the newsletter - built for reading not skimming.
April 2016 newsletter

road ahead Road Ahead:Video: Journalism in the Age of Virtual Reality

The New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today have unveiled the future of journalism. Each has launched new virtual reality initiatives, according to Erik Sass in Publishers Daily. Their purviews are not so important as their paper's investment in the medium. Its use is going to grow.

Laura Sullivan, reporting for Media Post from the South by Southwest Interactive Gathering in Austin, TX. writes "...brands are embracing the virtual in reality. In fact, the media will hit $4 billion by the end of 2016. Soon, software will surpass hardware to support the media, per Stephanie Llamas, director of research and insights, Superdata Research." Lisa Davis, writing on VR Journalism: How Tech and Storytelling Are Converging for the Future of Play Issue of HPE Matter, says, "Virtual worlds have long been the territory of computer games and entertainment videos. Now, 360-degree video and a new generation of affordable headsets like Gear VR and Cardboard are allowing documentary journalists and news organizations to adapt gaming technology to help report their stories." She quotes VR journalism innovator Nonny de la Peña. "Why wouldn't the audience want to use this (VR) as a way to get their news? It's a no-brainer to me. The younger audience in particular is very comfortable with their digital phone. This is not a place that will be problematic for them to get their news stories from."

Davis notes, "It's never been easier to manipulate the story or add propaganda into a virtual world." Which leads to the real possibility of publishers becoming producers, editors becoming directors, and reporters becoming cameramen. Which, in turn would enable politicians to become reality stars and reality stars to become political stars in a "real" world described by a VR that is programmed by algorithms directing increasingly sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines. And it is now possible to manipulate a person's lips and facial expressions on camera to make it appear he or she is actually saying what the editor wants viewers to hear.

AI already mines data and writes stories for The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times but as Atlantic Re: Think, the venerable magazine's creative group, reports, no where near to the extent that "...companies like Banjo are trying to do. They take huge feeds of Big Data from countless digital sources—everything from the 500 million tweets uploaded daily to video feeds from Brazil to traffic reports in Albuquerque—and sort through it all live, as it happens online, providing an instant source of breaking news as well as tips, insights and people on the ground long before a reporter could reach the scene."

Obviously, what is selected can be controlled, and the reverse process put in motion: news "granulized" to what you want to see can be directed to you and that which you do not want or that which the AI machine censors, would not be sent to you. . . . This likelihood brings us to the conundrum cited by Kaila Colbin in her Online Spin column: Waze, Google, Facebook: The Observer Effect And Our Interconnected, Co-Created Reality. She concludes her thoughts: "Waze, Google, Facebook, and every other for-profit digital entity that derives its success from our collective participation are incentivized not only to learn from, but also to influence, our behavior. We have yet to seriously ask ourselves whether this is what we really want. But we should."


road signs

"New Day, a new British tabloid from the publisher of the Daily Mirror, debuted with 2 million free copies of its print edition – but no Web site, and no plans for one," Erik Sass writes in Publishers Daily. He says, "The idea is to force, or perhaps coax, readers back to print, restoring some of the old exclusivity conferred by the publisher's control of production and distribution. That, in turn, allowed them to charge a pretty penny (pence?) for print advertising."

The Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Publishing, appears to be going in several directions at once: selling, buying and content sharing. The company's print operations are rumored for sale. It is trying to purchase the Orange County Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise and Crain's Chicago Business says the Trib has entered a content sharing deal with the rival Chicago Sun-Times and the McClatchy Company. Crain explains the content sharing, despite a new major investors pledge not too merge the two Windy City dailies even though his company publishes the Sun-Times, as a result of the investor's ownership of a media technology company he owns serving both papers. At last word, the Department of Justice had denied the Trib's bid to buy the California papers because it already owns the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune and adding the two Freedom Communications papers would hamper competition.

