Branding Iron is a new book that applies an Ayn Rand kind of brand management to the automotive industry. It stresses "courage," "integrity,"  "authenticity," "character"  and uses Old West aphorisms to articulate the authors’ vision of what lies behind or is needed in the rise or fall of automotive brands. It also uses words, like "cowardly," "stupid" and "moronic" to emphasize that relying alone on conventional wisdom, statistics and research will not assure a brand’s success. Whether a Board of Directors or a CEO facing High Noon has the nerve today to entrust a billion dollar brand to a Gary Cooper character willing to remake its culture, product and retailing as well as its brand perception is debatable. (Ford’s new CEO?). Branding Iron’s co-authors certainly have the credentials to back their passionate contention that it is necessary. Charlie Hughes is a marketing consultant who made his "bones" as president of Land Rover North America, leading it from a few million-dollar startup to a billion dollar enterprise. Premier brand-builder Carroll Shelby praised Hughes for "doing a helluva a marketing job – with a 50-year-old engine." (If memory serves, a power plant developed and abandoned by Buick and declined by Shelby for one of his own enterprises). Hughes honed his brand-building theories at Land Rover and uses many instances from that experience as well as time spent as CEO of Mazda and earlier auto marketing posts to illustrate the points the book makes likes a sermon on salvation. Former Car and Driver editor-in- chief and Ford ad agency Sr. VP William Jeanes adds humor, pace and his own considerable auto industry experience to the narrative. Branding Iron seems a must read for marketers and aspiring CEOs. It may make current automotive PR folk unhappy with their work or get them fired and it won’t help auto journalists do a better "ride and drive" comparison. On the other hand, it can enrich their perspective and equip them to better deal with and write about anomalies in the industry such as: more models-less choice, losing money by saving money, synergies that deplete identities and brands that don’t deliver the experience promised.


Engines and Heels is a new bilingual website catering to women interested in cars. Editor is probably the first if not the only Hispanic female auto reviewer in the U.S., Priscilla Rivere. She is a national-award- winning journalist and photographer (National Association of Hispanic Publications) who spent 15 years with Mundo Hispanico, a Cox Communications newspaper, as a motor section editor among other duties. She also served as a CNN Espanol Radio correspondent and more recently as Motor Editor for Muevelo Magazine, a national Hispanic lifestyle magazine. She states they have seven reporters researching, testing and writing articles for the site but anticipate needing freelancers around the U.S. as they grow. Here chief auto reviewer is Juanita Plata, a native Columbian based in Atlanta for 11 years. A professional bilingual, voice over, Plata worked on and behind camera for Univsion in Atlanta. She was Beauty and Fashion editor for Muevelo and in that position, traveling to the many major markets where the magazine is distributed, she says she came to realize that many women need to know more about cars and the auto industry. . . .  MASS APPEAL this new magazine is a lifestyle magazine for young urban males with "the best in music, art and style." Editorial includes interviews with authors, musicians and actors, and the latest in jewelry, games, cars, fashion, film, art and music. . . .The RV XTREME MAGAZINE is a monthly for recreational vehicle enthusiasts interested in the latest news on models, technology, and accessory products. Managing editor for Xtreme Publishing Group is Jeff Dusing.  The January 2007 debut issue will appear December 1 on newsstands nationwide and also be available by subscription as well as at RV dealers, parks and campgrounds.


Michael Davis who contributes to The Car Connection wrote his first auto story in 1954 for Business Week. (He does not claim to be the senior practicing auto journalist however, deferring that honor to Maynard "Mac" Gordon who reportedly wrote on assignment for Automotive News when he was a teenager in the 1940’s). Davis’ first BW story was about who the Lincoln Continental buyers were.  He then wrote for the Miami Herald interviewing auto execs when they cam to town and covered the 1956 Daytona races. From there he moved to Business Week’s Detroit Bureau in 1957. Then it was a number of PR assignments at Ford.  Asked about the changes in auto journalism over the years he replied: "The most striking change in auto journalism is the lack of knowledge among those "on the beat"-- most of them short timers, some with agendas, little depth, mucho "pack journalists" all singing same song. In my view, not much real sense of what constitutes news. Much turnover. The other change is in the system -- quoting PR folks by name rather than seeking interviews with experts or authorities. "News" built around what someone (usually a "spokesman") said rather than what someone did -- applies pretty generally rather than just to automotive journalism. Maybe these are just the grumblings of an old codger. However, they are shared widely among the Detroit old timers from auto journalism and PR, regardless of background. They don't make 'em (auto journalists) like they used to. Gives us lots to grumble about when we meet, which is fairly often."


