january 2009 newsletter

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the road ahead

Change is the promise of the new administration in D.C. It is also the admonishment of John Zimmermann in his Change Your Mind blog. He is a veteran automotive journalist with three decades of experience in the motorsports publishing industry. He says changing our minds “does not mean we have to abandon the American ideal, for many would say that just such an abandonment is what got us into these straits in the first place. The fabled American spirit is precisely what we need to get us out of this mess, and we cannot begin applying it too soon. Before we do, however, there are certain fundamental changes of perception that we must embrace, and while some of us already do, the imperative for all is inescapable.”  Among the changes Zimmermann asks for is Motorsports returning to its roots as a developmental test bed. “ . . . what better arena is there for the advance of automotive technology than racing? Motorsports has always been the natural research laboratory for the automobile industry, and it is therefore only logical that the racing industry should shoulder the responsibilities of its position and lead the way to the future.

“. . . . in recent times the focus of the sport’s governing authorities has not been on running ever faster and ever farther, but on restraining the very technological advances that made the sport what it was. The result of this quest for mandated mediocrity is that this once groundbreaking rolling laboratory has been trivialized to the point of being only “entertainment.”

The United States of Toyota By Peter De Lorenzo

Among the needed changes Peter DeLorenzo lists in his weekly AutoExtremist Rant of January 7 ( are: getting consumers to resume spending, repelling the efforts of “southern senators and members of Congress hell-bent on destroying the Detroit Three in their quest to ultimately replace the nation’s homegrown industry. . . .” And, “Getting American consumers to look beyond the negative perceptions and discover the positive reality about Detroit’s competitive models . . . the most daunting, make-or-break marketing challenge in history.” He believes the Washington auto industry hearings “. . . seared a losing image for the domestic automobile companies – at least two of them anyway – in the minds of the American consumer. DeLorenzo is the author of The United States of Toyota which is available at and leading book stores. He founded the Autoextremist internet magazine in 1999 and his weekly rants have become a “must read for many professionals within and without the industry.”

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frank washington update
To All:

It's been almost one year, January 29th, 2008, since I was attacked whileFrank Washington walking for exercise. Trauma doctors, surgeons and dentists took most of the year to put me back together. I've undergone facial reconstruction surgery, eye surgery to rid me of double vision and I've done time in the dentist chair. I wanted to thank all of you who supported me with your concerns, your prayers and your donations to help with my medical expenses that I'm well and back to work.

I'm really just happy to be here given the circumstances. I truly believe that your concern, your prayer and your support in the wake of my being attacked have much to do with me still being here. I think something greater than us all heard you and opted to bestow on me the blessing of continued life. I will do my best to earn it. Thank you so much and Happy New Year. Frank.

Frank Washington
managing partner/editor 
PO Box 23167
Detroit, MI, 48223

the tom-tom

Autowriters.Com invites readers to submit their own Clog
(Online Column).  Your reward: a byline and an audience of your peers.  All submissions are acknowledged, queued
and used at the editor’s discretion. 

A slap in the face invites a response but it is hard to do with equal force when it is a verbal assault mixing truth, half-truths and untruths in the halls of Congress and echoed in national headlines and newscasts. The emotions provoked can’t be put back in the bottle nor stilled by lengthy syllogisms - but the nation’s auto journalists are weighing in as best they can. Two veteran commentators sent us their blogs on the subject.

Gary Witzenburg, has been writing about automobiles, auto people and the auto industry for 21 years. A former auto engineer, race driver and advancedGary Witzenburg - Autobloggreen technology vehicle development manager, his work has appeared in a wide variety of national magazines. He asks, “Shouldn't those auto/government hearings have been reversed? Did it occur to anyone else that those oh-so-painful auto CEO/government hearings should have been the other way around?"

“Instead of the heads of America's three remaining automakers groveling, begging and enduring live public floggings trying to sell their case for government loans to get them past the global economic crisis and credit freeze that government greed, corruption and incompetence has created, shouldn't they have been vein-popping outraged and angry?"