Uber is coming or remains under fire for its safety. re/code notes poor handling of customer complaints, primarily no phone number to call – even when a passenger is facing or feels lucky to have escaped possible harm. One upset Uber-user did find a web site to report a complaint. The response was a "sorry" note and a chit for a $5.00 refund. Buzzfeed's review of unauthorized screenshots of Uber records, apparently "leaked" by an employee, revealed a discrepancy of "thousands" in the number of its trip reports or "customer support tickets" referencing "sexual assault" or "rape" as compared with the 170 and five claims, respectively, acknowledged by Uber for the period 2012-2015. The screenshots and Uber's rebuttal can be see here: Internal Data Offers Glimpse At Uber Sex Assault Complaints. For the most part, the company explains the gap as classification, procedural and language problems. Uber also did away with its email "Customer Support Tickets," according to The Verge. Now, it reports most of Uber's customer service operations are handled in India and the Phillipines through its app. Meanwhile, Crain's Utah reports a Federal judge is likely to allow two rape suits against the company to move forward. In other Uber news, "the company has agreed to pay $28.5 million to riders to settle two class-action suits challenging its safety claims and, as part of the agreement, will be changing the language it uses in its marketing so that it is "clear and precise," Tom Forbes reports for MediaPost. . . .  . . . In the race with Silicon Valley to build the self-driving car, Daniel Howes points out in The Detroit News, Detroit has a key asset – the car. At least for the present.


new roads New Roads: Lowrider Roll Models

TEN, the multi-platform enthusiast networks intends to overcome the image of lowrider vehicles and their drivers propagated by some magazines and "B" movies. Its Lowrider brand has launched the Lowrider Roll Models program, a series of short video segments featuring lowrider community leaders, sponsored by Shell Lubricants and featuring Quaker State Motor Oils. The brand's manager, Rudy Rivas, was quoted in the announcement: "The culture of lowriding continues to be judged on the basis of false or dated information, so the lowrider community, through programs such as Lowrider Roll Models, is going to change that perception."

Roman Mica announced that TFL has increased its ability to produce meaningful, in-depth reviews of high performance cars by adding Paul Gerrard an accomplished race car driver, instructor, and presenter who has been a driver for the U.S. and UK versions of Top Gear. He will be the site's go-to driver for car reviews requiring a professional at the wheel. Catch one of this first for the outlet here.

Joe Pompeo reported recently in Politico Media "Blendle, the Dutch journalism start-up developing an iTunes-style payment method for newspapers, magazines and websites, made its debut in the U.S. with a coterie of high-profile publishers in tow: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Financial Times and more. He says the pay-per-story app offers refunds when users dislike articles they've purchased for as little as 9 cents a pop.

Wikipedia Foundation's commercial spinoff Wikia is getting into the news reporting business, Joe Mandese wrote for MediaPost from the SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX. He quoted Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, "Instead of just being an encyclopedia, we're becoming a news source." Mandese said Wales also described a new app for Wikipedia designed to "optimize snackable moments of users' time." The example Wales offered: "Clearly, the app could know that he read three articles about shipwrecks. Let's serve him up more content about shipwrecks." . . . Google's launching of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for mobile searches is seen by some as, "a central part of Google's maniacal mission to clean up the mobile Web and boost search revenue on mobile," according to George Simpson writing for MEDIA Daily News. AMP does load news stories faster and at the the top of searches, he notes.

Tanya Gazdik, apparently succeeding Karl Greenberg as MediaPost's automotive writer, quotes Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence for Cox Automotive speaking to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, "What worked for Millennials will not work for Gen Z because this generation is fundamentally different, They are more practical in their choice of vehicle and more budget conscious (a result of having seen their parents go through a major recession)." She says they are: "less materialistic than their predecessors and drawn to more traditional brands that are trusted and practical." The top three are Chevrolet, Ford and Honda. However, she noted "None of the automakers are currently connecting with this demographic on an emotional level."

Roger Lanctot posted on Pulse, GM in the Middle of Mobility Muddle. He observes that GM is protecting its stake in the future of personal transportation with a considerable investment in Lyft, (ride-hailing), acquisition of Cruise Automation (aftermarket self-driving car system) and the launch of Maven (car sharing.). It is backing those bets by making subsidized short-term rentals of Chevy Equinoxes available to Lyft drivers who use them in 65 rides a week. Lanctot notes that the company is yet to get its dealers on board with its Lyft and Maven programs. A great many GM dealers use Uber to accommodate their customers, he avers.

Also, Chuck Martin notes in IOT Daily, "The majority of American youths, most of whom are still too young to drive, would rather do the driving themselves, when the time comes. And the closer they get to driving age, the more they want to control the vehicle themselves, based on a new study." His report is derived from a Harris Poll of youths 8 to 18 conducted for Nielsen. He adds, "Youngsters are not alone in their view of autonomous driving. A recent study by Kelley Blue Book found that most adults don't expect to ever own a driverless car."  . . .Yet, analysts predict there will be a $75,000 Apple car (pictured below) on the roads by 2021. Jalopnik says it is pure speculation based on one analyst's reading of rumors and insider trading. New Roads: Apple 75K Car

