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Intrepidation

The "Anti-Detroit Go-To Guy" Talks Back

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Intrepidation    846

In response to this on autoextremist.com

Edmunds.com. Let's see if we've got this right - the editors of Edmunds.com have selected their "Most Wanted" vehicles of 2007, according to their tastes. Out of eight categories (Sedans, Wagons, Coupes, Convertibles, Trucks, SUVs, Vans and Exotics) and 32 total vehicles recommended, exactly two were from the Detroit Three - the Dodge Magnum (Wagon under $30,000) and the Ford Mustang (Convertible under $35,000). Not only that, their "Most Significant" vehicle of the year was none other than the Toyota Tundra. You can now join the other auto enthusiasts out there who are searching for the domestic vehicles they would have chosen that go unrepresented on the Edmunds editors list and wonder "Why?" But then again, if you've been reading this publication for a while we don't have to tell you why, now do we? And just off the top of our heads, is it any wonder that the new go-to guy for auto-biz quotage for that beacon of anti-Detroit objectivity, The New York Times, happens to be none other than Karl Brauer, editor in chief of Edmunds.com? We think not.

http://blogs.edmunds.com/karl/345

The "Anti-Detroit Go-To Guy" Talks Back

First, to really understand this post you must read a short paragraph at autoextremist.com. Just follow the link and read the second paragraph (hint: it starts out saying "Edmunds.com").

Now, the various points Peter DeLorenzo is attempting to make really boil down to this:

A. He thinks Edmunds should have picked more domestics for the 2007 Most Wanted winnners

B. He thinks the list of winners is a clear reflection of my personal "anti-Detroit" bias

Let's examine these points, shall we?

1. On the question of how we pick our winners, the process is a celebration of democracy in that every road test editor gets one vote. Because we have 14 staffers who regularly drive all of our test cars we had 14 people voting. Since I'm only one man, I had only one vote. Further, of those 14 voters, four have been hired in the past year, and three more in the past two years. DeLorenzo's comments suggest there is a longstanding tradition of Edmunds being anti-Detroit, but half of the voters for 2007 have been here less than 24 months, so they haven't been a part of this so-called "tradition" for very long. And if you think my position as Editor in Chief somehow holds sway over the other voters' opinions, you've obviously never met Kevin Smith, Richard Homan, Scott Oldham, Dan Edmunds (no relation), Chris Walton, Josh Jacquot or Jay Kavanaugh. Between these seven writers you're talking close to 100 years of industry experience. So yeah, they think for themselves real good, and they know from which they speak (and vote).

2. Even more gut-busting is DeLorenzo's assertion that I have an inherent dislike of domestic vehicles. He probably doesn't want to hear that four of my five current vehicles are domestic (1970 Dodge Challenger, 1970 Plymouth GTX, 2004 Chevrolet Malibu, 2005 Ford GT). The fifth is a 1973 Saab Sonett...but come to think of it, its engine is a European Ford 1.7-liter V4, so Detroit even made money on that car's original sale as well. And what would Peter say if he knew that of the 17 cars I've owned thus far in my lifetime, all but three were...Detroit iron! (Four if you want to call the Stealth a Mitsubishi.) Here's the list in chronological order for those who care:

1. 1966 Dodge Coronet 500 (just a shell, no drivetrain -- was going to be my first car: 1985)

2. 1974 Chrysler New Yorker (had a 440 that was supposed to power the Coronet: 1985)

3. 1968 Dodge Charger (was a cool car, so I ditched the idea of the Coronet with New Yorker drivetrain, and sold both of them: 1985)

4. 1969 Plymouth GTX (unlike rusted out Charger that needed total restoration, this one was a driver, ready to go, so I sold the Charger: 1985)

5. 1957 Mercury Monclair (really low mileage, clean; thought I could flip for profit -- I was wrong: 1985)

6. 1970 Plymouth GTX (two owner, nearly mint, plus my favorite year for GTX -- still have this one: 1986)

7. 1973 Dodge Challenger Rally (lots of cool options and picked up cheap, but eventually sold after only minor refurbishment -- for about what I paid, $2000; would bring bigger bucks today!: 1990)

8. 1987 Dodge Shelby CSX (bought off dad after he put on 90,000 miles, drove to 123,000 before selling -- it was still running fine: 1992)

9. 1989 Dodge Shelby CSX (loved my first one so much I bought another; great car for blowing away 5.0 Mustangs in high-altitude Denver: 1993)

10. 1991 Dodge Stealth R/T Twin Turbo (bought because it made an effective Super Street project car and I always liked them: 1996)

