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September 2015 newsletter

road ahead

(This is a personal opinion. Expressing it was provoked by, in the writer's opinion, a misuse or misunderstanding of the meaning and use of the word, "ethical.")

A fairly recent article in Automotive News asserts that autonomous cars make ethical decisions. If a connected car can make better and faster decisions, isn't it a niggling quibble to say it isn't capable of ethical decisions?

Nonsense. Ascribing moral agency to a motor vehicle is an anthropomorphic projection that abdicates human responsibility. Or it may be sophistry promoting acceptance of self-driving cars by suggesting they are or can be equipped to choose between good and bad.

It is the driver who makes the ethical decision to cede responsibility to the connected car and its programmers. Granted, increasingly sophisticated computers can absorb relevant data and calculate relative outcomes more quickly as compared to a human behind the wheel but, faced with a choice of evils, will a car choose to sacrifice itself and its passengers?

Will it take in to consideration who and how many passengers are in the car and their relative worth as compared to a gaggle of school children alongside the road or doddering old folks on the other side?

Regardless of the outcome in that situation would the defense be, "the car made me do it." Let us hope not. An example that comes to mind are concentration camp guards and commandants' excuse that they were "just following orders." Or, more currently, ISIS beheadings in the name of Allah. Or, a recent headline in TU-Automotive: "Smart Services Could Shoulder The Burden of Thinking."

The historic tendency of humans to give over their freedom (and responsibility) to outside agencies is no doubt a reason why Stephen Hawkings, Bill Gates and Elon Musk have all decried the oncoming of artificial intelligence and with it, the possibility of autonomous weapons searching for and engaging targets on their own. Or Google robots with AI that "learn" from humans and contexts and create their own version of reality.

As devices become more and more sophisticated and "learn" from each other there will be a concomitant incentive for humans to let AI rule. It won't be "the devil made me do it" but "the algorithms decided."


new roads passing scene: theDrive

Time Inc. is slated to launch The DRIVE automotive web site soon and is going first class (see Lane Changes). The venture, along with numerous other digital acquisitions and ventures such as the launching of The Foundry in house. It will draw on the company's editorial, web and app developers, tech experts and outsiders as needed to provide cross-channel content marketing for clients.

Meanwhile New York Times' CEO Mark Thompson believes that the company's digital revenue will soon surpass the company's print income which is now 70% of its total revenues.  Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor for The NYT, reported Thompson told her, "I think five years is feasible to reach that tipping point." . . . Auto enthusiast publisher TEN, on the other hand, sees a future in video on demand, Erik Sass reports in Media Post. TEN recently announced that one of its print titles, Motor Trend has launched a new OnDemand subscription TV service that will bring subscribers 1000 hours of original automotive programming, including racing footage, episodic series, event coverage, historical archives, films, documentaries and selected television series. It will also provide video produced by other TEN publications. The Motor Trend OnDemand venture follows TEN's launching a print version, event series and website spun from its popular Roadkill video series.

The aforementioned Mr. Sass also reports The New York Daily News launching Daily News Autos "a digital content hub and resource for consumers in the market for a new car and auto enthusiasts." He says the new site includes in-depth features and automotive entertainment content skewing towards enthusiasts. . . . Forbes will launch a social network for its "Under 30" members. Gavin O'Malley of Media Post says the app, expected to be introduced by Forbes in October. Forbes' Under 30 list presently includes about 2,000 members from precocious entrepreneurs to moguls-in-the-making.

Michael Wolf in the MIT Technology Review explains why he thinks the New York Times and other major news publishers should not allow Facebook's Instant Articles, Apple, Snapchat Discover and an anticipated similar venture by Google use their content. They are giving away worthwhile content they pay a great deal of money for and get no money in return. Building their brand's value is questionable at best. Their print advertisers get no added exposure and, if the digital distributor sells ads against the content they provide, they get only 30 percent. Of course, as he notes, there is increased incentive for these providers to include more product promotion, so-called native advertising in their content a la Buzzfeed. That trend is being fed by more Content Developers.