In the meantime: "Coming soon — Tesla safety in the humble jalopy?" Louis Hansen asks in the San Jose Mercury News. He describes a "smartphone device hanging from a car's rear view mirror that checks the driver's distraction and the road ahead as well as several other safety checks. when a car enters a road. He reports, " several companies — from startups such as Nauto to major auto suppliers — are working on similar safety features that could reach the broader car market in just a few years. Nauto's beta device is already in use by some fleet operations. Automotive supplier Delphi's safety business has grown 50 percent in the past year, alone. The market is huge, Hansen notes, considering the average vehicle on U.S. roads is 11 years old and is not equipped with today's new safety devices.


old roads

The wave of change engulfing the auto industry has created its own undertow of nostalgia. Jay Leno's plaint in AutoWeek about the bygone auto parts counterman; Wally Wyss' lament reported here about the death of performance; Auto Extremist Peter De Lorenzo's rant on "The End of Cardolatry." Or the many Social Media Posts on bygone auto races, race drivers, designers, Peter Brock's for Motor Authority on the creation and creators of the Shelby Daytona coupe or Andrew Smith's posting: just the sound of a 911 moving through its gears.

Steve Ford, prompted by the recent passing of Dick Gulstrand, joins the gaze on the good old days with a tribute to the heroes and their times that infused his life with a with a love for cars. Click here to read the full tribute (and more pictures) and perhaps be reminded of your own autoworld "heroes," inspirations and aspirations.


passing scene Passing Scene:Knight's Watch color theme

Automotive News reports the shadows from ISIS outrages and mass shootings in our schools, churches and theaters have darkened consumer moods and that means the four shades of the new Knight Watch's color theme to be offered in 2019 by PPG Automotive OEM Coatings the world's largest supplier of auto body paint, will be "mostly dark, solid and subdued." The article quoted Jane Harrington, manager of color styling for  world's largest supplier of auto body paint, PPG Automotive  "We talked about security protection being this overwhelming global theme. That's how this theme came about." If that is the mood and people want the darker colors, they'll get them. On that point the publication quoted Susan Lampinen, Ford Motor Co. group chief designer for color and materials: "We've done market research that shows that if people cannot get the color they want, they will not buy the vehicle and they'll change brands and change companies."

Among the exotica, power and luxury displayed at the Geneva Auto Show, the Apollo Arrow hypercar stood out as one most likely to prompt the distraction of other drivers as it speed pass them at 200+ miles per hour. Passing Scene: Apollo Arrow Hypercar
Introduced by Apollo Automobili, the automaker formerly known as Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH, the Arrow's specs as reported by the DuPont registry are:
Engine: Twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8
Horsepower: 986 hp
Torque: 737 lb-ft
0-62 mph: 2.9 seconds
Top Speed: 224 mph

Of the seven green cars Larry Hall predicts we'll be driving in 2025 in his piece for, only a Ford and a Mercedes gull wing look familiar. The others resemble squeezed or squiggled gunmdrops, a large floating translucent tire and an opaque wedge. . . . Automotive News and Deloitte, Inforum and Ally have collaborated to launch the The Leading Women Network, a community of men and women working together toward a shared objective: to empower, mentor and educate women in automotive. To learn more go here.

Ford Motor Company may have found it unseemly or unethical to pat themselves on the back for being the only car company among 131 firms worldwide named A World's Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute. Tanya Gazdik of MediaPost reports "the program honors companies that excel in three areas -- promoting ethical business standards and practices internally, enabling managers and employees to make good choices, and shaping future industry standards by introducing tomorrow's best practices today."



Tom Burkart posted in late February: "hey guys! Car Revs Daily is looking for special contributors, writers and reviewers. There is a big catch, though: it is unpaid. Even so, for those seeking new outlets.... this may be a great opportunity. More info here.  . . . The start of the Formula 1 season was enough for David Bull to call attention to three fine books: Formula One at Watkins Glen, 20 years of the United States Grand Prix by Michael Argetsinger for $49.95. Postcards from Detroit, Remembering Formula One In The Motor City by Roger Hart, $24.95. A Life and Times With McLaren by Tyler Alexander, $55.00 For more information or to order: visit or order by telephone at 602-852-9500.