First, our apologies for confusing the Boston dailies and possibly, readers of this Newsletter. Royal Ford remains Auto Editor for the Boston Globe, Eric Convey left the Boston Herald and was replaced by Jerry Kronenberg. . . . Jackie Mitchell-Robinson now edits and co-publishes Motion Magazine launched this year as an automotive lifestyle magazine for women. A bi-monthly it is multicultural and focuses on professional women 35 to 55 years old seeking to enhance their automotive experience. Mitchell also writes a monthly car column for the Detroit News’ Wednesday Drive section. . . . Jill Ciminillo has moved from the Pioneer Press Newspapers to the parent Chicago Sun-Times where she will help build and automotive web site that will include 103 newspapers in the Chicago area. She is in need of press kits for the 2007 model year. She can be reached at


MPG DEAN BATCHELOR AWARD to the journalist judged to have produced the single piece of work which best represents the professional standards and excellence symbolized by the career and life of Dean Batchelor. The award is for a specific piece of work produced during the past 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2006. The nominated works can be in print (including photojournalism), electronic (including the Internet), or film/video mediums. The work must be in English. It need not be by an MPG member but it must be nominated by an MPG member.

MPG LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Nominations for the Life Achievement Award must be submitted in writing to the MPG Board by September 30. Representative samples of the nominees work, or a brief outline of the nominee’s accomplishments, must accompany the nomination. Nominations for both awards should be sent to MPG offices.

GOLDEN QUILL WAPA presents a Golden Quill each year for the best automotive story or series in print, broadcast or on the web that contributes to the public good related to Motor vehicles or the motor vehicle industry. Entries are open to any journalist based in the Washington/Baltimore area and Must be received by November 15. Send two printed copies of each entry (including Web work) to Frank Aukofer, Golden Quill Chairman, 5325 Beechway Drive, Falls Church, VA 22044.



14        APA Convergence Luncheon, Detroit
18        APA Luncheon, Detroit, Tom La Sorda,Chrysler
19-21   World Power Train and Automotive Body Expos Novi, MI
20        WAPA Luncheon, D.C., Renewable Fuel, Chrysler
20        MAMA Luncheon, Chicago  Ford New Model Preview
23        MPG Power Tour


3          MPG /Fallon Luncheon, Los Angeles
4          APA Great Race Luncehon, Deroit
5-6       MAMA Fall Rally, Bloomingdale, IL
10        NADA Luncheon, Detroit
11-13   NWAPA Mud Fest, Seattle
12        Automotive Public Relations Council, Detroit
16-18   SAE Convergence, Transportation,. Electronics, Detroit
19-21   TAWA Texas Truck Rodeo- Fort Worth
22        WAPA Fall Rally
22        Extreme Auto Fest
24        APA Luncheon, Chicago Daimler-Chrysler Financial
25-26   Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Show, Dayton
31        SEMA Show


The 13 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.


APA      Automotive Press Association, Detroit - John Lippert,
IMPA    International Motor Press Association, NYC -
MAMA   Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago -
MPG      Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -
NEMPA  New England Motor Press Association, Boston -
NWAPA  Northwest Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA-
PAPA      Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix-
RMAP      Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -
SEAMO    Southeast Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC
TAWA      Texas Auto Writers Association, Red Oak TX -, Albert Flores,
TWNA     Truck Writers of North America, Tom Kelley, Executive Director,
WAJ      Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco  -, Michael Coates, president,

     Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C. -

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Glenn F. Campbell