11. 2000 Honda Odyssey (bought for wife because Kirk was only two and Katherine was on the way; gets credit as Karl's first "new" car purchase -- yes, a minivan was my first new car -- yikes!: 2000)

12. 2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt (inspired by Steve McQueen, and the best-handling Mustang from the 1979 to 2004 Fox platform -- but I only drove it 1,900 miles in one year, so I sold it: 2001)

13. 1973 Saab Sonett (weird Swedish sports car that I couldn't pass up for $1,700 at an auction; now I've invested over $6,000 and it's way quicker than stock and totally dependable, but still a weird Swedish sports car -- that happens to be a blast to drive; still have this one: 2001)

14. 2002 Mini Cooper (bought for wife; very cool car that the kids fit in and a great conversation starter whenever she drove it: 2002)

15. 2004 Chevrolet Malibu (bought after relatively trouble-free stint in Edmunds long-term fleet; a totally functional car with very good gas mileage that I still have: 2005)

16. 2005 Ford GT (dream car that I literally chased for 3 and 1/2 years; crazy money for a car, and probably -- hopefully -- the last exotic I will ever buy; represents a truly magical point in automotive history -- and I'm not just talking 1966-1969, either: 2005)

17. 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE (finally got my dream E-body with high-impact color -- plum crazy, plus big engine and lots of options; paid too much because old Mopars are going up in value like a bad Internet stock; barring a great deal on a Superbird it's the last toy car I'll be buying for awhile -- no, really!!: 2006)

For those keeping track, in the last 18 months I've invested a substantial amount of my own money on Detroit iron (Malibu, GT, Challenger). I wonder if Pete can say as much... Regardless, I think someone trying to make a point about me being "pro-import" or "anti-Detroit" or however you want to phrase it, is effectively sticking their foot in their mouth.

I certainly admit to being pro-logic, pro-intelligence and pro-forward-thinking when it comes to running a car company, and if anyone out there wants to argue that the domestics have consistently exhibited those qualities over the past 36 years I'd be happy to watch you try. Just remember, I've got history on my side. But unlike some (ahem, Detroit-based, ahem) automotive journalists I don't cut Chrysler, GM or Ford any slack just because their corporate offices are in Michigan. They have to at least produce segment meeting (and hopefully segment beating) product to get my accolades, or to inspire the Edmunds team to vote for them in a "personal favorite" award system. Interesting that Peter questions my bias when he's paid directly by the Detroit Three. Oh, this isn't a controversial statement by any means, as he totally admits to being on their bankroll in this BusinessWeek article. I think it's refreshing that Pete wants to be upfront about working for Detroit's automakers, as it's important for readers to know that you're paid by the people you also report on. Good on you Pete (did I mention he's a paid consultant of Chrysler, GM and Ford).

I also love Pete's reference to "enthusiasts" who can't find "their" cars on our awards list. Oh (hands wringing), the poor enthusiasts! Once again, Edmunds does things in a very non-traditional manner that likely freaks out the old-schoolers. We don't sit around with our award list saying "Well, we already gave X amount of awards to manufacturer Y, so we better balance the scales by giving some of the remaining slots to manufacturer Z." If Toyota someday manages to build the best vehicle in all of the categories, they could conceivably win all 32 slots in a given year. And so could GM if they build stellar product all across the price and type categories. Unlike far too many award systems in far too many industries, the Edmunds Editors' Most Wanted isn't code for "throwing a bone to everyone who competes." We've never promised that "everyone goes home with a trophy." Crazy as it sounds, these are simply the cars that our staff of 14 road test editors most want to personally own. Nothing more, nothing less. We're identifying our favorite models in each segment so the consumer will have another element to consider in their research phase. GM fans will obviously not like our list and disregard it completely during their shopping process. Okay.

The current automotive market is brutally competitive, which means the consumer can choose from plenty of "fine" automobiles. But that makes my job all the more exciting. I get to ferret out the tiny variations in each segment that push a given model from "fine" to "fabulous." The domestics are certainly doing better every year. The updated SRX and redesigned Tahoe/Suburban, just to name two, are excellent vehicles that show GM can get interiors right if they want to. The LX platform continues to impress me (can't wait for the new Challenger) and, obviously, I'm a huge fan of the Ford GT -- mostly because it proves America can still beat the world's best in a highly competitive segment. But the Japanese, Europeans and, now, Koreans keep turning things up as well. Occasional home runs won't win this World Series, and the continued mis-steps by the domestics (Compass, Cobalt, Five-Hundred) confirm that consistency is still an issue in Detroit.

