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Lets talk media

scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
edited March 8 in Honda
Do you think the media plays a role on how a car manufacturer is perceived? Do you see bias in reports/reviews? If so please post them here and tell us your story..
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Comments

  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    I read about all kinds of problems with the Honda Ody transmission... recalls and extended warranty offered. Yet Consumer Reports still recommends it. I've read very little in the media about the transmission woes... so there does seem to be bias in that respect.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    The near worship of Toyota & Honda by the editors of CR is cult like. They have been an enemy of GM since Ralph Nader worked there. CR should not be allowed non profit status.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,451
    This 1999 article, A Sell-Out's Tale, by Bryant Urstadt has some juicy tidbits.

    "One day in February I got a message from a woman named Jennifer. As messages go, it was a good one. She worked for Volvo of North America, and she wanted to fly me to Phoenix for a three-day stay in a first-class hotel, all expenses paid... It would have been a cryptic message, but I had already been on one Volvo press trip, and I knew immediately that I had just been offered a cushy free vacation. All Volvo wanted, in return, was for me to mention their car in a national publication. Or, to put it bluntly, all they wanted was my journalistic integrity"

    zpedia.org via the web archive

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  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Why is it the Camry was voted car of the year when it is known Toyota released the car knowing it had a transmission issue? But its ok because its a Toyota? I think the media didn't want to tick off the 800lb Gorilla.. :shades:

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/10/toyota_accelerate.html
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    Kudos, scape. This will be a good way to be a watchdog when things get fishy, and voice differing opinions about the media's portrayal of things.
  • lamboloverlambolover Posts: 4
    If it weren't for the media, a lot of issues we would never even learn about.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Welcome to the Forum!

    You are absolutely right. It is just sorting out the truth from the paid commercials. You should read the article Steve posted on trips the automakers provide for writers. If I was treated to an all expense paid trip and given a new car to check out, I would have a hard time giving the car a bad report.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,695
    impress me about Consumer Reports was when reviewing a 2002 Kia Spectra they inserted a picture of a 1998-2001 era Sephia and inserted the same old jargon that I had read for many years for their "review".

    Dudes, last time I checked some of us had some gray matter still operating up there. Let's put some work in to these articles and see if someone else in America might be able to work through their own manufacturer bias.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    If I was treated to an all expense paid trip and given a new car to check out, I'd go out of my way to write a bad review of it. They need to learn their lesson the hard way. :D
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Would you write a bad review even if the car was great? It would be hard to maintain credibility if you accept these gifts. I feel the same way about CR. They accept gifts, donations etc from automakers. I find it difficult to bite the hand that feeds me.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    media can be biased but I don't think the media has the power to make a really bad car GOOD or make a really good car BAD.

    So ultimately, once a car hits the road and is in service for a while, the truth comes out regardless of what the media says about it.

    The media cannot destroy or make a car's reputation, but it can give it a good push or trip it up in the beginning.

    Blaming the media for a car's poor performance or its exceptionally good performance is just grasping at straws IMO.

    MrShiftright
    Visiting Host

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  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I think a large part of sales is repeat buyers. If your car is everything you expect it to be, the media is not going to convince you it's junk, and keep you from buying another one. If you consider your car a piece of junk, the media isn't going to convince you it's great, and get you to buy another one. The media can't erase your memory. :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Bingo elroy! Good point. "Brand equity" is the engine here, not anyone's alleged "bias". A brand that is "all tout and no clout" won't fool the American consumer for very long. Think Saturn.

    We can also think of any number of American cars that the media loved but that failed anyway (Dodge Neon comes to mind, right?). As well as cars they loved that DID succeed (PT Cruiser) as well as cars the hated and that failed (SSR?).

    I can't think of one they hated and that DID succeed in spite of very bad press, however....anyone?

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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Yep. No car is perfect, so I could easily fill up a review talking about things I didn't like then throw in a little three-liner about what I did like for balance. I have no problem with biting a hand that shoudn't be feeding me.
  • smittynycsmittynyc Posts: 291
    "I feel the same way about CR. They accept gifts, donations etc from automakers."

    You could not be more wrong about this.

    Our National Testing and Research Center, in Yonkers, N.Y., is the largest nonprofit educational and consumer product testing center in the world. We buy all the products we use as test samples. We receive no special treatment. We accept no free samples. If a manufacturer sends us a free product, we return it.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/aboutus/mission/overview/index.htm

    If you have credible evidence that suggests CR doesn't adhere to this policy, by all means, let's see it.

    I like this thread in theory, as long as all the conspiracy buffs back up their accusations with something substantial.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    They are supported by gifts and grants. From whom do they get these gifts and grants? If you have that information feel free to post it. I cannot find it in their annual reports.

    CU supports itself through the sale of our information products and services, individual contributions, and a few noncommercial grants.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,451
    CR got a grant (actually their parent, Consumers Union) from the Ford Foundation to write a guide to environmental labels. (link)

    That's Ford as in Henry, Edsel, Bill, et.al. Guess CR loves Ford cars eh?