If you didn't see it, Top Gear's cast and producers signed with Amazon Prime for $250 million plus and will air their new show in the US, UK, Australia and Germany starting next year where Prime is now available, with more nations expected to be added to the list. . . . Apple News has signed dozens of publishing partners, Erik Sass reports in Publishers Daily. Among then are Condé Nast, Hearst, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Wenner Media, Bloomberg, Reuters, BuzzFeed, ESPN, Vox Media and Mashable. Apple returns them 70% of the ad revenues their content brings in.  

Sass also writes that the Washington Post is bolstering its video offering with a launch of a new video content hub: Washington Post Video. It will deliver fresh video, he says drawn from across the web as well as its own editorial features. He cites the NY Times and Wall Street Journal as among a number of big newspaper publisher focusing on digital to engage audiences and increase revenues. . . .It’s worth noting that 20th Century Fox has increased its investment in National Geographic print and TV.


passing scene

Every 2.5 seconds eight startup ventures begin around the globe. It is not so fast in the U.S. Here, one new startup opens every five seconds. Those statistics are reported by Tyler Lochner in Real-Time Daily. His source, a real-time graphic (below) from Gasoline, a startup apparel brand for startups. Its not so bad or crowded as you might think: in the time it takes for 30 startups to be born, 27 die. passing scene: real time stats for startups

Erik Sass reports in Media Post that Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has launched a social network and mobile phone service that allows customers to donate part of their phone bill to their favorite non-profit. Begun in the UK in 2012, the network, "TPO", ("The People's Operator") uses Sprint's mobile service and offers a variety of subscription plans and the opportunity for people to connect around a shared cause via text messages and photos while facilitating crowdfunding, without TPO skimming off the top. In announcing the unqiue service, Wales was quoted, "Existing social networks treat you as a commodity to be sold to advertisers. This leads naturally to intrusive use of your data and an inherent conflict between what you want and what advertisers need."

Also in Media Post, Chuck Martin writes, "By the end of the year, four times more things than people are expected to be connected to the Internet." This is based on a report by IC Insights, a company that "tracks global trends in integrated circuits and other technologies that power the Internet of Things." The company predicts there will be 13 billion things connected by the end of the year and a total of 25 billion by 2020.

Kaila Colbin, in her Online Spin column, "A Hacked Jeep Is Just The Tip Of A Very Scary Iceberg," rightly points out that security and privacy is major, major concern as all those connections come into our lives. She warns "...It's doubtful there's any one answer. But it's clear that, if we don't take this stuff seriously, a hacked Jeep may just be the least of our worries.". . . . However, it is worth noting as Andrew Tolve reports in TU Automotive's Weekly Brief members of the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers have joined together to create a U.S-based Information Sharing and Analysis Center (Auto ISAC) to mitigate the risk of auto hacking. He says the center is expected to be open by the end of the year and "will serve as a central hub for intelligence and analysis, providing timely sharing of cyber threat information and potential vulnerabilities in motor vehicle electronics or associated in–vehicle networks."

Speaking of AI and autonomous weapons (see Road Ahead), Michael Knab's Legendary Car Life reports that a U.S. firm has challenged a Japanese company to a battle of giant robots to take place next year. The piloted robots will fire 3-pound paint cannon balls at one another at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. passing scene: megarobots video


pit notes

Media reports of Mitsubishi closing its only assembly plant in the U.S. say the company started selling vehicles here in the ‘80s. They actually began in 1971, selling Chrysler Colt and Cricket sub-compacts it built in Japan for distribution by Dodge and Plymouth dealer networks, respectively. Doing it that way was the huge Japanese conglomerate's "toe in the water" approach that it has employed in growing from a wooden ship-builder to a 55-division multi-national operation with its fingers in building ships, airplanes, and autos, the insurance, pit notes: burnt rubber banking and travel industries and other enterprises. It says it will continue to build cars in Japan for sale through its dealer network here.

