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Old 10th August 2010, 19:08   #61
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What you all are saying may be right, but one thing I want to tell from my own personal experience is ACI is also a unbiased publication -
Some 3 yrs back, I was getting a car as a gift. I liked ford fusion a lot and its diesel variant was launched just at that time. I was busy in my post graduation then and had no time to take a test drive of the car. But just after reading its review in ACI(eventhough they have given only 7 stars out of ten), I told my father that I like fusion diesel. And after owning it for 3 yrs and 50k kms, I still feel that each and every word written in that review, was correct(whether it was good or bad) n thats why I like reading ACI.
But one thing I must add is that the reviews posted on Team BHP especially by GTO are also very high quality, genuine and unbiased,
But as you know for a auto enthusiast, Its like a daily fix on Team BHP, and monthly fix on ACI.
Automotive is my religion, my Car, Team BHP and ACI are my Gods.
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Old 14th August 2010, 23:33   #62
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Commercially biased journalism or not, I still see BS Motoring as the most passionate Indian automobile magazine with some of the best auto hacks. Them and Top Gear India are worth waiting for month after month after month. Internationally, it's gotta be Topgear! What with blokes like Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May and THE STIG! I gotta admit that they are a tad biased towards JLR though.
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Old 11th June 2012, 06:56   #63
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Default Re: Auto Magazines - Commercially biased Journalism

Im just reviving this thread for a bit because I feel like a bit of a Monday Morning RANT!!!

I am getting a number of email based automobile journals like Cartrade india and ZigWheels and so on. Apart from this I religiously buy all the myriad car mags from the news stands each month. I dont subscribe though I know it is cheaper, because I like the ritual of waiting for the mag to hit the shelves and buying it from the market.

All of these e-mags and regular mags seem to have a brand of journalism which smacks a bit of "re-hashed" stuff from each other and indeed, the mainline auto mags.

Also, all these mags seem to somehow tout the extremely "reasonable" prices being charged for cars and such, by International Auto majors. For example, they say the Q3 is at a shockingly good price OR the Volvo is with its D3 engine, suddenly very affordable and that the Toyota Altis is very good value etc etc etc! Now, given that many of us travel and have access to great information on the net etc, just who are they trying to fool, with these statements?

Then they speak about how some particular vehicle is tops and so on - examples are the Aria and the XUV in particular and others like the Koleos and Santa Fe etc. What are they actually benchmarking against? Read reviews of these same vehicles in the international editions of the same car mags and one can see some rather interesting diversities in opinions!

It makes me wonder - do they genuinely feel that these prices are reasonable, given our peculiar circumstances of high duties and taxes OR are they just making empty statements so as to remain in the "good books" of the said Auto majors and perhaps cadge the regular invites to the various first drives, international trips and such as a reward for being good "PR" partners to the auto mags? Is there a sanctity left in Automobile Journalism or has it, like everything else, succumbed to the lure of wealth and greed for commercial success?

Any opinions?

I feel somewhere deep inside that there is a bit of bias happening.

Another criticism - I find even first class mags such as Top Gear and Auto Car India just blindly substitute the Rs. sign in all the articles, instead of the Pound or other currency - regardless of the context.

While this is useful and helps as a benchmark etc, there are times when the substitution is out of context completely! My point is that a little more rigour in the editorial process needs to come out strongly!

I am extremely unhappy without exception - with the New vehicle buyers guide section across every single one of the car magazines. Not only is their list of newly available cars not updated properly, there are several instances of glaring and un-corrected errors in pricing, available features, specifications and so on. These are no longer reliable guides and this takes away to an extent from the sanctity of a proper auto magazine! It is almost as if the same excel sheet template is being used, month after month after month, with minor tweaks being made occasionally, but with no proper rigour and diligence being placed on this activity. The same goes for the visuals alongside the car descriptions and indeed, the descriptive notes as well!

Indeed, one can do far better research on prospective purchases on the web - on TBHP and many other different info sites!

What particularly irks me is the extremely contrived and feeble attempts at blatantly plagiarized humour - I greatly appreciate that they are trying damned hard to make the reader enjoy the magazines, but I dont appreciate every single auto journalist trying his damnedest to be a Clarkson, May or Hammond or anyone else from the International fraternity.

They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but for me, these contrived attempts at humour fall flat most of the time. Having said this, some of the few original writing styles Ive seen and enjoyed are those of Bertrand D Souza, Bijoy, Girish, Subhabrata and Abhishek Mishra of Top Gear India.

Last edited by shankar.balan : 11th June 2012 at 07:03.
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Old 11th June 2012, 07:30   #64
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Default Re: Auto Magazines - Commercially biased Journalism

I'd agree with most of the comments here. I kind of hate the obvious way in which ACI adores Honda. Same goes with OD who loves VW.