    You can glean some other info from a non-profit's IRS Form 990 (pdf link and it may not resolve). For example, Consumers Union paid ~3 million last year for search engine optimization services. :shades:

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  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    I disagree. If you are told over and over by the media car A is the winner year after year. There are those Consumers that are going to tend to believe this and not even shop other brands to even compare. Media plays a huge role in how a manufacturer is perceived. If you are told over and over the world is flat by the media for years on end.. some are going to believe it... ;)
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,695
    I agree with your above statement. Thing is not all readers can perceive fluff from wheat so they do take information as verbatim and it can hurt some automakers attain some sales. Totally agree wid-at, man.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Journalists report the news...they can't make a bad car good I don't believe....but they can "tout" one car that is no better or worse than the others, that's true. If the Accord and the Camry are about the same quality and the press chants Accord Accord Accord and doesn't mention Camry, then yes, this will affect sales.

    But if the Accord is a stinker and the Camry is good, the "word" is soon out on the street.....

    And besides, the media loves to bad-rap a car. If the Accord were a bad car, the press would like to tear it apart. Dog bites man isn't a story, (far too common) but man bites dog is a story.

    Yes there is hype...but the media can't make something out of nothing...even Paris Hilton goes to jail eventually.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Journalists report the news

    I would say at one time in America this was true. Tune into CNN, Fox, MSN, CBS etc and you will get a different bias from each journalist. It would be good if we got the news without bias. That does not seem to be what people want these days. Same goes for cars. Even though the difference in reliability may be very slight between two cars, by the time the writer gets done you think one car is worthless and the other should sell for twice the price. Very little truth and a lot of spin.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,695
    this bias started when we were 16 or 17 and a classmate would get a new used rig. He or she would either say the rig was "great" or whatever, or they would say it was nothing but a POS.

    So there ya go, some may even remember this going back to your 9 or 10 year old ages during elementary school, but not for me quite yet. These interchanges of opinions really amped up when I got in junior high and high school. Then it became hog-wild, and of course one will notice it more if you truly like cars more than...ummm...sports or music, for instance. Or like cars just as much. Then you'll listen more to people's opinions on rigs.

    But for me things change when I am really interested in a product. Then I want all the reading material I can find and no, I don't think it's smart to just read one favorite source. Look at many, many sources and be prepared to be able to cut through unbridled automotive bias in order to find more of the truth you can really put to use.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    If anyone has a theory about a really great car that was destroyed by media bias, I'd like to hear about it.

    Me personally?...I think 99% of all cars get what they deserve, good and bad, without any help from the media one way or the other. It just takes time for all that to spin itself out. The mags see a new model, praise it, only to find out 6 months later it has defects; or they pan a car, only to find out people love it.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    I can think of more that were touted as great and turned out otherwise. How many MT car of the year models were absolute flops. The first Cougar for one. Many people bought into the MT hype and found out the truth after they bought.

    Then I still hold a grudge against Nader for his ignorance concerning the Corvair. I would bet there are more well kept Corvairs still running great than any Japanese cars from that era. I doubt that a 1964 Corvair would have left me stranded as many times as my 1964 Toyota Land Cruiser.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    Well there you go...kinda "proves" the point doesn't it...despite MT hype, the public found out otherwise. MT couldn't make a bad car good.

    As for the Corvair, typical GM story---potentially great car that was underdeveloped, then abandoned. Nader just picked the biggest target, but he could have chosen any number of defective cars from any number of manufacturers, domestic and foreign. GM played that whole thing so badly, it's incredible. They gave Nader the power he needed on a silver platter by putting private detectives on his tail.

    The media grabbed THAT one, you can be sure!

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  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,119
    Ok, lets say the media can't make a a bad car good.. How about the media making a good car seem better than it really is? or making a car sound so much better than its competitors when in truth its not? Or, better yet. What about the media taking the easy road to reporting? Just satisfy the masses and report only good stuff about the car that sells the most? The media plays a huge role in what consumers will even take a look at during the buying process.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,695
    and it is a fact that the media plays a role in shaping car sales.

    Case in point, Toyota's stock value of around $120.00/share right now. Yikes. When GM's is moving about around $32.00/share or thereabouts. Sales hype or real sales? Both.

    Toyota is the media's automotive darling, but is it kind of over-rated? About 400% over-rated, even?

    I mean, how often have you heard the press praise Toyota automotive products? And yet not talk about engine sludge issues or other blunders? How many times have you read comments like the one I'm making right now?

    I agree, it's a broken record...but it wouldn't need to be made if the media scanned and researched and recast their fishing poles for better information. Truer information.

    Less bias, more substance.These next few years are gonna be fun to follow in the automotive industry. More substance at all times, media types. Let's cut way down on the Toyota fluff and let's get down to brass tacks. There's a lot at stake...a lot of jobs... and a lot of history hanging on what eventually happens.

    It's about time to get real, isn't it?

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    What was wrong with the first Cougar? Wasn't it essentially just a Mustang with different sheet metal?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    From what I remember they had horrible resale value. I do not know the particulars. I thought they looked good. Never rode in one. Just remember a big hullabaloo over the resale.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,806
    The problem is that for every Toyota blunder, GM had five....so the negative "noise" is proportionally greater---maybe that's all you're seeing?

    Besides all that, the American consumer is not stupid....he/she knows the buy the best car for the money...that was not the Renault LeCar, it was not the Dodge Neon, it was the Honda Accord.

    But let's say you're RIGHT....that the media favors Toyota.

    The reason for that might also have nothing to do with conspiracy. The reason might be:

    Everybody loves a winner....

    it's a form of celebrity in other words....

    MrShiftright
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