Shouldn't they have pointed accusatory fingers at that sorry collection of arrogant, auto-ignorant Senators and Congressmen who got them into this mess and demanded their assistance? For his full blog: "At Witz' End: What The Auto CEOs Should Have Said” click here:

Denise McCluggage has been reporting and commenting about Detroit and the cars it makes since 1952.  In the process she has won numerous honors, awards and distinctions for her writing. She admits, “. . . I have, in my time, spit out the word “Detroit” much the same way Sarah Palin pronounces “elitist.”  I’ve criticized “Detroit Iron” and complained about slow-moving management and silly decisions. (Aztec!?) But I’ve discovered that Detroit must be family – when others criticize it with distortions of the facts and sheer ignorance I rise up, arms akimbo, and say: “Wait just a darn minute here!”  So herewith I consider seven myths about that collective noun “Detroit.”  Regardless of persuasion, pro or con, any responsible discussion of the domestic auto industry needs to deal with these “myths.”  And, also with her politically astute counter to union versus non-union pay proposals by Senators from the Southern states hosting transplant auto plants. Read her full '7 myths about the car bidness' here:

 Tom-Tom rants, raves, rambles and ruminations are volunteered and express the opinions of the writer.


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autowriters spotlight

Until proved otherwise, Dan Jedlicka represents Chicago’s longest-tenured newspaper journalism family (excluding publishers). His father, Albert Jedlicka, was the real estate editor for the Chicago Daily News from 1950 until his untimely death in 1976 at age 62, two years before the paper folded. Dan has been the Chicago Sun-Times auto writerAutowriters Spotlight: Dan Jedlicka since 1968. A 58-year stretch of Jedlickas that is still growing although Dan recently moved to his home office to continue the paper’s Auto Times section from there. He proudly recalls his dad won national recognition in Time Magazine for exposing the country’s first big savings and loan financing scandal. Dan worked briefly at the News and then shared the same office building with his father when the News moved to the Sun-Times in an unsuccessful effort to survive.

Dan worked at the Champaign-Urbana Courier, the Chicago City News Bureau and as a PR copy writer during his first years after graduating the University of Illinois in 1965 with a degree in communications. While newspapering is in the family, a love of cars was not. His dad had only a passing interest while Dan’s is avid. He has owned 25 high- performance cars, among them Ferraris, Maseratis and Porsches He fondly recalls a blood red 1950s Ferrari Europa with a rakish Pininfarina body which was like a shot of testosterone in the placid environs of Harrisburg, Penn., startling the good citizens there when he drove it to feature writing assignments for The Evening News or tooled around the countryside with his wife, Suzanne, then a bride of one year. More than owning classic automobiles, he worked at driving them well, graduating the Bob Bondurant Driving School, BMW’s advanced M-Class high performance driver’s school and the BMW Skip Barber Advance Driving School. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia high-speed rally/race in Italy and has been a stock car race winner.

Dan also claims another record yet to be disproved - 4,000 car reviews and growing. That number includes those written during the 11 1/2 years he was head auto reviewer for Microsoft’s MSN Autos web site and those written over the years for a number of national magazines. His work has appeared in Esquire and Harper’s. He has often tested three cars in one week. He thinks that it will be easier to approach that pace and attend more press previews now that his Sun-Times section has been cut back from twice to once a week. But, he is building an online road test site that may require more of his time:

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pit notes

Hats off to IMPA for its informative November Impact coverage of a timely presentation and Q & A with Efraim Levy, senior industry analyst in Standard & Poor’s U.S. Equity Research Group. . . . Steve Saleen is back in the muscle car business after selling Saleen, Inc. and departing an aborted venture involving a Chinese automaker. He has opened a 150,000 square foot facility in Anaheim, Calif. and plans to produce high performance versions of the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro. He provided select Southern California enthusiasts a sneak preview of his first offering, an SMS 570 Challenger prior to its debut at NADA convention in New Orleans

The new time for Autonetwork’s live internet TV show ( is 11:00 A.M, EST. President and show host Roosevelt Gist advises the show has added live dealer interviews and that they are going to high definition webcasts. They also have agreed to provide a featured blog for a new auto section on . . . The Chicago Auto Show is responding to the financial stringencies of the times by providing a brand-neutral, fully equipped, two-car media conference set for McCormick Place exhibitors during this year’s event.

In a brief note Harold Gunn reports that Harold Gunn is proud and humbled (but not too humbled) to announce that Harold Gunn has been elected to a third term as president of the Texas Auto Writers Association.  . . . Hyundai now checks motor vehicle records of all persons requesting access to its company-owned cars before making them available. . . . Continental Tire North America, Inc. has launched a redesigned consumer website at  . . . The UK Government took action to support its motorsport supplier industry without an uproar in the House of Commons.