When I was making a purchase decision on my t-jet last year, I saw this video on youtube and found the Honda-fanboy stance of ACI quite obvious



All through the review, there is no major flaw of the t-jet that she can find, but suddenly in the end the winner is the City, because its a honda! Her statements at the end of the review during the verdict are hilarious.
The video at that time received so much flak for this decision (comments on the youtube page), that the uploaders finally disabled comments for the video.

No offense meant to city/vento/linea owners by posting this. I just wanted to highlight the glaring bias that auto mags have nowadays towards certain brands.

P.S - they are comparing a City 1.5V with a Linea T-Jet and a VW Vento Trendline. How fair is that for VW? At least they should use the Highline variant on the Vento.

Last edited by KarthikK : 11th June 2012 at 07:37.
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Old 11th June 2012, 07:33   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan
Apart from this I religiously buy all the myriad car mags from the news stands each month
I must admit that I am tempted each time I go to the shops, but when I know an unbiased and comprehensive review is available here, I drop the plan. Also, if I do want to cross check opinions expressed on TBHP, I use google or check out the car myself (if launched). For example, there is a very nice review of the new pulsar on xbhp.

Honestly most Indian auto mags are quite unreliable. They generally parrot the same theme, which is that every new launch from an international major is gold, regardless the price.

The only reason I can think of is that they are too heavily dependent on advertising from these very companies to dare cross any of them.
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Old 11th June 2012, 10:06   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarthikK View Post
All through the review, there is no major flaw of the t-jet that she can find, but suddenly in the end the winner is the City, because its a honda! Her statements at the end of the review during the verdict are hilarious.
The video at that time received so much flak for this decision (comments on the youtube page), that the uploaders finally disabled comments for the video.

No offense meant to city/vento/linea owners by posting this. I just wanted to highlight the glaring bias that auto mags have nowadays towards certain brands.

P.S - they are comparing a City 1.5V with a Linea T-Jet and a VW Vento Trendline. How fair is that for VW? At least they should use the Highline variant on the Vento.
As far as I remember Tjet won a shootout between Tjet,fiesta S,City and SX4 as published in the ACI magazine. The shootout was based on the best driver's car available. Tjet was very closely followed by Fiesta and City was a distant third as per the review. I think ACI was spot on here.

But when it comes to a pure all rounder and keeping all factors including service, brand, back up in mind, City is a safer car to choose as the winner IMO.
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Old 11th June 2012, 10:35   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbokick View Post
As far as I remember Tjet won a shootout between Tjet,fiesta S,City and SX4 as published in the ACI magazine. The shootout was based on the best driver's car available. Tjet was very closely followed by Fiesta and City was a distant third as per the review. I think ACI was spot on here.

But when it comes to a pure all rounder and keeping all factors including service, brand, back up in mind, City is a safer car to choose as the winner IMO.
I don't want to get into a City v/s Linea v/s Vento debate here since it will be going OT from the thread's intention.

I'd like to confirm I have driven the city (ANHC) quite a lot, since a friend of mine and my cousin both have this and I love the Honda city too. I'd no doubt agree with you that considering the overall brand image, etc Honda might win in this case. However, she does the comparo for driving comfort, driving pleasure, ease of driving in the city, power, handling, tyre grip, back seat comfort and cockpit gizmos - in almost all of which the linea trumps the city according to her own words. In the end she says "linea is good, handles well, is loaded with features, now with a new powerful engine... blah blah... but the city tugs at our heart strings more, and looks sleek and stylish, hence it is still the king of this segment". Don't tell me people cannot make out the glaringly obvious bias here.

If the honda city wins, well and good, at least she should mention what parameters it trumps the other 2 competitors on - brand image, service network, back seat comfort, etc. Tugging at heart strings because some car looks stylish (subjective choice) cannot be the yardstick to decide the winner of such a comparo. It is as if she was trying to arrive at a decision and suddenly the director gave her only 2 minutes to finish off the show, so she just chose something in a hurry.

Last edited by KarthikK : 11th June 2012 at 10:39.
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Old 11th June 2012, 10:48   #68
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Echoing a lot of the others on the topic - Became a member a few months ago and started saving a few hundred rupees per month since I really don't buy these mags anymore.

Am addicted to the forum!
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Old 11th June 2012, 10:55   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Since day one of inception, we had decided that Team-BHP will NEVER accept any advertisements / revenue from Indian car manufacturers. That stays as of date, 6 years down the line, and is NOT expected to change (like ever!).