And you don't even have to read The New York Times to see me make that statement.

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Northstar    11

DeLorenzo's comments suggest there is a longstanding tradition of Edmunds being anti-Detroit, but half of the voters for 2007 have been here less than 24 months, so they haven't been a part of this so-called "tradition" for very long.

That doesn't mean they weren't picked because they would fit right into that tradition.

This guy bought 5 cars in 1985? How can you really say he "owned" all of them when he owned them on average less than 2 1/2 months?

as it's important for readers to know that you're paid by the people you also report on. Good on you Pete (did I mention he's a paid consultant of Chrysler, GM and Ford).

Edmunds reports 30 of 32 vehicles on their "most wanted" list to be from companies other than the Big 3... could this possibly mean that they're maybe paid by Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, et al.? Also, Delorenzo has bashed the Big 3 plenty of times, so his point about the Big 3 paying him is basically moot.

He says the vehicles are the Edmunds editors' most wanted vehicles. Don't a vast majority of Edmunds' editors have Japanese vehicles?

This guy is a douche.

Also, here are some questionable "Most wanted" vehicles:

Hyundai Accent?

Hyundai Azera?

Kia Rio?

Mini Cooper over any under $30k coupe?

Cayman over Corvette?

911 over Z06?

Miata over Sky/Solstice? Mmmmkay...

Boxster over 'Vette convert?

Tundra? HORSE$h!! They haven't even f@#king tested it!

Have they even tested the CX-9?

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Intrepidation    846

Also, here are some questionable "Most wanted" vehicles:

Hyundai Accent? Eh, better than a Yaris.

Hyundai Azera? Who would aspire to own of of those?

Kia Rio? I find it to be a good looking little car, so I can see why they'd choose it.

Mini Cooper over any under $30k coupe? That I can see.

Cayman over Corvette? I can see that

911 over Z06? I'd go with the Z06 but I can see that too.

Miata over Sky/Solstice? Mmmmkay... Miata handles better, I can understand that one too.

Boxster over 'Vette convert? I can see that one

Tundra? HORSE$h!! They haven't even f@#king tested it! This is the most retarded one on the list. If anything it should be the Silverado.

Have they even tested the CX-9? Yes

211903[/snapback]

Edited by Dodgefan

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Cory Wolfe    263

That doesn't mean they weren't picked because they would fit right into that tradition.

This guy bought 5 cars in 1985? How can you really say he "owned" all of them when he owned them on average less than 2 1/2 months?

Edmunds reports 30 of 32 vehicles on their "most wanted" list to be from companies other than the Big 3... could this possibly mean that they're maybe paid by Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, et al.? Also, Delorenzo has bashed the Big 3 plenty of times, so his point about the Big 3 paying him is basically moot.

He says the vehicles are the Edmunds editors' most wanted vehicles. Don't  a vast majority of Edmunds' editors have Japanese vehicles?

This guy is a douche.

Also, here are some questionable "Most wanted" vehicles:

Hyundai Accent?

Hyundai Azera?

Kia Rio?

Mini Cooper over any under $30k coupe?

Cayman over Corvette?

911 over Z06?

Miata over Sky/Solstice? Mmmmkay...

Boxster over 'Vette convert?

Tundra? HORSE$h!! They haven't even f@#king tested it!

Have they even tested the CX-9?

211903[/snapback]

I can see most of those being reasonable. The Tundra, Rio, and Accent, however? Eh..

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tmp    2

I think it's fairly hilarious that he tries to diss deLorenzo for being on the domestic's payroll when it's fairly well known that the domestic automakers, especially GM have whethered some pretty serious scorn on his part.

Edmunds always manages to find some little complaint about a domestic car that makes it inferior to it's foreign rivals, like the review of the SRX's interiors "so-so design and materials quality"... gee, I guess they didn't know about how it's one of the "vehicles that show GM can get interiors right if they want to", or was this one of the bold, fearless opinions of their editors?

Edited by tmp

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79VetteZ06    0

When you start comparing numbers from Edmunds, they are as Anti-Detroit as they can be. Just go through the previous road tests.

The difference between 0-60 and 1/4 mile timings for Detroit cars compared to other Magazines like Automobile and C&D is more than the Japanese or Germans.

I think in the CTS-V test, they even bitched about how their system of testing was better than other magazines and how they got slower numbers.

Most of those f@#ktards are pure journalists and do not know A-Z of Automobiles.

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