Media Post reports that the U.S, is now the third best market for the Smart car and that it has achieved that acceptance without advertising, relying instead on word-of-mouth, press and other grass roots events.  . . .  The publication also summarized a Consumer Reports survey that found “42% of new-vehicle shoppers are putting off a purchase; 39% of respondents are holding off because their vehicles are in good shape; 30% are doing so because vehicles are too expensive; and 30% are holding off because they are skittish about the economy. Eighteen percent are waiting for fuel-saving technologies like hybrids to become more affordable, and another group of 18% are balking at interest rates for financing. A quarter of shoppers in low-income households are delaying because of financing rates."

Generations Media Group has published its third issue of Mustang Generations, currently distributed through Mustang parts suppliers and expects to offer opportunities for freelancers soon according to editor and publisher Benton Launerts. (  He says the magazine has “a huge focus on the people behind the car... and features some of the finest photography.” . . . . Thinking of making money with a blog? Technorati’s State of The Blogosphere 2008 Report, as summarized by The Center For Media Research, reveals among many interesting facts that the mean annual revenue for blogs that accept advertising is $6,000 while those blogs with more than 100,000 unique viewers per month bring in as much as $75,000. Other facts of interest: by the end of 2007 there were 22.6 million bloggers in the U.S., 184 million world wide with 94.1 million blog readers in the U.S. and 346 million readers world wide.

Michael Karish reports that his unique web site, which relies on volunteer owners’ reports on gas mileage and driving experience, now has 38,000 cars enrolled and the number of models represented increased from 71 in November, 2007 to 179 a year later. The site has added "Why (Not) This Car?" reviews, where members describe why they bought the car they bought rather than their second choice.


AWcom for targeted news release distribution.

lane changes

With no explanation from the publisher nor comment as yet from Csaba Csere, he is out as vice president, editor-in-chief of Car and Driver.  He left at the end of 2008 after 28 years with the publication, 16 as EIC.  Hachette Fillipacchi Media Sr. VP and group editorial director John Owens is acting EIC until a replacement is named. . . . Robert Golfen who oversaw the Wheels section at the Arizona Republic left the paper after 20 years, taking a new post at Speed Channel as Auto Editor. . . . Andrew Ganz former editor of the mothballed American Driver, now edits the daily blog and writes for the bimonthly upscale magazine Luxe Registry and RM Auctions catalogs.

Mark Williams says he has heard the phrase “hiring freeze” too often since leaving his post as editor of Truck Trends. While he is open to the “Car Czar” post he is pursuing other options, including a couple of book deals and freelance assignments. His email address is:  . . . Xavier Dominicis has departed Toyota PR and the auto industry for Plano, Texas based Rent-A-Center where he is vice president of public affairs. . . . Dan Passe has departed his Communications and Marketing post at Penske Racing and can be reached at .

Former Newsweek Midwest Bureau Chief Keith Naughton stayed ahead of the magazine’s closing of all of its domestic bureaus except D.C. He is now a reporter for Bloomberg News in the Motor City.. . . . John Zajac  reports that his Chrome Sweet Chrome pdf chats are moving from the late 20th century to the 21st by migrating to a web site, He notes that all columns from the past are archived and can be referenced for dispute or praised by one and all viewing the site. . . . Wallace Higginbotham has a Porsche blog at and plans similar blogs for BMW, Mercedes and Alfa Romeo . . . Neal Dunlop now freelances and can be reached at


across the finish line

Terry Jackson, January 6, 2009. He covered autos for newspapers in California and Florida and continued to write about them while serving as Deputy Features Editor at the Miami Herald.

Bob Carlson, December 18, 2008. The popular Porsche PR pro lost a long battle with cancer. In addition to his winning personality, he is best known for daring press introductions of Porsches and the Rennsport Reunions he initiated in the United States.