If you can't get enough of cars by driving and working on them and reading and watching them, you can now add "smell" to your indulgence. Sunoco, official fuel of NASCA and NHRA, has bottled a spoofy his-and-hers fragrance called "Burnt Rubbèr" as part of a new advertising campaign labeled "The Essence of Racing." Larissa Faw reports for Media Post that the accent is on the second syllable of "rub-ber" to add a pseudo French accent to the product. It is available only on Sunoco's Social media outlets so far.


awards and events


The 2015 top winners in Auto Pacific's Ideal Car Awards, based on responses from a survey of 66,00 new owners: Ford- F-150, Porsche and GMC. . . .Five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae won the top prize in the week-long fun-filled Barbados historic rally - King of The Carnival... . . .SEMA awarded $150,000 scholarships to 45 current students, and 13 loan-forgiveness awards to employees of SEMA-member companies. . . .Bob Kocher won a first place division award with the Lancia he took to what he terms, "The Midwest's biggest Italian Gathering" (the 10th annual). . . . Motor racing photographer Jesse Alexander has received the 2015 International Automotive Media Competition Lifetime Achievement Award.

EVENTS awards & events: save the salt
The Save The Salt Coalition and the Utah Alliance are working together as advocates for the land speed racing (LSR) community to protect the Bonneville Salt Flats. The cancellation of four of the five major racing events for 2015 due to weather and deteriorating conditions at Bonneville prompts their campaign and a request for more members. You can find out more at: or by contacting "Landspeed Louise" Noeth: at or Stuart Gosswein, at . . . . Automotive Marketing Newsletter's first one-day show Nov. 9 in NYC will cover the industry, its executives and advertising innovations. Go here for more information and to register . . . . Jimmy Zimmer, Co-founder and President of Lyft ride-sharing platform, will keynote the Nov. 17 Connected Car Expo in Los Angeles prior to the L.A. Auto Show Press Days, Nov. 18-19. Thirty world debuts are slated for this year's show.


regional news


NEMPA will hold its annual "housekeeping" meeting Sept. 15. . . .Ford is graciously hosting IMPA's September 16th (PLEASE NOTE – IT IS A WEDNESDAY) session at the 3 West Club, 3 West 51st Street in New York City. Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Company's wizard for global consumer trends and "futuring" will be speaking. The program begins with a noon reception, then lunch and the presentation/Q&A, all concluding by 2 p.m. . . . It's time to make reservations for IMPA Test Days, which returns to Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, NY Tuesday and Wednesday, October 13-14. The annual banquet will be held at the Honor's Haven Resort & Spa. (Attire for the banquet is typically something dressier than a polo shirt.) When making reservations, please state you are with the IMPA Group. This will allow you to take advantage of the IMPA rate of $135 for a room (this rate includes all hotel and resort fees - ** DOES NOT include NY State Taxes). To make your reservations, contact the Honor's Haven Resort & Spa reservations department at 877-969-4283 or you can make reservations online here: Honors Haven. For full Test Days information and to volunteer, contact

WAPA's September meeting on the 23rd will be at the River Farms in Alexandria, VA. and will feature a continental breakfast, luncheon and 2016 MX-5 Miata Drive sponsored by Mazda from 10 a.m. until 3pm with interview opportunities. The group's fall rally will be Oct. 22nd at the lodge of Little Seneca Creek, Boyds, MD. Volunteers for the event are needed. Those interested should contact:  For OEM inquiries about showing vehicles, contact Housing and registration is now open for the 2016 Washington Public Policy Days.


Registration for MAMA's fall rally at The Autobahn Country Club officially closed Friday (Sept. 11). The day-long Oct. 7 event marks the 25th anniversary of the group's founding. It starts with a 7:30 am breakfast and offers paced touring laps (60mph) on the track, a pre-planed road tour of the countryside and a selection of SUVs and trucks to negotiate an off-road course in the infield. If you want to plead for a late reservation, Contact Jill Ciminillo ( or Patrick Olsen ( . . .Or, if you can't make the Rally, join the group on September 22nd at the CATA Headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace,Il. for lunch, demos and talk with Rob Filipovic, Product Planning Manager for Jaguar Land Rover.


The Texas Auto Writers Association's famed Texas Truck Rodeo will be sponsored for the second year in a row by The Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a business unit of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). The event will be held Oct. 8-10 at the Knibbe Ranch outside San Antonio. It attracts auto journalists from across the U.S who join Texas writers in evaluating the winners in the class competition and the winner of the coveted "Truck of Texas" title. The trucks are evaluated back-to-back on the street, track or off-road. Michelin and BF Goodrich are lunch and door prize sponsors for the event.


