Guest Josh

AutoExtremist: Auto Mags Are DEAD

53 posts in this topic

Guest Josh   
Guest Josh

I've been saying this for three years!

The traditional monthly car magazines are dead - they just don't know it yet.

Detroit. If you were to look at the balance sheets of the leading car magazines right now, you would be absolutely stunned at the staggering amounts of revenue they generate every year. Legendary money machines, these magazines make hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the corporate behemoths that lord over them with an iron fist. And if you look at the Big Picture only from those companies' perspective, then the good times seemingly will go on forever. But there are deep and growing cracks in the facade of these money machines - and these fissures threaten to destroy these notorious cash cows once and for all.

First of all, I'll make no bones about what I generally think of what passes for the car magazine biz these days, because it is a sad state of affairs indeed. What once was a an uproarious, fun and passion-filled profession has been reduced to a monthly death march of relentless tedium. The unbridled genius and inspired chaos that once ran rampant at the car magazines in their heyday has turned into an ugly, formulaic and painfully predictable tea dance of orchestrated sameness - and they've become homogenized and sanitized facsimiles watered down to the lowest common denominator.

Why has this happened? It's simple, really. These magazines have been clipped, cropped, chopped and neutered in order to adhere to their corporate overlords' revenue goals - and that means that at no time can these magazines ever offend the UGT (Ultimate Gravy Train) - aka the car companies.

Don't think so? You don't actually think it's coincidental that the car magazines have the same exact cover subjects almost every month, do you? The deckhands at the magazines contend that they're just bringing the latest stuff to their readers, and since they all get the same information as the other guys at the same time, that's just the way it works. And I will tell you that they've abandoned any shred of conviction and independent thought in favor of sinking into a comfortable, trance-like stupor brought on by the sheep-like cadence dictated by the car companies' model rollouts. In short, after years of practicing corporate servitude and succumbing to the carefully crafted wishes of the car companies' PR minions, the monthly car mags have become defacto shills for the product planning agendas and launch plans of the world's carmakers.

Full Read: http://www.autoextremist.com/page2.shtml#Rant

Then the Internet happened - and everything changed overnight.

Love that quote. However, I find it extremly interesting that Ford sent us exclusive imagery and General Motors fights us when it comes to obtaining embargoed media.

Something very very wrong with that picture.

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ehaase    18

One problem with the monthly magazines is that they all test the same cars every month - usually high priced Japanese and European sports and luxury cars. There's not much reason to pick one over another. They all seem to target readers that own three or more cars and have household incomes over $200,000. The message boards like this and Automotive News are my main sources of information, even though I still subscribe to three of the monthly magazines.

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AAS    13

Let me use an example to explain why magazines shouldn't die.

We all remember what happened the last time C&G crashed. Everything was lost, pics, discussions, chops etc. I'm sure we all wish there was a hard-copy of the old C&G that we could refer to, but oh well...

So, you see why we need magazines. Think of it as "back-up" to everything on the internet.

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MGZ06    0

It's been about 6 months since Ive bought a magazine. . . . I was never subscriber but I would buy atleast 4-5 differant mags in a month. Like everyone here has said. . . the internet is just way too quick compared to a magazine.

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Angry Dad    0

The only magazines worth reading are the niche magazines.

You can't find the feel that Racer gives you on the net. Drag racing gets next to no coverage. And my personal favorite, Street Rodder is a joy for no other reason than the advertising, in fact it's almost all advertising.

If there is a good reason for the big magazines to go away it comes down to one word. The word "comparo". The real definition of the word is "which corporation paid the most the get the most stars".

BTW if any of you knew Autoweek when it was Competition Press understand what a worthless rag it is now.

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balthazar    1,882

Wow, this guy hit the nail with a sledgehammer. Most of everything I've said more than once on these boards; auto 'journalists' "opinions" are dictated by editorial & corporate agendas, thus making the bulk of them irrelevant. Once the groundwork for a readership is in place, there's far too much at stake to distrupt that, therefore --regardless of the catalyst-- an 'opinion bias' is the inescapable result.

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sporttahoe    0

Hello,

I don't take exception to what you are saying however it appears that your focus is on car magazines that report about current models and production. I happen to subscribe to many magazines and none of them address current models i.e. Hemmings Muscle Machine, Hot Rod, Chevy Performance, Popular Hot Rodding, etc.

I enjoy each evening sitting down, not at a computer, reading and relaxing. For that I am grateful for car magazines and don't think I will stop anytime soon.

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regfootball    234

One problem with the monthly magazines is that they all test the same cars every month - usually high priced Japanese and European sports and luxury cars.  There's not much reason to pick one over another.  They all seem to target readers that own three or more cars and have household incomes over $200,000.  The message boards like this and Automotive News are my main sources of information, even though I still subscribe to three of the monthly magazines.

the car mags don't even test very many cars anymore that average folks can afford.

the car mags are so pompous, too.

motor trend quickly became the worst, between the tiny sepai toned images, the retread editorialists who couldn't keep their jobs elsewhere, and the lame articles written by an obviously age and location biased staff. to top it off, horrible car of the year selections.

