the road ahead
Big Data is the latest buzz work in cyberdom, "It's a
revolution," says Gary King, director of Harvard's Institute
for Quantitative Social Science. Quoted in a NY Times
article by Steve Lohr, King says: "We're really just
getting under way. But the march of quantification, made
possible by enormous new sources of data, will sweep through
academia, business and government. There is no area that is
going to be untouched."
While that may mean numbers and analysis it also means
algorithms that scurry across virtual mountains of seemingly
unrelated data to produce headlight beams that see between
snowflakes, cars that talk to each other to avoid crashes,
cell phones that keep people from texting while driving and
other practical apps for motoring.
Even more eye-opening is a gesture-based device called Leap
Motion. According to Kailia Colbin in Online Spin you plug
it into your computer and you control your virtual
environment with a flick of your hand. It is actually
faster, she reports, than any methods involving friction.
But that seems like child's play when Colbin goes on to
describe "Blink" which allows a paralyzed artist to move his
eyes to a pen, blink to pick it up and "Think" which does
not require a blink. Just move the eyes to the pen and
Other than the fascination with these marvels that were once
stage tricks, there is the promise inherent in the deluge of
data pouring down in all fields that auto writing, while
currently being whipped by redundancy, diluted by hundreds,
nay, thousands of dispatchers has a promising future. Big
Data will create more to write about and it will devise
systems to distill the significant according to a reader's
personality and preferences and shape our means of
transportation until we ‘think" and we are there.
Our thanks to Silvio Calabi who provided his fellow
members with these links:
Headlights That Let Drivers See
Look Out!: Ann Arbor Cars to Communicate with One Another to
Could Cell Phones Stop People from Texting While Driving?
Also Kailia Colbin: Think Gesture Control Is Cool? Try Thought Control
What do you think?
mac's detroit dispatch
"Mac" Gordon is Detroit
Correspondent and Marketing Representative for Autowriters.com.
If every senior Big 3 exec who blurted out 'F words' was
axed, there would be chaos on executive rows and mandatory
clean-mouth classes, taught after top-management. And the GM
board never could have ganged up on Joel Ewanick or
considered getting into bed with a UK soccer team!
Hyundai/Kia Seeks More Tech Types in Michigan
Seeking to become both an econocar leader plus a
trend-setter, Hyundai Motor America is planning to step up
growth of its state-of-the-art tech center at Ypsilanti, MI,
near Ann Arbor and Detroit.
The Hyundai/Kia Michigan Center already is sending shock
waves through the Midwest technical centers of its
competitors-Toyota in Ann Arbor, Nissan in Farmington Hills,
MI, and Honda in Marysville, OH.
Click here to continue reading
GM 4-Banger Boosts Malibu, ATS
Chevrolet has taken a giant leap forward with refreshings of
three body styles-2013 Cruze, Camaro and Malibu.
The Cruze has been recast in the subcompact segment in
interior trim, but still trails the global Honda Fit and
Jazz in performance.
The Fit has benefited from GM's belated decision to replace
GM's venerable Malibu four-cylinder engine with its 'Eco e
Assist' 4-banger, which boasts direct fuel injection and was
directly ordered to be the base engine on the high-profile
Cadillac ATS base model by none other than GM CEO Dan
Akerson, who also mandated a No. 1 segment target for the
Click here to
continue reading online.
Ford First Among Collectors
There's no mystery as to the largest source of collector
brands among consumers, especially where auto shows or
drive-a-thons are concerned.
The 2012 Detroit 'Dream Cruise' down Woodward Avenue, the
Motor City's main street, was dominated as usual by Ford and
was informally dedicated to the late Ford performance guru,
Click here to continue reading online.
Asbury's Dealers Draw High Marks
Dealerships and dealers have been at loggerheads since the
2008 GM and Chrysler bankruptcies up-ended thousands of
dealers, mostly GM and Chrysler.
The well-run Asbury Automotive Group, based in the Atlanta
suburb of Duluth, GA, enjoys superior dealer relations in 18
Each market group has expanded with purchase of numerous
single-point franchises, and the group's employee retention
rate is one of the largest of any publicly owned group.
Click here to continue reading online.
Three proposals tightening laws on
buy-here/pay-here transactions have advanced in the
Two of the bills would ban in-store payment and the third
would cap the Federal funds rate at 17.25 percent.
Arkansas's rate is second highest in the U.S.-17 percent.
