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mystik

The Subtleties of Car Magazines

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The Subtleties of Car Magazines

By Mystik

Intro

For the better part of these past few years, GM and its domestic counterparts have been at the forefront of media attack. They’re vehicles have been deemed underwhelming, and paling in comparison to those from import manufacturers. From the lowly Cobalt, to the muscular H3 to the sporty Solstice, each one of these vehicles, although a great improvement over previous iterations, were all reduced to a failure in comparison to they’re Asian counterparts. So it does seem that these Asian cars are the darlings of the automotive media, and should bear the right to put at the forefront of car news…right?

Magazine Buyers

Luckily for GM, the average car buyer is not the average car magazine buyer. Wagering a good 10-20% of people who own vehicles read car magazines, this is a fact that has greatly helped GM and its domestic counterparts bear the barrage of attacks the media puts on them. When you last bought a lawn mower, did you ever think of skimming through a Mower magazine, seeing which mowers won mower of the year, which ones won the shoot outs, comparison tests, and head to heads? Nah. No need. You know Craftsmans are great, or John Deere, etc. Most of the car buyers inherit car bias from family or friends, not from car magazines. Best example is the farmers and ranch owners in Texas, who would never own anything but a Ford, Chevy or Dodge. Why? Well they grew up with one. They mutter phrases like “That there Dodge/Chevy/Ford lasted me well over 300,000 miles and still runs as good as the day I bought her”. It is these people, who are “ignorant” to automotive media, that help GM.

Cover Material

The true point of this article is the bring forth a fact that is overlooked a lot in car magazines and articles, similar to how the high points in vehicles like the H3 are overlooked. The Asians and Germans win every comparison test, every shoot out, etc. You look at a comparison test that says “Luxury Car Shootout!” and in your head you can already tell that its going to be BMW, Lexus, Infiniti up top, with Cadillac bringing it up the rear. No need to flip those pages. “Compact Comparison!” Well again, no need to even open up the magazine. We know the Civic, Corolla and Mazda 3 are going to be up at the top. With the Cobalt, Caliber and Focus bringing it up the rear. Here’s where things get to be a little more interesting with the domestic automobiles. That new Honda Ridgeline and Honda Civic are both Car of the Year, and Truck of the Year respectively from Motor Trend. The Nissan Xterra won SUV of the Year. In the latest comparison test (The press couldn’t wait for this one) the FJ Cruiser beat out the H3 as the better entry level rock crawler. It goes on, and on, and on. So as I open my new Motor Trend, what do I see on the cover? Why, it isn’t that fabulous Civic at all. It’s not even upper echelon imports like the Lexus ES or the Infinity M35. It’s a comparison test between American tuner companies on how to achieve the best car that can compare to the new Corvette Z-06. But that’s fine right, I mean, it’s just “one” issue? Well I looked for previous issues of Motor Trend to see what else graced the cover, and the results were surprising. Mustang, Z-06, Camaro, Z-06, Viper, Mustang, GT….etc. If these imports are so great and fabulous, why can’t they put them on the cover? I mean, they’re fantastic cars apparently. Where’s that awesome Avalon? It beat the 300C right? Where’s its place on the front page of the latest Car and Driver or Motor Trend?

Import cars have no personality. If you saw the cover of a magazine with a Camry on the front, you wouldn’t even consider picking it up. It may be a nice, efficient car that beats out anything that Detroit makes, but it isn’t cover material. The Impala SS is. Its personality. I took time to scan some previous issues of Motor Trend to better understand my point. The magazine companies aren’t stupid. They know what sells magazines. Imports don’t. When’s the last time someone truly drooled over a Lexus in the same fashion that someone did the Mustang or Camaro? They never will. So it’s a double edged sword when it comes to the media. They need American cars to sell the magazines, but have absolutely no problem downplaying them within the pages to promote their European and Asian counterparts. Motor Trend itself rushed to compare the Camaro and Mustang before anyone else could; because personality sells magazines. They may downplay domestics within the pages, but reading the fine lines one comes to realize that no matter how hard they push imports in people’s faces, it is the good ole domestic cars that serve as the eye candy, the draw, the lure. Check it out for yourself next time, or send an e-mail to your magazine. Why no imports on the cover? They are bland, boring cars not worthy of the cover of a magazine that is going to be seen in news stands by millions. At least until they open the cover and look inside. Then they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Notice the cover where the main focus was the Porsche 911, yet the Corvette is pushed conveniently to the front. Also notice how they dont actually show the car of the year on the COTY issue to hide the fact that its a Honda. Whereas last year they pushed the 300C/Corvette/Mustang to the cover. It's interesting stuff. Oh and the check out the latest issue as well...Mustang GT500 on the cover.

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Edited by mystik

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Hmmm...very interesting.

Hadn't thought of it like that before ... but seeing the covers ... heh...irony rocks ;).

Cort, "Mr MC" / "Mr Road Trip", 32swm/pig valve/pacemaker

MC:family.IL.guide.future = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/

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