Early in March the 61-year-old Autbooks-Aerobooks in Burbank, CA hosted the James Dean researcher and expert Lee Raskin and friends for a discussion of the now legendary actor's fateful drive to Salinas, Calif. as recounted by Raskin in his book: James Dean On The Road to Salinas. For more info click: . . . .Peter Aylett's Car Art, Inc. is featuring Great British Cars and Artists during April. Samples can be seen at


pit notes

Brett Berk's review of a Mercedes-Benz 2017 E300 for The Drive broke an assumed unwritten rule of car criticism, "Never go all in." Usually, a car critic offers suggested improvements or notes inadequacies to establish his or her "creds" as an independent agent not beholden to the source for the guest test. But, there was barely a quibble, quiver, or quaver in his report that deemed the E300 "the most advanced, functional, and user-friendly suite of autonomous driving technologies in the world." His final encomium "best ever driven" may have left room for an electric car he has yet to test. . . . This PininFerrari HE Speed Concept Car unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show may create a new standard. According to the Robb Report this hydrogen-powered zero-emissions car has a top speed of 184 mph and can be refueled in 3 minutes. : Pit Notes : PininFerrari HE Speed Concept Car

Sardonic blogger Autoplobnik captured the essence of a recent Toyota announcement with this headline and pseudo quote: Toyota kills Scion brand, citing its success. "The Scion brand has done exactly what we intended it to do, which is why we are getting rid of it." . . . More auto nostalgia will hit the big screen with a new chapter of The Cannonball Run contracted for by Warner Brothers according to AutoWeek which ran the story without credit to the auto journalist who created the event that gave rise to the film franchise, Brock Yates. . . A new law gives Canadian photographers legal ownership of their work, commissioned or not. There was a time when the party commissioning the photos owned the rights and negatives.

Thanks to the national alert raised by SEMA and other concerned groups the EPA has backed off its purposed regulation that would prevent street cars from doing duty as racecars. That could have been a serious blow to the LeMons Series of races for rejuvenated clunkers as well as to countless thousands of "hot rodders" and aftermarket and specialty shops. The agency quickly backtracked and said it has no intent of banning those modifications. However, SEMA is among others who do not wish to rely on "intent" and are urging Congress to pass RPM Act 2016 that specifically permits the activity. . . . Mazda Raceway: Laguna Seca: Will it survive? asks Bruce Hotchkiss in his "Spare Parts" blog. It seems the Monterey County Board of Supervisors is looking for an entity to supplant the 60-year old Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP). Hotchkiss is concerned this could be bad and urges fans to write the Supervisors to stick with SCRAMP. Their emails are listed in the article. ...  "Vintage Racing, once thought to be not much more than a small group of gentlemen racers racing very expensive cars in club events, is moving in the direction of mainstream motorsport," according to Bob Koveleski who sent evidence of the trend with the announcement that Zenith Watch has teamed up with SVR to make an official timepiece for its 2016 series of 16 races nationally. In addition, Zenith will make a special edition Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 SVRA Watch available to SVRA's 5,000 drivers and its general membership. Koveleski says Zenith is the second luxury brand signed to sponsor the 38-year-old organization the other not named. Pit Notes: SRVA Zenith Watch

Barry Janoff reports in NY "global spending on motorsports' sanctioning bodies, teams and tracks is expected to total a record $5.58 billion in 2016, a 2.8% increase from 2015 and a rise of more than $2 billion since 2011, according to research, sponsorship and consulting firm IEG, Chicago." The piece also lists sponsors of major NASCAR teams but does not include the $200 million GM is spending to consolidate its engineering in its Global Powertrain Engineering Center – including its Powertrain Performance Racing Center so it will, "enabling faster technology transfer between GM's racing and production-vehicle powertrains," according to The Detroit News writer, Henry Payne. . . .GM also deserve kudos for capitalizing on the Telsa 3 unveiling by making sure auto journalists knew its Chevrolet Bolt EV rivals the Tesla 3 in features, performance and mileage at a lower price point and will be available at least one year ahead of Elon Musk’s first volume offering. On the other hand Tesla has deposits of $325,000,000 and growing for $14 billion in orders before the first production model is built. Plus an offer of an abandoned nuclear plant in France to help meet production demands

Gale Banks' Insider News announced the company winning a massive engine contract but does not say how much, from whom or precisely what but it is "the biggest military engine contract in 30 years." Biggest awarded by the military? Biggest received by Banks or by Oskosh Defense, which apparently subcontracted engine work to Banks?