Dealers in publicly-owned groups are relatively a satisfied
bunch, but those in privately-owned stores are less so.
Click here to continue reading online.
GM, Ford Struck by Europe Setbacks
Although Ford lost $404 million in the 2nd quarter in
Europe, it managed to earn $1 billion overall as profit fell
to $2.4 billion from the same period a year ago.
The European auto market has fallen dramatically for both
domestic and import players, affecting GM's European unit
and French producer PSA Peugeot/Citroen (GM's new partner).
Click here to continue reading online.
No-Driver Cars Near Midsize Market
Driverless cars are gradually joining the ranks of
electronic motoring aids, but users are not as pleased with
the fallout as the industry first expected.
Studies commissioned by Ford Motor Company and market
researchers Penn Schoen Berlind raise continuing doubts
about self-driving as assisted driving benefits, although
the same surveys show that drivers still long for assistance
technologies by up to 90 percent of those tested.
Click here to continue reading online.
Rupert Murdoch's tablet newspaper, The Daily, laid-off
nearly a third of its staff in August. According to Erik
Sass in Online Media Daily, the cuts fell heavily on
editorial staffers – another case of trying to make money by
offering an inferior product, a strategy decried by Sharon Silke Carty during a recent appearance on a panel before
journalism students. Ironically, as noted in Lane Changes,
Carty departed The Huffington Post when it dropped its
in-house auto coverage.
The self-immolating phenomenon
of declining circulation followed by a lesser product is not
confined to newspapers.
David Carr reports in the New York
Times that magazine newsstand circulation was down 10 per
cent for the first half of the year and advertising almost
as much. . . Immediate Digest quotes documentary maker
Curtis, "[HBO series] Game of Thrones takes a fantasy
world, makes it real and turns it into a struggle for power.
The journalism of the future is going to have to be
incredibly high blown, almost romantic and it will need to
turn what looks dull and impenetrable and turn it into Game
of Thrones." For example . . . Joel Ewanick's departure from
General Motors was the stuff of high drama caught by the
columns of Marketing Daily's Karl Greenberg and
Extremist Peter De Lorenzo. Both recognized it was not a
conflict of ideas or misdeeds, nor "a ghost in the machine"
but the "ego in the drive train" insisting on a total
preeminence never earned and, perhaps, therefore more
What do you think?
Brett Berk's weekly Stick Shift auto column in Online Vanity Fair
often like reading a sportswriter covering the crowd or visiting a
doctor who tells you how he's feeling. Yet it works. When you come
to the single car in his recent 10-slide report on the world's most
famous Concours d' Elegance, his idiosyncratic tour and description
of Monterey Car Week makes you want to forsake your reality for a
moment, join the 1%ers and drive off in the lush 1935 Dusenberg J
Gurney Nutting Speedster shown on a Pebble Beach green. Exactly the
material lust Vanity Fair hopes to inspire in its readers.
Berk is proud that all the photos in Stick Shift since he began it
four years ago were shot with his Iphone without training or
patience but in quantity until he gets one that works. Not all are
catalog quality but he makes up for it with the words. That, after
all, is his training and love. In a piece on the six generations of
the Mercedes SL, he used seven modifiers to laud his favorite –the
third generation, 1972 –1989 SL. He confesses to being excursive,
(e.g." a Bentley Mulsanne "long and luxurious as summer in the Cote
d'Azur) and caught up in the fun of writing on a topic he's loved
since growing up in Detroit and environs. He had a Dusenberg-shaped
cake as his bar mitzvah cake and he admits to a lifetime of pursuing
luxury – perfect conditioning for a Vanity Fair writer.
He says, "I love being associated with Vanity Fair, as it gives me
an excuse to focus in on the cars I love
most--those that are
luxurious, sporty, unique, or absurd--in a sharp, immersive, and
intelligent fashion, blending "high" and "low" cultural references
with connections to the arts, politics, fashion, Hollywood, and the
auto industry. And I relish the way that being a part of that brand
offers me entrée into the world and lifestyle these cars aim to
capture, and the freedom to engage with and describe it in a playful
and offhandedly critical fashion. I think Vanity Fair is at once
inside and outside of this culture of opulence, and I delight in
that paradox and oppositionality."
More than a mouthful, that's a menu full, but easily uttered after
earning an undergraduate degree in creative writing from Oberlin
College and a graduate degree in early childhood education from New
York City's Hunter College. He has been published in both fields and
spent 11 years as a classroom teacher and preschool director.