Auto-Design-O and MPG joined forces once again on Sept.1 to bring together world-class auto design professionals to discuss influences on their work with auto journalists along with a stimulating showcase of their work and services shedding light on the talent, inspirations, and innovations found on the West Coast.

Rezvani Beast shown by Ferris Rezvani, President and CEO of Rezvani Motors caused a stir at the MPG and Auto.Design.O gathering of media and designers. Photo: Jan Wagoner

If that whet their appetite for design, MPG members are invited guests of the Car Classic 2015 at the famed Art Center College of Design, Oct. 25 in Pasadena, Calif. Credentialed journalists are admitted free and their guests can get a deal: It is a chance to experience the future during this daylong event at the college -- a leader in educating the world's top automotive designers and transportation specialists. . . . Registration is now open for MPG's annual Track Day at Willow Springs International Raceway Oct. 6. The event has a new fillip this year: racing credentials in addition to a valid driver's license are required. They may be one of one of the following:

  • A valid SCCA racing license

  • A valid NASA racing license

  • Other recognized racing license or qualification

  • Evidence of completion of a track-based driving school within the past 36 months.

Any driver who cannot provide one of the above can qualify to drive on the track in one of three ways: Attend Track Day One (October 6) and participate in a track driver training course with Danny McKeever’s team, and receive an endorsement from a pro driver. Attend Track Day One (October 6) and take a qualifying drive with a pro driver and receive an endorsement. Appeal to the Track Day Committee for special consideration based on demonstrated track driving experience and expertise.

A Celebration of Life for Le Roi "Tex" Smith is scheduled at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, on the grounds of the Los Angeles Fairplex, in Pomona, California for October 3, 2015 from 3pm until 7pm. For additional information contact Brian Brennan at The Santa Ana Drags Reunion will be held on Saturday, 3 October 2015, at Santiago Creek Park, from 10AM to 2PM. For more information contact Richard Parks at  . . . . On track to re-open in December 2015 after a $125M capital campaign, Los Angeles' Petersen Automotive Museum's immersive technology, visceral storytelling and stunning galleries will solidify it as the American epicenter of automotive culture.

DiMora Vicci 6.2
DiMora Vicci 6.2 A Hihglight of Palos Verdes Concours

The Palos Verde Concours d'Elegance on Sunday Sept. 20 will have Tour d'Elegance on Saturday the 19th for 50 cars that will traverse the rolling hills of the Palos Verde Peninsula and conclude with a special lunch opening of the Terranea Resort restaurant overlooking the Pacific.


Edward Kemper host of Island Driver TV on OC-16 and autowriter for Hi Luxury magazine provides a run-down of auto activities in paradise that includes: Auto Lunch Bunch speakers and displays' Hot-rod shows, Harley Hog rally, regular NBC Motorsports show with the grizzled, ex-racer/raconteur Bill Maloney; Kemper's daily Island Driver TV show with tests drives and guests; SCCA races;
Euro Car gatherings, Pacific Super Car Events, Box Car racing and more. Kemper stresses that the lunch bunch does not require memberships, dues, etc. and is open at the Hawaii Yacht Club to anyone interested where you order off the menu and pay your tab. For more information about Hawaii car life, contact: . . .   Maloney's '76 Motorsports Roundup has been signed by the Armed Forces Network that reaches 188 countries and 340 ships at sea.


road signs

2015 Dodge Chargers liveried in Star Wars stormtrooper markings
On September 4 UBER offered Manhattan Uber users free rides in 2015 Dodge Chargers liveried in Star Wars stormtrooper markings from to 5pm. The stunt marked Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys and memorabilia hitting store shelves.