awards and events

If Pebble Beach salutes the esthetic of the automobile, Amelia Island's annual March gathering celebrates the ethos of America's car culture. Impresario Bill Warner burnish our awareness of the people, places, events and machines that enrich our automotive heritage. . . . . It all depends. The Detroit News headlines GMC and Toyota on top in Mike Wayland's report on the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study of 2013 model-year vehicles. Karl Greenberg's report of the same study for MediaPost is head lined: "Lexus, Porsche, Buick Are Big Reliability Winners." Both reports agree that telematics - audio, communication, entertainment and navigation –are the chief problems owners are having with their vehicles . . . . . Millerschin Group CEO Erin Millerschin was named one of PR News' ‘Top Women in PR'. In 2000 she founded one of Detroit's first woman-owned companies focused on serving Detroit's transportation industry. It has since grown and prospered. Ed Welburn: Video

Ed Welburn, soon-to-retire chief designer for General Motors is the first recipient of The Detroit Free Press's Automotive Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award. Some say he is "the greatest GM designer ever." High praise considering that Harley J. Earl, William Mitchell and Chuck Jordan have preceded him. For a better understanding of his work, check out the story and video here.  . . . George Follmer, the only driver to have won both the Trans-Am and Can-Am championships in one year (1972), will be honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club at the "RRDC Evening with George Follmer presented by Firestone" in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday, April 14, prior to the running of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.


regional news


Three opinionated, outspoken and newsworthy panelists will join APA members for the annual Michelin Challenge Design's return to the Automotive Press Association on Wednesday, April 20 to discuss the 2017 Michelin Challenge Design theme: "Le Mans 2030: Design for the Win." They are: Ben Bowlby, Motor Racing Designer and Innovator, Doug Fehan, Program Manager, Corvette Racing and Dave Marek, Acura Global Creative Director


Credential applications are being accepted online for the 2016 Pinehurst Concours d'Elegance through April 23. Register on here. Approved credentials for the weekend can be picked up in the Donald Ross Sunroom within the Pinehurst Resort Country Club beginning Thursday, April 28 at 1 p.m. Contact is David Droschak, Pinehurst Concours Communications Director at 919-630-6656 (cell) or email


The Texas Auto Roundup at Texas Motor Speedway has been expanded to two days of driving, May 1-3. There will be no embargo on announcing the awards, which will be presented Tuesday afternoon, May 3. . . . Because the nationally famous Texas Truck Rodeo has a new venue this October, a May 4 pre-event reconnaissance trip, or "recce" as the World Rally Championship calls it, will provide Manufacturer and Associate Members and their respective support teams the opportunity to explore the new venue and help make decisions on the off-road and on-road drive routes, including special stage obstacles, paddock and facilities placement and so forth. The new home is the Longhorn River Ranch located in a picturesque Texas Hill Country setting west of Austin, near Dripping Springs. It features spectacular elevation changes and, with around 1,632 acres, is roughly 50% larger than the event's previous venue with options for more varied and challenging off-road courses than before. On-road drive routes will follow the winding river roads along Onion Creek, and stints at highway speeds more closely represent drive cycles Texans experience everyday.


The Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show returns Sunday, April 24, 2016 to Half Moon Bay Airport. The 26th edition of the annual event features car shows, air shows, motorcycle shows, tractor shows, maker fairs, music festivals, food festivals, and living history festivals. . . . The Mullin Automotive Museum at Oxnard, Calif. has unveiled its Cars and Carriages exhibit as part of its continuing celebration of French culture. It features fine carriages and early motorcars that highlight transportation from the end of the horse-drawn era and the dawn of the automotive age.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is welcoming the Back to the Future DeLorean to its new home with a Back To The Future Weekend starting April 20.The 3-day event begins with an unveiling of the original car followed by a panel discussion with the writer and others tied to the film and car. A dance featuring an '80s rock band is slated for April 23 and a Petersen Breakfast Club Cruise-In with Delorean Club members will be held from 8 am to 10 am on the 24th.

The Motor Press Guild is reaching out to Motorcycle Writers. MPG President Jason Fogelson notes, "Southern California is a major hub for the motorcycle industry, and for motorcycle journalism. Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha have large offices here; Harley-Davidson, Triumph, BMW, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Indian and Victory all have press fleets here, as do other smaller manufacturers. Also, that  Rider, Motorcyclist, Cycle World, Motorcycle Consumer News, and are all based here, as are many motorcycle writers. Therefore, Fogelson reasons, an MPG Motorcycle event of some sort should be established to recognize this segment of the motoring world. . . . .DiMora Motorcars is making a name for itself "where the ducks fly." That is, displaying its hand-built luxury motor cars in venues where its million dollar plus vehicles will be seen by folks who can afford them. Most recently at the second anniversary celebration of the Rancho Santa Fe (Calif.)  Motor Club and Storage. The latter providing classic car owner and aficionado members event space, concierge services and 24/7 mobile app viewing access to their vehicles. . . . . . MPG members toured Callaway Motors in Santa Ana and got an exclusive look at the 2016 Callaway Camaro SC610. And they toured Hot Rod Hall of Famer Chip Foose's Huntington Beach design shop March 31st.