He got into auto writing through a contact who had a contact that
needed help in producing an American version of Richard Porter's
funny Crap Cars published in England in 2005 but with a third of the
vehicles in it not available in the U.S., Berk
researched and came up with details and
as it turned out, humorous "talking points"
for domestically available replacements for the American version of
He's provided automotive content for Bloomberg Businesweek,
Driver, CNN.Com, Esquire, Jalopnik, The L A. Times and
Yahoo! Autos. His
essay for the latter notes the color brown is no longer down and
travels the lexicon of the hue in verbal excursions from upscale
umbric goods to Sumatra's jungles and back.
Recently, he authored a car page for GQ.
It, too, appeals to readers' higher aspirations and reflects his own
– if not behind the wheel for sure when employing his talents.
What do you think?
NEMPA's 15th Ragtop Ramble & Crustacean Crawl set all-time
records for participation, with 44 cars divided among 70 people
for the drive from Brookline, Mass. to Kennebunkport, Maine on
Friday, July 20. That followed a Thursday open house lunch and
dinner cruise of Boston Harbor that was the New England Motor
Press Association's annual thank-you to automakers and their PR
people for what they do on NEMPA's behalf all year long.
An informal dinner August 16 with Ford staffers,
including Eric Kuehn, chief engineer for the company's Global
Electrified Program, provided NEMPA members able to attend a
chance to get answers to questions ranging from Euro-style
three cylinder diesels versus gas-electric hybrids to the
proliferation of EV charging stations.
IMPA member journalists will have three chances to win a set of
Goodyear tires when they attend this year's annual IMPA Test
Days September 19-20 at Monticello Motor Club, Monticello. NY.
While there, any IMPA member who owns a vintage, modified or
special-interest vehicle is invited to bring their pride-and-joy
to the Monticello Motor Club Thursday, September 20th and
exhibit it in the open paved area between the club house and the
track's front straight.
A parade of classics, awards and a trophy-winner are part of the
show . . . Barnes & Noble put the spotlight on Loren Fix, aka
"The Car Coach" when they featured her and her new book
Fix's Guide To Loving Your Car" in a book signing at the
Clarence Mall in Buffalo.
The Southern International Auto Show is now the
Miami International Auto Show and its promoters have enlisted
the Southern Auto Media Association's help in promoting the
change. An appealing video announcing the change praises the
area's auto media and provides SAMA President Jaimie Flores an
on-camera speaking role.
Nominations are now open for MPG's Dean
Batchelor Awards. Any journalistic work in the automotive genre
may be nominated, but nominations must be made by a current
Motor Press Guild member.
This year, electronic as well as generic versions are acceptable
in these categories: Articles, Books and Photography.
The deadline for entries is September 28th.
Forms and more information available at:
If Denise McCluggage were not in love with cars she could woo
the nation to New Mexico – something she would not want to do
except for the 2012 Santa Fe Concorso she extols. This year's
event will be held at the more spacious Club at Las Campanas
Sept. 28-30. . .
From deep in the heart of the Lone Star State word has finally
reached AWCom that sometime back Alan Gell was given a lifetime
achievement award by his fellow members of the Texas Auto
Writers Association. Not an annual thing, it was prompted by Gell's long and continuing service to TAWA. Presented by TAWA
President Mike Herzing (right), the award is a custom-designed
Texas rodeo belt buckle.
It's only one brand but promoters claim it is the largest
Corvette party in the world. Why not? That still leaves
roundups, homecomings and reunions.
And considering that over the past 18 years the MidAmerica
Motorworks Funfest has hosted The Beach Boys, Eagles,
Who and Reo Speedwagon in the scenic cornfields of Effingham,
Ill., the event deserves the considerable following it has
built. The 19th party Sept.13-16 headlines the World Classic
What do you think?
Thanks to the boundless enthusiasm of "Landspeed Louise" Noeth,
Force Academy engineering students and their faculty have agreed to work
with amateur racers on land speed related projects. Up to 20 cadets
enrolled in Automotive Systems Analysis as part of the Academy's
Mechanical Engineering degree program will work individually or in teams
to solve a racing-related problem, develop or improve a vehicle
sub-system or perform racing related analysis.
Their involvement in challenging real-world problems is expected to
enhance their learning.