The New York Times headlined a story "There's No Tech News If There's No Uber News." It referred to four days in a row of Uber activity that made news in the U.S.: a stock offering that added $100 million to its $55 billion valuation, starting a food delivery service, expansion of its service in India and complaints about its way of doing business by the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

If the NY Times wanted to be inclusive, they could have named at least seven other nations around the globe where Uber is encountering resistance from governments, unions, taxi companies and independent cab services. Sao Paulo, Brazil has banned Uber. A German court has banned unlicensed taxi drivers and posted stiff fines for offenders. Canada's taxi industry allegedly is in crisis, because of Uber and other independent ride services not buying licenses or paying taxes, and, of course, taking business from those that do. France has suspended Uber. Japan has not experienced the strife attending Uber's entry in other markets but is battling it in its courts over licensing issues. Korea, like India, is enjoying upgraded taxi service generally due to the competition from Uber but has turned to its courts over licensing of Uber vehicles and their drivers. Spain has banned Uber on the basis of unfair competition and has asked the European Court system to agree. The company has launched its service in China and is meeting great resistance there. The foregoing summary from Michael Barra in Mobile Marketing.

Other charges against the company are failure to adequately screen its drivers, some of whom have been accused of raping, beating and robbing passengers. Also, that Uber deceives both the drivers and prospective customers as to the availability of either in a particular area and in predicting the income Uber drivers can expect to make.

Tim Hwang and Madeleine Clare Elish assert in Slate that Uber's contention that it is simply an Information Society free service using algorithms is not true and, "What the company has produced is a mirage of a marketplace—an app experience that produces the sensation of independent riders and drivers responding to the natural fluctuations of supply and demand. But a look underneath the hood reveals a system that intermediates and influences more than it facilitates free exchange." This undermines Uber's contention that its drivers are not employees.

For its part, Uber has the money and the great acceptance of shared mobility to aggressively, some say ruthlessly, pursue its concept, fighting in the courts and employing other iterations of it approach. In Spain, it introduced a shared bus service and when that was opposed it went to a mobile food delivery service. It has imitated a food delivery service in the U.S. and is testing a "Smart Route" bus service in San Francisco. And a package delivery service. It recently opened a project to develop autonomous cars safety with the University of Arizona. And it has partnered with Microsoft's Outlook email to make its service available on that app. road signs: uber photo by:creatisma

There's little question that shared mobility is proving its worth and gaining acceptance by the public, as evidenced by the growth of similar competing services like Lift, Zipcar, Daimler's Car2go, several rental car companies developing their own drop-off or shared system and various shared-car ventures. Jerry Hirsch of the Los Angeles Times quotes Susan Shaheen, a transportation expert and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, "there are 23 car-sharing companies renting 19,115 vehicles to service about 1.3 million members in the U.S. The industry is growing at about 35 percent annually."

Uber is ushering in the age of "Shared Economy"

Audi has announced an Audi On Demand service in San Francisco. Joe Mandese of Media Post listed four new ventures proposed in a recent competition for funding: "EatWell, a startup enabling users to share pictures of their food in order to get recommendations for healthier and more satisfying eating options. Schwap, kind of an "Uber for power equipment," enabling owners to lease their underutilized gear to people who need to rent it temporarily.  Sustainable Suds, which does away with plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles by shipping biodegradable refills to subscribers to refill their own bottles. casualHour, a venture enabling users to temporarily lease underutilized space in hotels and residential building common areas for gatherings, parties and meet-ups.

Wrapfy is a California startup "that has created an Uber-like platform to connect advertisers with car owners willing to have their cars wrapped with ads for a fee," according to Steve McClelland in MAD. Some 1500 drivers have already signed up.

Perhaps Uber's most telling impact will be on the auto industry as predicted by Kailia Colbin in her Online Spin columns. In an earlier column she saw Uber getting out front and dominating the auto industry as evidenced by its "poaching 40 driverless-car researchers and scientists to populate its new tech center in Pittsburgh. However, she modified that assessment in her next column, acknowledging that existing automakers would see the need to thwart being put out of business by someone else's autonomous cars and would therefore develop their own. (Toyota has announced an autonomous car research and development program with Stanford and MIT.) With more companies following, a demand for rules, regulations and safety standards would be created and that would allow driverless cars to become generally available and useable.


across the finish line

Ann Arnot –A well-liked auto journalist who for nearly 30 years wrote for Redbook, McCall's and Woman's Day, where she had a regular automotive column, "Woman at the Wheel." And a weekly auto column for The Detroit Free Press and New York Post.