lane changes

"Landspeed Louise" Noeth has left one lane, about reached the summit of second and moved ahead on a third. Typically a "100 Percenter" – all in for every task she gets involved in – she's 100 percent all out of the International Automotive Media Competition. She was named Chief Judge and Tom Kelley Chief Administrator two years ago when her good friend, event co-founder Elaine Haessner, decided to give up the day-to-day running of the event, a solo task she took on after the death a few years back of her husband and event co-founder Walter Haessner. Noeth had been a section judge for years in the annual recognition of outstanding work in automotive media but resigned with, "irreconcilable creative differences. The IAMC is going in a direction I don't care to take." Counter balancing that roadblock, the Save The Salt Coalition of activist groups that she serves as media contact and passionate advocate, has gained the unanimous support of the Utah Legislature, regional officials of the Bureau of Land Management and the companies that hold the leases for mining at the Bonneville Salt Flats. No more mining of Bonneville's salt! The next step is gaining a Federal resolution to restore the historic land speed racing venue. That is feasible, Noeth notes, because in addition to a mandate to monetize use of the land it manages, in this case granting leases to mine salt, the BLM has a mandate to restore those lands to their previous condition after the mining is done. Her third "Lane Change" was moving on to the masthead as a contributing writer for PRI Magazine, where she has freelanced often.

Alisa Priddle has moved to Detroit Editor, Motor Trend from reporter at The Detroit Free Press. She succeeds Scott Burgess who has moved on to Yahoo! Autos. Priddle can be reached at: 248-566-2614 or Try Burgess at the Yahoo protocol:  or his last known number: 248-345-6626 . . . Karl Greenberg no longer is MediaPost's automotive editor where he penned the Automotive Marketing Newsletter and reported on cars for all of the publisher's many newsletters. No word about his next assignment.

Broadcaster Steve Hammes reports he has a new TV syndication deal for his Drive Time show now in its 18h year with some 2,000 car reviews under his belt. Full details yet to be announced . . . . . Shirley Powell, chief communications officer for The Weather Company has rolled to Cox Automotive as VP of communications and community relations, O'Dwyer's Newsletter reports.

Jeff Kuhlman is chief communications officer at Bentley Motors, Inc. - The Americas and can be emailed at: or telephoned: (571) 471-9027 . . . Rod Mackenzie has departed AHA by Harman and now is CEO of Drive Time Metrics, Inc. in Virginia. His email is: and his telephone: 202-746-4093. . . . Fred Meier, formerly with USA Today, is now DC bureau chief for Cars.Com. Telephone: 202-236-4474, Email: . . . John Day has added an email to better describe his specialty: or

Mary Welch has replaced Carol White at in Atlanta:, (678) 221-2955 . . .Dustin Woods is now CN Principal at Contrast Communications in Toronto: telephone: (678) 221-2955 email: . . .Tress Eveleth has departed DuPont Registry for personal reasons and Amanda Tyler is now editor: reach her at: 866-814-7574 or . . .Laurence Iliiff has joined Automotive News as its new Dallas Bureau Chief covering Toyota's North American Headquarters near Dallas and the auto industry's growing presence in Mexico. He comes to the post from the Wall Street Journal's Mexico City Bureau. The publication's usual email protocol would be:

Please let us know if you change jobs, email or other contact information you would like other professionals to have.


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April  2016
4 Auto Lunch Bunch Luncheon|Waikiki Yacht Club, Mirai| Camaro
6 MAMA Luncheon | "My Car Does What" Days | Oakbrook Terrace, Il
7 MPG Luncheon | American Honda Museum | Torrance, CA
20 APA Luncheon| Michelin Design Challenge "LeMans 2030" | Detroit AC
21 WAPA Luncheon| VW Safety & Tech Lab | Foru Seasons Hotel, D.C.
28 APA - Gem Theater| J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Tech Choice Study | Detroit, MI
May 2016
3 MAMA Luncheon | Haartz Corp.
15-21 "Car guys and gals" trip to Cuba (Havana, Cojimar, Las Terrazas, Varadero, Cardenas, Coliseo & Matanzas)
18 IMPA | Spring Brake |Harriman State Park &Bear Mountain
18 MPG Droptops & Dirt All-Day Driving Event
25-29 MAMA | Spring Rally |Elkhart Lake,WI.
June 2016
3 APA Luncheon | J.D. Power | Detroit AC
14 APA Luncheon | TBA
21 MAMA Luncheon | Honda Ridgeline
22 APA Luncheon | J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS)| Detroit AC
July 2016
1-3 TAWA| Excellence in Craft Comptetition
12 MPG Luncheon| TBA
13 MAMA Luncheon| Mecum Auction
20 AMA Luncheon| Annual Track School
31 Int'l Automotive Media Competition Annual Awards| Plymouth, MI
August 2016
1-4 CAR| Management Briefing Seminars | Traverse City Michigan