For participating land speed racers - who will provide the labor and
parts - the program means their vehicles will benefit from the Academy's
know-how and research and development facilities. The school has two
wind tunnels, machine shops, engine and chassis dynamometers, solid
modeling, modeling software and Computational Fluid Dynamics among its
As for "Landspeed Louise," she says the collaboration will bring her "not one thin dime."
But the author of "Bonneville Salt Flats, The
Fastest Place on Earth" hopes it will bring the world's land speed record
to the U.S. ("Where it belongs," she opines.) British race teams, she
notes, are assisted by their nation's military in preparing for assaults
on the salt and they have repeatedly set top marks.
In the process of updating her definitive book about Bonneville for the
University of Utah's 2014 celebration of 100 years of racing on the
unique site, she became acquainted with Lt. Colonel Richard Buckley of
the Air Force Academy's Department of Engineering Mechanics and his
desire to provide exciting practical problems to intensify cadets'
The two of them devised the program and another advanced program
starting in August 2013. For more information on either program, contact
Louise Ann Noeth,
LandSpeed Productions; 805- 445-8414 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or Lt. Col
Richard Buckley , U.S. Air Force Academy, 719-333-0633 or
What do you think?
awards and events
The Latino Auto Club will launch the first annual Hispanic Automobile
Summit Saturday, January 12, 2013 in Detroit, Mich.
It will bring together Hispanic Auto Dealers, Suppliers. Media and
Community Organizations to focus on:
Latino access to dealerships
Latino access to supplier contacts
Community service and Latino non-profits
Latino media access to advertising and marketing contracts.
For more information contact: the non-profit Millennium Community
Builders at 813-599-6361.
The Automotive Heritage & Preservation Foundation (AHPF)will honor the racing and Concours history of Monterey Point by funding
through Private/Public Partnerships a world-renowned Museum of
Automotive Arts, a Technical School of Automotive Restoration in collaboration with the Museum and the school. For
information contact: Hollie Webster email@example.com
The AutoWeek America Adventure for 2013 will begin in Colorado Springs
Oct. 12 and end in Las Vegas Oct. 19. Teams will have to "get a clue"
to determine each day's destination. Once in Sin City, a few teams will
have the chance to gamble for a 2012 300 SR. The
$5,000.00 entry fee per
two-person team covers "all hotels, food and beverage, all track fees,
all event logistics and the ultimate player pack with sponsor gifts." Contact
Natalie Furmise at 407-494-4481 or
Pete Szilagyi has "escaped" the grind and now does occasional
auto-related features and a single monthly review column in the Austin
American-Statesman with "he-said, she-said" sidekick Pam LeBlanc (with
gun in photo along with Pete). He's been weekly auto columnist for the
Statesman since 1981. His review columns have been widely distributed by
the New York Times News Service and Cox News Service. He was co-founder
of the Texas Auto Writers Association and Rocky Mountain Automotive
Press. Pete is a former motocross and desert racer who was founding
editor of Motocross Action magazine and associate editor of Dirt Bike
magazine. He splits his time between Austin and the Davis Mountains of
far West Texas, where he is a music, news and talk host at KRTS 93.5,
Marfa Public Radio. Email to
Karl Henkel has supplanted Jaclyn Trop as an auto reporter for the
Detroit News. Reach him at Khenkel@detnews.com.
. . . Terry Karges took over as executive director of The Petersen Automotive
Museum in Los Angeles on Aug. 15, replacing Buddy Pepp who retired after
more than two years on the job. Previously, Karges helped grow Rousch
Performance into the largest specialty high performance car brand in the
world. He can be reached at:
Former USA Today and Associated Press auto writer Sharon Silke Carty has
departed The Huffington Post following its decision to eliminate
in-house auto-coverage. No word here as yet, on her next post. . . .
David Speranza has been named Road & Track's new design director,
replacing Richard Barton who is leaving the magazine. Speranza has been
a magazine art director since 1987 and has worked on many different
titles, most recently Rodales's Bicycling. Hearst's email protocol is:
While the outgoing Cindy Kurman is
not likely to stay out of touch long, AWCOM has been advised
is the best way to reach her. . . . Bill Zervakos says the best way to
reach him is: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not get this Newsletter
regularly and you want to, check and be sure it is on your email app's
What do you think?