Michael Argetsinger - A founder of the International Motor Racing Research Center and an award-winning motorsports author.

Buddy Baker, Jr. – NASCAR star, first to eclipse 200 mph on a closed course, won Talledaga four times and set still standing record for average speed in wining Daytona 500 in 1980.

Dick Guldstrand - A gentlemanly engineer, famed Corvette sports-car racer and champion, a skilled tuner of Corvettes after his racing years but first and in his blood –a southern California hot- rodder.

Justin Wilson – Popular Indycar driver, safety advocate and elected representative of his peers in dealing with the sanctioning body. The result of a head injury suffered while competing at Pocono Raceway. A fund for his children has been established by Indycar:

Wilson Children's Fund
4551 West 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222


lane changes

TheDRIVE.COM "CELEBRATING CARS AND THE CULTURE AROUND THEM" has announced an impressive staff as reported by Chris O'Shea in Adweek's Fishbowl NY.: Mike Guy, Editor; Jonathan Schultz, deputy editor, Lawrence Ulrich, chief auto critic; Chris Cantle, West Coast editor; Max Prince, senior editor, A.J. Baime, editor-at-large; Brett Berk, writer-at-large. Heather Albano, managing editor and Ben Keeshin, staff writer. Other autowriters are expected to contribute. Berk will also continue to contribute to the select list of luxury pubs for which he has been writing.

Kyle CampbellKyle Campbell has joined the NY Daily News Jersey City office, working for the paper's new Autos section, which is all online. He expects to do some writing, reviews and coverage of auto shows. Reach him at:  . . . Ron Sessions has a new email address for his Sessions Media: His phone # is: 248-506-1757 . . . . Dave Destler, formerly with RaceFan TV, advises he is out of autos. . . . Daren Fonda, supplants Jessica Anderson at Kiplinger's Personal Finance. He can be reached at: . . . Jerry Reynolds in Farmers Branch, TX changed his email from the car guy to . . . Emails for Barbara Hassler-Steig at Autosport should be addressed to


- 30-

Glenn Campbell, Owner, Publisher

Glenn F. Campbell

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September 2015
15-16 Frankfurt Motor Show Press Days | Frankfurt, Germany
16 IMPA |Ford Motor Company Luncheon, New York, NY
17-27 Frankfurt Motor Show Public Days|Frankfurt, Germany
22 APA| Nissan at the DAC, Detroit, MI
22 MAMA| Jaguar Land Rover Luncheon, Oakbrook Terrace, IL
30 APA| Jaguar Land Rover at the DAC, Detroit, MI
October 2015
3-4 IMPA| Test Days, Monticello Motor Club, Monticello,NY
5 WAJ| 2nd Annual Silicon Valley Reinvents the Wheel Symposium, Mountain View, CA
6-7 MPG| Track Days, Willow Springs International Raceway, Willow Springs, CA
7 APA|NADA, DAC, Detroit, MI
7 MAMA| Fall Rally, Joliet, IL
7-9 TAWA| Truck Rodeo, Knibbe Ranch, TX
20-21 APA|Consumer Reports, DAC, Detroit, MI
28-29 Tokyo Motor Show Press Days| Tokyo, JAPAN
30 Tokyo Motor Show Public Days| Tokyo, JAPAN
November 2015
1-8 Tokyo Motor Show Public Days| Tokyo, JAPAN
2-6 2016 Lexus RX Press Preview| Raleigh, NC
3 APA| Lincoln at the DAC, Detroit, MI
3-6 SEMA Ignited| Las Vegas, NV
10 IMPA| Jaguar Land Rover
17-19 Los Angeles International Auto Show | Press & Trade Days, Los Angeles, CA
20 APA| Tesla at the DAC, Detroit, MI
20-29 Los Angeles International Auto Show | Public Days, Los Angeles, CA
December 2015
8 APA| NACTOY Finalists at the DAC, Detroit, MI
8 MPG| Dean Batchelor Awards, STBD
15 MAMA| Holiday Social at Dana House, Wheaton, IL
15 IMPA| Buick-GMC Sales, New York, NY
17 Automotive Journalist Media Event – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Location in Detroit TBD
January 2016
TBD MAMA| Annual Business Meeting
11 APA| Networking Reception at the NAIAS, Detroit, MI
11-12 North American International Auto Show Press Preview| Detroit, MI
13-14 North American International Auto Show Industry Preview| Detroit, MI
15 North American International Auto Show Charity Preview| Detroit, MI
16-24 North American International Auto Show Public Show| Detroit, MI