RetroFocals: We've Got Your Style!


across the finish line the Finish Line: Al Vinikour

Al Vinikour - once wrote of him, "if you don't know Al Vinikour, its not his fault." A prototypical jovial salesman who never brought his personal troubles to a meeting, his quick wit, experience and humor made him a valuable PR communications consultant, freelance writer and friend. He began his career more than 40 years ago working for his father-in-law at the time as a traveling rep for Derus Media Service. His passing prompted two auto pro online tributes to him: one by James Bell in the Motor Press Guild's Mile Posts, the other by Paul A. Eisenstein emailed by the Automotive Press Association. Across the Finish Line: Jon Lowell Photo courtesy Ken Zino

Jon Lowell - A truly respected veteran of the Detroit press where, as Midwest reporter for Newsweek and later with Ward's, he became a walking encyclopedia of the auto industry. A memorial will be held April 16 appropriately, at the storied motor city media watering hole, the Anchor Bar. An excellent tribute to Lowell by Ken Zino can be read at: Corvette Takes Sebring - Jon Lowell Is Laughing. the Finish Line: Eric White

Eric White - Founding partner of the Automotive Preservation Society to which he devoted countless hours towards the Society's goal: "preserve the past for the future."

Joe Garagiola watching election returns with  Gerald Ford. By White House staff photo - Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, image B2179-12A, Public Domain,

Joe Garagiola – His "Buy a Car Get A Check" ad campaign for Chrysler in the 70's launched a series of "Tent Sales" across the U.S. intended to overcome the company's practice of building and "banking" unsold cars. It did not stave off Chrysler's need for a government bail out shortly thereafter.


talk back

A Call For Help

Bob Long

Long-time radio automotive reporter, critic and commentator Bob Long posted a moving and we are sure, very difficult, plea for help in overcoming medical conditions that threaten his life and livelihood. You can read it here.

Motorsports Link Relay

Here's a very clean, clear article about motorsports that just ran in Forbes ... sometime "basic" is a very good thing. –Stokes
To: Doug Stokes 
Subject: Rolex 24 story
Dear Doug:
Here's a link to my Rolex 24 story on Kind of basic, but that's what they wanted.

Jason Fogelson
Contributing Writer


Hi Glenn,
Did anyone tell you today, or this week, what a great job you do with this? I echo that if others have praised you recently. But, if not, I will raise my voice in praise now. YOU DO A GREAT JOB. Hope that didn't hurt your ears.
Julie Candler, who was raised in my hometown Springfield IL, was my pr mentor when I moved to Detroit in 1966 because my husband, Ken Thomas born K. Thomas Kitchin, got a street reporter's job at WXYZ-TV. Julie taught me so much. Last spring she hosted a lunch for some mutual friends when I was in Michigan for a gran's graduation from UMich. Amazing woman.
I mourn Vinikour too: he was one piece of work.
Hope you are well and thriving. I am happily, thoroughly retired, far afield from daily thoughts about cars and why people want to spend money to buy/drive them, but relish your rebirth as a journalist after years of successful flacking.
your fan Rosemarie Kitchin who might not have taken the Chrysler job if Moon wouldn't let me go to prison for Plymouth Trouble Shooting*

* I think I remember you, the Dodge agency guy, being in the office that Friday afternoon when we talked about me going to prisons -- don't think it was Gil Benedict. Have you any recollection? I'm not writing my memoirs, just testing memory, Glenn
Rosemarie Kitchin
Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Nice Note Wrong Town

Hi Glenn,

Been reading the newsletter for years, unaware till now that yer in Santa Barbara.

I've been away from the automotive side for awhile, but did regular print and radio new car reviews for about 15 years. Recently returned to freelance life in motojournalism. (Wrote a half dozen motorcycle books in the '90s.) Here's the current post

Best wishes, and keep rolling.

