Cars, Culture, and Etc.

Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page

Photo: Jaguar XF HDR

In Photography on May 30, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Nothing too special, just spent a little time getting to know the latest Jag and my new camera. It’s available on my Flickr as a desktop-sized download, too!

Comment: Ethics and auto journalism

In Comment, Link on May 21, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Jil,

I completely agree with Joe’s editorial and your response. And the horror with the situation is that in my opinion (having freelanced for them for a number of years), the Star Wheels section has the best ethics policy around.

I personally still follow the Star’s policies, including not accepting gifts over $40. And the air miles issue was still…up in the air…but I decided a few weeks ago to donate the miles accumulated at the end of the year to a charity.

Despite the Wheels writers (and some select freelancers) holding themselves to a high standard, where is AJAC in all of this? Why shouldn’t automakers and journalists come together to revamp the system? They’re all members of the same (fucking) organization.

The fact that nothing has changed yet is proof that the voting majority of AJAC members don’t feel their ethics can be bought — but fail to put concrete systems in place.

I was explaining to a good friend just last week the perk issue, and her first reaction was, “You write about products. Perks are part of the process. What’s the problem?”

I said the problem is that for the car buying public, the wrong (or a bought) recommendation can put them upside-down in an expensive loan for years. Cars can emotionally and financially strain people to the point of breaking.

Consider for a second a single mom with an old car, who turns to a reviewer for a new car recommendation. Reviewers not stating depreciation, residual value, fuel economy, projected reliability, and an honest review of the vehicle can unwillingly put her thousands of dollars in the hole.

I went on to say that although it’s consumer reporting, perks — especially gifts — should simply not be offered anymore. The simplest way to do this is for journalists to say no to gifts, but I maintain the question (and choice) of accepting gifts shouldn’t happen in the first place.

Automotive journalists, when doing their jobs properly, protect consumers from making what is generally the second-biggest purchase of their adult lives.

But throw in the usual turnover of a new car entering our 1.5 car families every 3-5 years…and doing our jobs takes on much more significance.

I just wish I didn’t get slapped by our advertisers every time I’m honest.

Comment: Overseas awesome #1

In Comment on May 14, 2008 at 9:42 am

Suzuki APV

Yes, this is awesome. No, it’s not sold here. It’s the Suzuki APV, a small van-thingy that looks an awful lot like the Honda Crossroad (also awesome).

My thoughts? Automakers selling cars in North America better start selling more unique, personable cars that fit into the myriad lifestyles of consumers.

Comment: Going topless

In Comment on May 6, 2008 at 10:00 am

Mazda MX-5 in the snow

Yesterday and today I’ve taken the MX-5 long-termer to teh Intrawebs course. It’s been bright, sunny, and marvelous each day. I wonder, though, if living with the car through the thick of winter (as seen here), makes the sunny days that much better?