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talk back

 Keep Laguna Seca Local

The following is an open letter to the public from Gregg Curry, SCRAMP Board President:

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

The Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) built what is known today as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1957. Laguna Seca was created by a Federal Land grant to provide a safe and dedicated facility for racing. The land was originally a part of Fort Ord but was deeded to the county in 1974 to administer the land with a concession agreement to operate the facility with SCRAMP.

SCRAMP is a non-profit organization that has served the community for nearly 60 years, which annually donates more than $250,000 of its proceeds to 60-70 local charities and civic organizations. SCRAMP has grown from presenting a single motor sports event in 1957 to annually producing five major events which generate a $200 million economic benefit for Monterey County.

More than 300 local community members annually commit thousands of hours volunteering at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the love of motorsports in Monterey County. We are a local, active and highly visible member of the community dedicated to bringing world-class racing events to the Monterey Peninsula — benefitting our race fans, sponsors, charitable organizations and our community.

SCRAMP has invested more than $50 million in the Laguna Seca facility, and we continue to be committed to upgrading Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to enhance the overall experience for spectators, sponsors, participants and visitors.

Since January 2014, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors has conducted closed-session meetings to discuss a new Concession Agreement without SCRAMP's knowledge. These closed-session meetings resulted in the Board of Supervisors entering into a 90-day due diligence agreement with International Speedway Corporation (ISC) to take over management and operation of the raceway. ISC is a for-profit, publicly traded corporation based in Daytona Beach, Fla., whose primary business is the ownership and management of NASCAR race tracks.

SCRAMP is requesting a fair and open process where we be given equal consideration to continue to improve and manage operations of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and that this process be held in the open with the benefit of public participation and review.

We urge you to contact your Monterey County Supervisor to support and request consideration of SCRAMP to keep revenue local for the benefit of our community and to continue the legacy SCRAMP established in 1957. We, your neighbors and friends, ask for your support.

For more information please visit:


Greg Curry
SCRAMP Board President

New editorial; some social outreach


Hope everyone is doing well.

Please take a moment to peruse my latest editorial on the auto industry located here on Autoblog, one of the largest automotive news, opinion and reviews sites in the industry. There will be more....

Mergers & Acquisitions

Also, if I may impose a tiny bit more of your time, please like, friend and follow my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I've got about 50 or so highly-trafficked editorials out there in the digital media space. Not exactly McDonald's numbers, but about 36 million pairs of eyeballs happily served thus far since 2014.

This being the case, it's about time I built up my own damn social media street cred with some serious numbers and you can help! Payback will be in karma, all of it positive and life-affirming, even if not monetary.

I'll have more news in the coming couple of weeks, as well. I'll disseminate that news through all possible channels, so stay tuned.

Here are those social links:


Jim Resnick


Ashley Madison hackers turn attention to crapcan series, leaving subscribers vulnerable to job loss, divorce, general humiliation.

Angleton TX--Hackers have threatened to post LeMons' driver lists to the Web if their demands are not met by the Sept 19 app deadline for MSR Houston (race 14-15 Nov). Calling itself  'Duntov Action Jihad,' the shadowy group claimed it would "...ruin these [hella-butt] cheaters' lives by letting the world know what they do with their weekends" unless LeMons officials "...temper their 'tude against Corvettes, F-bodies, Grand Prixs's (sic), and other examples of pure GM awesumeness (sic)."

LeMons CDTO (chief dodgey-technology officer) Nicholas R. Pon confirmed " attempt by unauthorized parties to totally jack our goods" but said the attack did "no more damage than the typical 80-year-old SCCA coot's attempt to sign up using AOL and an ENIAC console."