Glenn F. Campbell
WAPA: Luncheon: National Press
MAMA: Luncheon: Universal
Technical Institute, Glendal Heights, IL
Concours d'Elegance: Road Rallye,Palos Verdes, CA
Concours d'Elegance: Palos Verdes, CA
Automotive News Marketing Seminar,
IMPA:Test Days, Monticello Motor
Paris Motor Show Press Days, Paris,
Moscow Int'l Auto Show, Moscow,
29 - Oct. 14
Paris Motor Show Public Days, Paris,
MAMA: Fall Rally Manufacturers
Dinner, Hoffman Estates, IL
MAMA: Fall Rally Driving Event,
Hoffman Estates, IL
MPG: Track Day, Fontana, CA
TAWA: Truck Rodeo, San Antonio, TX
APA/NADA: Luncheon, MGM Grand,
APA/Consumer Reports: Luncheon,
motoring press organizations
The 17 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.
Norma "Dusty" Brandel
President, Exec. Director
Automotive Press Association
Joann Muller, President
American Racing Press Association
Stan Clinton, President
Mike Spinelli, President
Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association
Davis Adams, President
Tom Appel, President
Motor Press Guild
Los Angeles, CA
Laura Burstein, President
New England Motor
Keith Griffin, President
Nik Miles, President
Phoenix Automotive Press
Cathy Droz, President
Rocky Mountain Automotive Press
Nathan Adlen, President
Southern Automotive Media
Jaimie Flores, President
Southeast Automotive Media Organization
Texas Auto Writers Association
Truck Writers of
Tom Kelley, Executive Director
Western Automotive Journalists
San Francisco, CA
Washington Automotive Press Association
Jessica Anderson, President www.washautopress.org
Help us make sure you continue to get the information you
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across the finish line
William F. Milliken, Jr. – Renowned aeronautical engineer who also wrote
a book on vehicle dynamics that is considered the "bible" of Formula 1
race car design.
Re: Regional News-TAWA
Thanks (I think) for your mention of our summer 'thunderstorm'
last month in Texas. And with that I want to add a bit of
context regarding the outreach by Timepiece PR on behalf of
Lotus' Austin dealership.
As the first to hit 'reply all' after receiving the invitation,
I can assure you I didn't take offense at the reference to
automatic transmissions. I found the set-up more than a little
inane, as it read as something more appropriate to consumer
outreach than an invitation to automotive media. My concern,
though, was the implication that we - as Texas-based autowriters
- weren't paying attention to Lotus because we couldn't drive
their manual-only models.
As noted in my response, we - collectively - haven't paid
attention to Lotus because Lotus hasn't been paying attention to
us. For most of the last decade we've hosted a spring event
specifically so that low volume (or, in Lotus' example, no
volume) manufacturers could showcase their product to our
regional media. Lotus has historically found the money to
showcase that product in front of any number of other regional
organizations, but can't seem to find the financial budget - or
managerial wherewithal - to bring a Lotus to Texas.
Of course, we'd readily admit that the Texas Auto Writers' media
guide doesn't enjoy the number of 'A-List' journalists
populating MPG, MAMA or IMPA. In TAWA's defense I'd note our
multi-ethnic membership, (relative) gender balance and
historical commitment to organizing credible regional programs.
And beyond the media membership is the market itself; you can
compare Texas' consumer capability favorably against any region
in the country.
We welcome any and all manufacturers to both our press fleets
and regional events. To date Lotus has taken a pass. With the
Timepiece e-mail Lotus' dealer rep in Austin, however, couldn't
All the best, DB
It's official... new address and phone as follows...
Road & Travel Magazine
1304 Park View Avenue, Suite 321
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Also, RTM just launched its 16th Annual Sexy Car Buyer's Guide.
Thanks Glenn, it's been a bumpy journey but at least this time
the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train! Courtney
# # #
To all my friends, my first self-published book, The Jaguar
Bertone Pirana Coupe, was just published on the CreateSpace
platform and is now available for sale, worldwide, on all the
Here are links to the book, at
CreateSpace and amazon.com. It
can be purchased from either location (CreateSpace is Amazon's
platform for self-publishing).
CreateSpace enables writers and photographers to produce their
own books and sell them direct to readers via our own websites
or to a worldwide audience on amazon.com.
Since this E-mail is going out to many of my friends in auto
hobby and press communities, if any of you have a blog and would
like to review The Jaguar Bertone Coupe, please let me know and
I will send you a link to a PDF copy of the book so you won't
need to purchase a copy.
Co-Founder & Editorial Director
# # #
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