Edited by regfootball

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thegriffon    5

I gave on the monthy magazines because they were always so far behind. Several months late and always wrong. As for having the same articles, just remember two things, many are published by the same companies (Primedia, Hachette Filipacchi), and share content with foreign magazines, which are amongst the worst offenders when it comes to breaking embargoes. Car magazine used to be written partly by wealthy British comedians like Rowan Atkinson and Ronnie Barker, which made for very good reading. You'd get amusing long term tests of very expensive cars actually paid for by the writer (like Atkinson's own Bentley). It's gone far downhill since then, to the point where they can't tell the difreence between GM and DaimlerChrysler.

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Hudson    16

Has anyone told Delorenzo that he's been out for six or seven years? His opinion doesn't mean much.

I still enjoy a few mainstream and a few niche car magazines.

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samy1691    0

This article is 'right on' . The car mags have been groveling at the feet of car companies so long , that they could not give an honest assessment of a vehicle if their life depended on it......and it may well be!!!! They have been rubber stamps for companies for sooo long, I can't remember when I read a critical review to a design................................

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regfootball    234

motor trend had a huge blurb in their newest issue about the freestyle and meta one, i think it was how the freestyle was going to get killed and moved to mercury, like it was a new item (that had been reported like months ago). Just yesterday Annie at Ford said the Mercury version of the freestyle was killed and the ford is still around. Too funny. M/T's news is obsolete even before it hits the newsstands.

The Magazines should stick to reporting CONFIRMED stories, cause they look like complete and total idiots when they botch stuff and their info is dated.

I still get the magazines because they are cheap, but you have to get that 50% of the info in them is wrong and the other 50% is biased.

Basically the main thing the mags are good for are test numbers and if there is a comparison test. And then you have to know how out of whack their opinions are anyways.

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Hudson    16

I agree - if you want a real car magazine read Automotive Industries

I would like to agree with you, but Automotive Industries hasn't been anything more than a brochure for the industry in years. It's a shadow of its former self and the current owners aren't doing anything with it. I worked for the company that used to produce it and it was a great magazine then...back when it had over 100 pages per issue. Now it's just a 36-page brochure. Sad, really.

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boblutzfan    0

I still subscribe to the big four auto magazines and have for over ten years. While I will agree that they are "old news" many months - it is still entertaining. Plus, I can't bring my computer into the bathroom to read when I am busy on the throne.

I like both - the internet and print media. I often take both with a ton of salt.

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dfelt    1,778

Let me use an example to explain why magazines shouldn't die.

We all remember what happened the last time C&G crashed.  Everything was lost, pics, discussions, chops etc.  I'm sure we all wish there was a hard-copy of the old C&G that we could refer to, but oh well...

So, you see why we need magazines.  Think of it as "back-up" to everything on the internet.

This would be a perfect reason to have a DVD burner and copy the site each month so you have a backup copy of the C&G. I tend to copy info I like and want to have on hand to my local system and for long term burn DVD's of all my stuff. Equal to a magazine for me. :)

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prinzSD    0

The only magazines worth reading are the niche magazines.

You can't find the feel that Racer gives you on the net. Drag racing gets next to no coverage. And my personal favorite, Street Rodder is a joy for no other reason than the advertising, in fact it's almost all advertising.

If there is a good reason for the big magazines to go away it comes down to one word. The word "comparo". The real definition of the word is "which corporation paid the most the get the most stars".

BTW if any of you knew Autoweek when it was Competition Press understand what a worthless rag it is now.

And that is the exact reason why my only car magazine subscription is Pontiac Enthusiast, because it is a niche monthly that caters only to a Pontiac Enthusiast and I don't have to read the drivel on the latest greatest refined import.

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evok    0

I would like to agree with you, but Automotive Industries hasn't been anything more than a brochure for the industry in years. It's a shadow of its former self and the current owners aren't doing anything with it. I worked for the company that used to produce it and it was a great magazine then...back when it had over 100 pages per issue. Now it's just a 36-page brochure. Sad, really.

Finacial Times Automotive was the best trade publication out there.

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Coach    0

Whoa, now wait just a minute, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. We're all worked up like a mob with pitchforks and torches in a Frankenstein movie. But consider this, I have my magazine rack in the "library" that I thumb thru and you can't do that with a laptop. Well, ok you could but would you really do that? I think not.

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Hudson    16

Whoa, now wait just a minute, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. We're all worked up like a mob with pitchforks and torches in a Frankenstein movie. But consider this, I have my magazine rack in the "library" that I thumb thru and you can't do that with a laptop. Well, ok you could but would you really do that? I think not.

What? No WiFi setup with a wireless laptop? C'mon...move up into the 21st century!

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johnnyb    0

I agree wholeheartedly. I have a whole stack of magazines that I'm suscribed to that I still haven't read (Road & Track, Automobile.)

The only thing I have bothered to look at every time is Automobile's design review written by Cumberford and Egan's articles in R&D. Other than that, it's all the same.

When I read a new magazine called MPH in a stand, it was like a ray of light. It's a breath of fresh air sometimes to hear some humor and wit in a magazine. It's something you don't see often anymore.

Edited by johnnyb

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turbo200    6

I agree wholeheartedly. I have a whole stack of magazines that I'm suscribed to that I still haven't read (Road & Track, Automobile.)

The only thing I have bothered to look at every time is Automobile's design review written by Cumberford and Egan's articles in R&D. Other than that, it's all the same.

When I read a new magazine called MPH in a stand, it was like a ray of light. It's a breath of fresh air sometimes to hear some humor and wit in a magazine. It's something you don't see often anymore.

MPHmag posts on here, I believe he's a writer for the magazine.

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