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Spirit of the Wind

Mullin Museum in Southern, Calif. continues its celebration of The French Art Deco Movement by documenting René Lalique’s Incredible Hood Ornaments. The 112-page Lalique Automotive Art book chronicles Lalique’s growth as an artist, from jewelry designer through Art Noveau and eventually to his press-molded glass factory that employed about 600 workers.

Mothers 59 delivery sedan

Saving water in California is like finding gold and California-based Mothers of wax and polish fame is on the verge of announcing a new formula that eliminates water not only in the Golden State but everywhere Mothers is sold.

Ken Chester

Ken Chester, Jr., a longtime automotive journalist based in DesMoines, has been tapped to host a new two-hour Saturday morning radio show for iHeart Media’s News Radio called " The Ken Chester Show." Ken is known to readers and listeners as a regular automotive columnist for the Des Moines Register and oft quoted automotive expert featured on a number of local television news programs. He is founder and CEO of Iowa-based Motor News Media Corporation – an automotive news service that provides automotive reviews, photography and features to outlets across the United States.

W Radio 690 AM Los Angeles has announced Ricardo Rodriguez-Long as the recipient of the "500 Programs Award." "Going over the five hundred live shows puts Ricardo in a selective group of Radio Hosts," said Carmen Campos, GM at the Los Angeles station. "We are extremely honored to have this opportunity to recognize his outstanding work with the community and are thrilled to continue his show on Sundays." Ricardo also serves as the automotive editor for Hoy Los Angeles, the largest Hispanic newspaper in the country, as well as the jury director for the Annual Hispanic Motor Press Awards. W Radio 690 - XEWW- Los Angeles is known as "La voz del pueblo" (people's voice) and is an extension of W Mexico.


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

Kirk Bell, President

Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA

Jsaon Fogleson, 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

Michael Marrs

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

"Everyone is going faster and faster and getting shallower and shallower."

The Value of Slow Journalism in an Age of Instant Information

Paul Salopek in Nieman Reports

"Sex may sell but it doesn't sell everything."

How We Buy

Thu-Huong Ha in Quartz

"What it we posted a blank video on YouTube -- would anyone watch?"

Agency Proves People Will Watch Anything On You Tube

Richard Whitman for Media Post

"Being online is like being a part of the greatest cocktail party ever and it is going on all the time."

Building Attention Span

David Brooks, NY Times

"This new emphasis on brands telling engaging — okay, search-optimized — stories to consumers rather than interrupting them with clever :30s is famously opening up new ways for laid-off or burnt-out reporters to make a living in their pajamas, as an editor of mine used to put it, creating all sorts of "brand journalism."

Nurturing Freelancers Who Nurture The Brand

Thomas Forbes, Content Marketing Insider

"A US Senate report last year concluded only two of 16 automakers had the ability to detect and respond to a hacking attack."

FCA hacking risk kept from regulators for 18 months.

Jeff Plungis and Chris Strohm, Automotive News

"Big Data fiends are quickly coming to realize that having hordes of data and making use of that data are not one and the same."

So Much Data, Such Little Understanding

Tyler Loechner, Media Post

"One aspect of the Internet of Things world is the issue of voice controls that are always on." (Examples Listed)

Privacy in a World of Always On

Chuck Martin, IOT Daily

"Free is a very popular price. Of course, free isn't really free; in the content marketplace, someone is always left holding the bag -- mainly exploited contributors, legacy media companies bleeding retained earnings and venture capitalists betting on the come that seldom comes."


Bob Garfield, Garfield At Large

"A community is defined by what it has in common, and the more technology allows us to pursue our individual interests, the more we surrender the common narratives that used to bind us."

Ode To A Grecian Eurozone

Gord Hotchkiss, OnlineSpin

"Auto-play is the HGH of video advertising, pumping up numbers to a level that make no sense — and yet we continue to applaud the results the way fans used to applaud Barry Bonds after he hit another home run into San Francisco Bay."

A Gold Mine Built On Landfill

Ari Rosenberg, Online Publishing Insider

"The Internet is slowly becoming unbundled from devices and arranged around people."

A Window Into The Future of The Web

Tom Goodwin, Online Spin

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Campbell Public Relations

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