- 30-


Glenn F. Campbell

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Road & Travel Magazine
and ICOTY Awards

Earth Angel Award
Most Environmentally Progressive Automaker

International Car Of The Year
 Nissan GT-R

International Truck of the Year
Dodge Ram 1500

Lifetime Legend Award
 Warren Brown, Washington Post

Earth, Wind & Power Award
 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

North American Car & Truck of The Year
 Hyundai Genesis
Ford F-150

Urban Wheels Awards

Executive of The Year
Joyceln K. Allen, VP, Public Affairs and Corp. Communications, On Star

Company of The Year
Mitsubishi Motors North America Manufacturing

Car of The Year
 Hyundai Genesis

Truck of The Year
Ford Flex

Diversity in Motorsports

Texas Truck Rodeo

Truck of Texas
 Ford F-150

SUV of Texas
Ford Expedition King Ranch (2008)

CUV of Texas
Ford Flex

Truck Line of Texas


Jerry Titus Memorial Trophy
Tony Schumacher (Drag racer)

Pioneer In Racing Award
Dave McClelland (NHRA announcer)

Jim Chapman Award
 Judy Stropus (PR for Don Schumacher Racing)

Gorsline Scholarship
Joel Miller (Star Mazda series runner-up)

SAMA Star of The Show Award
(Miami Auto Show)
Hyundai Genesis

MPG Dean Batchelor Best Of The Year Awards

 Hank’s Last Drive, Peter Egan

Comparison Test
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 vs
Ford Mustang Bullitt, Glenn McLanan

 Portraits, Jesse Alexander, Bull Publishing

 2008 BMW M3, Scott Jacobs, Edmunds

Overall Winner
Peter Egan



January 2009

17-25 NAIAS, Public Days
19 Automotive News World Congress, Detroit, MI
20 Anniversary Road & Travel Magazine
20 IMPA Meeting, New York City
20 Automotive Rhythms Inaugural Day Party & Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrid viewing, Ben's Chili Bowl, Washington D.C.
23 TAWA, Annual Membership Meeting, Houston Au to Show
23-25 World of Wheels, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
25 Auto Hall of Fame Inductions, New Orleans
29 SAMA Annual Business Meeting, Luncheon, Rusty Pelican, S. Miami, FL
February 2009
3 WAPA, Public Policy Day, Washington D.C., Auto Show
11-22 Chicago Auto Show, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
15 MAMA, Annual Business Meeting Outlook, Oakbrook, IL
19 SAMA, Luncheon Meeting, Mazda, TBA
28 "What Were They Thinking" exhibit (cars that didn't make the grade) Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, CA


motoring press organizations

The 14 regional automotive press associations provide information and background not easily found elsewhere.
  If they are too distant to attend their meetings, belonging usually gives you access to transcripts or reports of these events and other benefits.


Automotive Press Association, Detroit - Katie Kerwin


International Motor Press Association, NYC, Fred Chieco, President -,


Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago -


Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -


New England Motor Press Association, Boston -


Northwest Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA-


Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix, Cathy Droz, President- 


Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -


Southern Automotive Media Association, Miami FL, Ron Beasley, President,


Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC


Texas Auto Writers Association, Harold Gunn, 


Truck Writers of North America, Tom Kelley, Executive Director,


Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco  -, Ron Harrison


Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C., Joe Phillips-

talk back

Re: Tom-Tom Told You So Honors:

Glenn: You might want to have Mr. DeLorenzo come to the awards podium from another tack rather than "another tact."  Enjoyed the backgrounder on A&M.



I did predict GM fault long time ago, in the mid 80's. I predict the fall of Oldsmobile in 1988, in a presentation of Oldsmobile. I predict all of GM. What GM did, take me out of the road test cars.

I'm Enrique Kogan, first Hispanic auto journalist and publisher in the USA. (I publish automundo since born until I sold). Now I write to 30 Hispanic newspaper around the country.
Enrique Koagan

More comments to "I Told You So" are available online at

Re: Autowriters Spotlight - A&M

Hi Glenn,

Enjoyed your newsletter - particularly the story about A&M. John Spears and I were good friends - the only TV guys in the country at that time doing Road tests. When I left WEWS in Cleveland in 1973 to join Ford PR, John and I got closer. Going through his final days was tough, but I had done it with my brother so I had a feel for what was coming and what he needed. In any event, I left Ford in '75 and joined Volvo in New jersey and put Volvos at A&M, the first foreign manufacturer to do so. For most auto writers it was the first time they had been in a Volvo. The whole exercise raised the company's profile and gave us entree to the major media covering cars at that time.

William E Baker

I'll try again....just wanted to say some good stuff about the local A&M office here in Ft. Lauderdale. hate to see em go. also...this whole press fleet thing needs an if they get out bailout $ that ought to be a priority! but it won’t.

Re: Autonetwork Live


Thanks for the plug but you gave the wrong web address for AutoNetwork Live. It should be


Roosevelt Gist


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