Tod Rafferty
MotorSports Media
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Advance Plug

Hi Glenn,

Happy New Year! I saw that the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance was featured in the December 2015 Autowriters newsletter and thought you'd find this of interest:
The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elegance, held in the beautiful lowcountry of South Carolina on Hilton Head Island, will occur October 28 – November 6, 2016. We'd love to pass along the news to your readers, and have them register their classics in the event. And in case you missed it, I've included the winners press release from the 2015 event below my signature and attached a photo of the winning vehicle, a 1933 Chrysler Custom Imperial Phaeton.

If you have any additional questions, just give me a shout!

Erin Abney
Account Executive
Brandware Public Relations
864.421.2757 (m)


talk to us

Send your rants, raves, questions and suggestions to:

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motoring press organizations

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

American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association, Inc.

Logo: AARWBA - Automotive Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association

Norma "Dusty" Brandel
President, Exec. Director

Automobile Journalists Association of Canada


Automotive Press Association
Detroit, MI

Logo: APA Auto Press Associaion

Jeff Green, President

American Racing Press Association

Lo Association

Stan Clinton, President


Eastern Motorsports Press Association
Ballston Spa, NY

Logo: EMPA Eastern Motorsports Press Association

Ron Hedger, President


Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Atlanta, GA

GAAMA: Greater Atlanta Automotive Association

Davis Adams, President

International Motor Press Association

Logo: IMPA Int'l Motor Press Association

Scotty Reiss, President


Midwest Automotive Media Association
Chicago, IL

Logo: MAMA Midwest Automotive Media Association

Patrick Olsen, President

Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA

Jason Fogelson, President

New England Motor Press Association
Boston, MA

NEMPA Logo: New England Motor Press Association

Craig Fitzgerald, President

Northwest Automotive Press Association
Portland, OR

NWAPA Logo: Northwest Automotive Press Association

Nik Miles, President

Phoenix Automotive Press Association
Phoenix, AZ

Logo: PAPA Phoenix Automotive Press Association

Cathy Droz, President

Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Denver, CO

Logo: Rocky Mountain Automotive Media Association

Andre Smirnov, President

Southern Automotive Media Association
Miami FL

Log: Southern Automotive Media Association

Bill Adam, President  

Southeast Automotive Media Organization
Charlotte, NC

Logo: Southeast Automotive Media Organization

Texas Auto Writers Association

Nicholas Phillips

Truck Writers of North America

Logo: Truck Writers of North America

Tom Kelley, Executive Director

Western Automotive Journalists
San Francisco, CA

Logo: Western Automotvie Journalists

Brian Douglas

Washington Automotive Press Association
Washington, D.C.


Les Jackson, President

quotes to note

Return To Formula 1 Racing (More Than A Scam)

" . . .our relationship (with Red Bull) goes back quite a long time. It is authentic and what you see coming out of it in the first instance is the hyper-car. But hopefully other technologies will come out of it as well and we can proudly put the stickers on the car and say it is more than just a marketing scam."

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin CEO, as quoted by Jonathan Noble, in

Content Marketing

"...content needn't necessarily explicitly advertise the good or service; providing info or entertainment on matters of common interest with the customer base and prospects is reason enough. The key words there, though, are "common interest." If your content gives them reason to hate you, I promise you, they will."

Bob Garfield's Mediapost Column "And Somewhere Men Are Laughing, And Somewhere Children Shout?"

Cell Phone Use

"Once out of bed, we check our phones 221 times a day — an average of every 4.3 minutes — according to a U.K. study... one thing young people don't do on their smartphones is actually speak to one another."

Jacob Weisberg, New York Review of Books, "We Are Hopelessly Hooked"

Googling Is Believing: Trumping the Informed Citizen

"The worry is no longer about who controls content. It is about who controls the flow of that content
" . . . searching the Internet can get you to information that would back up almost any claim of fact, no matter how unfounded. It is both the world's best fact-checker and the world's best bias confirmer — often at the same time
". . . there is nothing to fear from information when counter information is just as plentiful."

By Michael P. Lynch NY Times' The Stone, March 9, 2016

Autonomous Cars Coming Fast

"The amount of time it takes for technology to reach mass-market adoption has plummeted. It took the airplane over 60 years to reach 50 million people. It took the iPod just three years.

Kaila Colbin, OnLine Spin: Today Pizzabots, Tomorrow The Future

Should Advertising Be Punishable As Aggravated Assault?

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." And when some vendor comes to you with a clever new way to assault the public with yet more ads, you might want to ask, "Why?"

George Simpson, Media Daily News

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