Year Awards
Hank’s Last Drive, Peter Egan
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 vs
Ford Mustang Bullitt, Glenn McLanan
Portraits, Jesse Alexander, Bull Publishing
2008 BMW M3, Scott Jacobs, Edmunds InsideLine.com
NAIAS, Public Days
Automotive News World Congress, Detroit, MI
Anniversary Road & Travel Magazine
IMPA Meeting, New York City
Automotive Rhythms Inaugural Day Party & Saturn Vue
2-Mode Hybrid viewing, Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington D.C.
TAWA, Annual Membership Meeting, Houston Au to Show
World of Wheels, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
Auto Hall of Fame Inductions, New Orleans
SAMA Annual Business Meeting, Luncheon, Rusty Pelican, S.
WAPA, Public Policy Day, Washington D.C., Auto Show
Chicago Auto Show, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
MAMA, Annual Business Meeting Outlook, Oakbrook, IL
SAMA, Luncheon Meeting, Mazda, TBA
"What Were They Thinking" exhibit (cars that didn't make
the grade) Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, CA
The 14 regional automotive press associations provide
information and background not easily found elsewhere.
they are too distant to attend their meetings, belonging usually
gives you access to transcripts or reports of these events and
Automotive Press Association, Detroit - Katie Kerwin
International Motor Press Association, NYC, Fred Chieco, President -
Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago -
Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -
New England Motor Press Association, Boston -
Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA-
Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix, Cathy Droz, President-
Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -
Southern Automotive Media Association, Miami FL, Ron Beasley, President,
Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC
Texas Auto Writers Association
http://www.TexasAutoWriters.org, Harold Gunn,
Writers of North America,
www.twna.org Tom Kelley,
Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco -
www.waj.org, Ron Harrison
Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C., Joe Phillips-
Told You So Honors:
You might want to have Mr. DeLorenzo come to the awards podium
from another tack rather than "another tact."
Enjoyed the backgrounder on A&M.
I did predict GM fault long time ago, in the mid 80's. I predict
the fall of Oldsmobile in 1988, in a presentation of Oldsmobile.
I predict all of GM.
What GM did, take me out of the road test cars.
I'm Enrique Kogan, first Hispanic auto journalist and publisher
in the USA. (I publish automundo since born until I sold). Now I
write to 30 Hispanic newspaper around the country.
More comments to "I Told You So" are available online at
Re: Autowriters Spotlight -
Enjoyed your newsletter - particularly the story about A&M. John
Spears and I were good friends - the only TV guys in the country
at that time doing
Road tests. When I left WEWS in Cleveland in 1973 to join Ford
PR, John and I got closer. Going through his final days was
tough, but I had done it with my brother so I had a feel for
what was coming and what he needed. In any event, I left Ford in
'75 and joined Volvo in New jersey and put Volvos at A&M, the
first foreign manufacturer to do so. For most auto writers it
the first time they had been in a Volvo. The whole exercise
company's profile and gave us entree to the major media covering
cars at that time.
William E Baker
I'll try again....just wanted to say some good stuff about the
local A&M office here in Ft. Lauderdale. hate to see em go.
also...this whole press fleet thing needs an overhaul...so if
they get out bailout $ that ought to be a priority! but it
Re: Autonetwork Live
Thanks for the plug but you gave the wrong web address for AutoNetwork Live. It should be
talk to us
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