Road + Track Relocating; Toyota Recreating PR Team

There’s likely to be a lot of traffic on Lane Changes when Road & Track’s move to Ann Arbor, Mich. is finally done. That could be by the end of September. CarPubInsider editor Eric H. Killorin writes the move is the likely beginning of consolidation amongst the big four auto magazines if not to two, at least to three. In the meantime, staffers at the renowned West Coast title are, as the Scottish say, “prankling” on the hot plate of financial and career uncertainty. Automotive News reports there will be no wholesale personnel moves to the Midwest, with each person being evaluated as to willingness to relocate and suitability for positions open. The economic logic for the move is in place, the details of making it work are left to Larry Webster, who now is Editor-in-Chief of Road & Track and Eddie Alterman will continue as editor-in-chief of Car and Driver. Former R&T editor-in-chief, Matt De Lorenzowill serve as a consultant for an unspecified period of time.

Michael Dobrin

Michael Dobrin

 After 22 years serving as Toyota’s West Coast field public relations agency, MDPR principal Michael Dobrin has announced that his firm has resigned the account.

In resigning, Dobrin said “We feel it is time that corporate communications vice president Mike Michels and field operations manager Celeste Migliore choose their own team.”  In addition to handling all facets of Toyota’s field operations – and serving motoring journalists from Vancouver, B.C., to San Diego – the agency and its staff were involved in producing product launches, providing dealer and regional support for all manner of community programs as well as administering press fleet operations in facilities from Seattle to San Francisco. Prior to the Toyota assignment, MDPR handled similar regional public relations programs for Chrysler.

Dobrin has been an automotive journalist himself since high school in the ‘50s. (“Yes, I was the editor of the high school newspaper and wrote the monthly hot rod column”). His love of cars led to pr gigs with the SCCA and the National Hot Rod Association, where he worked under Wally Parks, as well as a long string of free lance writing assignments. Beginning in the ‘80s and for nearly 15 years, he was the publicist for the Grand National Oakland Roadster Show, world’s great showcase of the custom car and hot rod art forms. In the ‘70s he was public information officer at the Oakland Museum of California, where he later initiated and co-curated the 1996-97 landmark museum showing, “Hot Rods and Customs: The Men and Machines of California’s Car Culture.” He was also the curator at the same museum of a major retrospective on the life and times of American industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. In the early ‘60s he was with the San Francisco Chronicle’s promotions department.

MDPR will be operating out of its Alameda, CA, offices until July 31, 2012, termination date of the Toyota assignment. The agency has taken new space for continued public relations operations and editorial services at 2901 Park Ave., Suite B6, Soquel, CA 95073. Dobrin can be contacted at mdobrin@mdpr.comand the cell phone is (510) 693-9701.

Paul Lienert

Paul Lienert

Paul Lienert, second-generation member of a notable Detroit auto writing family will take over as Motor City bureau chief for Reuters on July 2. He currently serves as the president and editorial director of Global Auto Systems, which he co-founded 30 years ago. Until he is settled in, the Reuters switchboard number in Detroit is 313-967-1900. Email protocol is: . . .Rex RoyFormer freelance writer Rex Roy has “seen his light” and returned to the independent life after a brief stint with a Lincoln car PR agency. He is now providing PR, marketing and media services to some startups, tech companies and companies in the “green sector.” He can be reached at Regis Communications, Inc. . . . . “Click and Clack“, the Magliozzi brothers, Tom and Ray, have announced the end of their live Car Talk show on NPR this fall. The Detroit Bureau reports they will be doing other things for the network and that the show’s long-time producer, Doug Berman, “estimates his team has enough material to repurpose for at least eight years without the rebroadcasts repeating.”

Vince Bond has been added to the Automotive News staff as a general assignment reporter. Previously, he was an editorial intern at Waste & Recycling News. Reach him at  . . . Peter Bohr, one-time auto writer for the Riverside, Calif. Press-Enterprise, now writes a column for the 4 million plus circulation Westways, a publication of the Auto Club of Southern California. He resides in Eastsound, Wash. And can be reached at: 360-376-3403 or

Tom Appel has been promoted to publisher of Consumer Guide Automotive from associate publisher. He succeeds Frank Peiler who continues as publisher of Collectible Automobile. Damon Bell, moves from Consumer Guide auto editor to senior auto editor. . . .Channel 10 in San Diego has made changes but auto reporter Bob Lawrence is still very much there at:  or by telephone: 619-237-6320. . . “Fitz” at the McComb Daily out side of Detroit can now be reached at  . . . send auto news to Michigan Citizen publisher . . . .and for The Washington Informer: in D.C.,  . . . Indianapolis freelance writer Stirling Matheson’s email is:  (good town and good first name for an auto writer).

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