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William Maley

The Sunday Column - February 22, 2015

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Note: This is something new I'm trying with a short opinion piece, along with some thoughts and links I have found during the week. If you have any thoughts or ideas, please let me know in the comments. Thanks. -WM

Why do you talk and write about cars? It's a bit of an odd question, but it is one that floats around the mind of many writers. Why is that? Well the past few years has seen explosion of people who cover the automotive industry thanks to blogs, Twitter, and automakers being somewhat more open. But this influx of people has cause many of the old-guard to question the interest of these new people. Were they in it to share their thoughts and feelings or is it to get free cars and trips.

One of my favorite Twitter accounts, Sniff Petrol got me thinking on this when the account sent out a few tweets on this topic.

Once again I find myself in a slough of despond about the shockingly $h! state of many car blogs. So much piss poor drivel out there. - @SniffPetrol

There should be one simple entry question for this: Why do you want to write about cars? - @SniffPetrol

If the answer is, to get free cars, you're barred. If the answer is, because I love writing and want to do it as well as possible, 20 points. - @SniffPetrol

@Driven_Wheels What really annoys me is crap, cliched, leaden writing that adds nothing to the sum total of our knowledge or entertainment. - @SniffPetrol

Who can blame Sniff Petrol? For all of the good pieces on the industry as a whole, there is twice the amount of terrible pieces. Ranging from news pieces and reviews that are seemingly copied from automaker's press sites, to stories that poorly written and make a reader wonder how or why they have this privilege.

Now I'll admit that I'll was one of those writers when I started. This was mostly due to having no idea and just winging it. But I also answered a key question that was similar to the one posed by Sniff Petrol. The reasons I write about cars is that I enjoy talking about and sharing my thoughts on them. Also, I have grown to like writing about them. Getting the chance to drive them is a nice bonus.

Other Thoughts from the Week:

  • Pro Tip: If you ever wanted to put a convertible to the ultimate test: drive it during one of the coldest weeks. Thus has been case for the 2015 Fiat 500C Abarth I have been driving for the past few days. I have been surprised how well the 500C has been able to keep the cold out, especially considering it has been as cold as -20 Fahrenheit.
  • Yes, I did put the top down during the first day. It was awesome and somewhat cold.
  • Glad to see Chevrolet is pulling some pages out of Ram's playbook with doing packages that offer distinctive treatments for the exterior and some added performance. I hope we see this trickle down to the Colorado as well.
  • I was happy to see Evo Magazine pay homage to Best Motoring by staging a race with different variations of the MINI Cooper. You can check it out below.

Click here to view the article

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There IS a lot of weak, poorly researched, tiresomely cliched automotive writing out there.
It's polarized enough where you can tell which writers like cars and which are just 'doing their job' right off the bat.

If you have a strong knowledge & interest, that naturally flows into one's writing, to the happy benefit of the reader.

 

But its the proliferation of 'soap boxes' via technology that has opened the gate to an unlimited volume of commentary/writing and, as a result, a generally degraded level of quality.

 

- - - - -

WM- so far I like the op-ed/loose bits experiment; keep it up.

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Very interesting read. I like what you have done, it does open up food for thought.

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      To go back to the comments made by Masuko, “We are strong in SUVs and four-wheel drives. And that is what we would like to focus on as core models in the U.S. Market.” But the Mirage is proving to be a strong model and one that should be considered a core model. It would be mad for Mitsubishi to drop it. One thing that the Mirage does need is a new engine. The 1.2L three-cylinder does deliver excellent fuel economy figures (37 City/43 Highway), but it is slow. Snails could outrun this vehicle. This is where Nissan could come in by giving the Mirage an engine transplant. The 1.6L four-cylinder from the Versa/Versa Note with 109 horsepower would provide a needed boost in power and wouldn’t affect fuel economy numbers much.
       
      Now that I have outlined some key issues and comments, let’s dive into what a smaller lineup for Mitsubishi could possibly look like with some help from Nissan.
       
      Mirage/Mirage G4: New engine from Nissan and possibly an improved interior.
      Lancer: Rebadged version of Sentra and Pulsar Hatchback, or Nissan helps with speeding up development of the next-gen model.
      Outlander Sport: Electric model possibly joins range.
      Outlander: Plug-in hybrid model sticks around.
      Pajero/Montero: All Mitsubishi here. Gas and plug-in hybrid powertrains on offer. Five and seven-seat configurations on offer.
      Triton/L200: Next-Generation model using Nissan Navara platform. Mitsubishi works on everything else from engines and four-wheel drive system. This is way out as both companies have introduced their latest trucks.
       
      Would Nissan be willing to help Mitsubishi with this? That is tough to say at this time since we’re still in the honeymoon period between the two automakers and there are more pressing things to address. There is also the consideration of why Nissan would help a competitor in the market. But Mitsubishi is a small bit player in the U.S. Last year, Mitsubishi only sold 95,342 vehicles. This pales in comparison with the 1,484,918 vehicles sold by Nissan last year. This could help Mitsubishi out with making a case for this idea.
       
      The U.S. is way down on the priority list between Mitsubishi and Nissan. But I’m sure the U.S. offices are thinking about what will happen. There are two real choices that are on the table, either leave the U.S. market or take a gamble and change up your lineup somewhat drastically. If I was Mitsubishi, I would push for the latter option by using the niche plan.
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