Team-BHP remains the only mass available information resource on Indian cars that is independent of the auto industry's marketing $$$ .
That is precisely why this is the best Indian automobile resource on the web. The beauty is the unbiased attitude of the mods and the huge cross section of owners from whom we get spot on opinions.
I am yet to see (I may be wrong since I am a sporadic auto magazine reader) a car mag focusing on - for eg. the high failure rate of the DGS boxes on the Skoda Superb --- or the flip side of a Tata Aria.
I have for the past few years done all my research here, before buying a car.

Last edited by wilful : 11th June 2012 at 10:56.
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Old 11th June 2012, 13:06   #70
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This is the case with media in the country and most countries too. Ultimately apart from editorial; there is a business division and they call the shots. Its very rare to find editorially driven media, look at our 'leading papers', see the shenanigans with Rupert Murdoch's operations in and the UK and US.

I don't expect things to change but forums are much more credible for auto, and other areas too. Tehelka is decent, see the fantastic work done by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stones on the financial scam in the US. I think folks are increasingly depending on a mix of traditional media both online and offline, independent blogs, forums etc . The media have lost their power to define the agenda and that's a good thing.

I don't attach much credibility to most of the auto mags and TV shows. They have to earn the credibility and trust.
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Old 11th June 2012, 14:06   #71
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For me all my auto related queries, i just need to login to tbhp and post it. The day i had found tbhp almost 1.5 years back, it was bye bye to all auto magazines for me. I was literally hooked onto tbhp for hours and still am.

Auto magazines have lost their credibility long back. People mostly rely on a p2p interaction rather than some stylish automag. Tbhp gives us that. The sad thing about automags is even if one or two writers are good and unbiased, owing to pressure from the top they have to change their statements.
This is sad because now even after paying a 100bucks you dont receive an honest opinion. What then is the value or price of an honest opinion?

Neither car and bike show, nor overdrive, nor autocar show have complained about bad skoda service till date afaik. Nor have they spoken about the lust of german cars for flatbed trucks. They are supposed to be critics and not sycophants.

Has anyone seen powertotherider youtube channel? They have been bringing out quite awesome bike reviews.

My goto guys for anything with an engine is teambhp. And for entertainment it has to be Clarkson, Hammond, Captain Slow and the Stig.

Cheers!!
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Old 11th June 2012, 14:16   #72
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Many of you nailed it right! Auto mags in India seem to play the "neutral" tag most of the time. Most of these mags have access to long termers, but I dont re-collect anyone really pointing out the actual flaws, like the steering rattle issue in I20 etc or even the niggles with the XUV5OO.
I used to be a regular reader of Autocar 4 years ago, but while they seems good in dishing out specs, numbers etc, their international content lacked quite a bit. And they would always go ga-ga over hondas & Toyotas. So I switched to top gear and have been buying off the shelves for 3-4 years now and I'm starting to get feel that they are not evolving. Firstly, their road tests are not that elaborate, they seem to follow a certain pattern of writing, starting the article with some random sportsperson or an outside example and then linking the auto test drive in the end with that. and then writers try and imitate the TG trio of clarkson, may & Hammond. And the most irritating is their yearly awards. They would just give create awards for every imported car. Insignificant cars such as Audi RS4, masserati will take home car of the year awards! Yes, they are superb cars, but we have a long way to go until they gain relevance in India.
I rely too much on team-bhp now and hence dont get too anxious at the start of every month for these magazines.
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Old 11th June 2012, 16:40   #73
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Default Re: Auto Magazines - Commercially biased Journalism

My first auto magazine I believe was overdrive way back in '95-96 with a Rs.20 tag. I vividly remember the comparison between Ford Escort and Opel Astra with Ford scoring a little over the Opel car. Also, the centrefold was a cream colored Harley Davidson which I had it as a poster in my room for almost 5 yrs. Also, I used to look up at the price list mentioned in the last few pages and vowed to buy a BMW-F650 when I made 4,10,000. Alas,when the time came, the bike was not available. This post made me nostalgic.

Now a days, I hardly buy them, after joining team-bhp it has almost stopped.
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Old 11th June 2012, 17:38   #74
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There are two aspects on which I prefer reports from automags (namely ACI, which I follow)

1> Performance figures - they have equipment to measure (though subject to who is running the tests and how)

2> Handling - they have access, support, infrastructure to push a vehicle to its limits and then comment on how it handles and provides feedback at that.

Personally on forums, I have found multitude of posters with wrong interpretation of performance and handling. I have even found some reports where the poster was saying that a certain car has better handling as it is easier to park!
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Old 11th June 2012, 17:50   #75
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but I dont re-collect anyone really pointing out the actual flaws, like the steering rattle issue in I20
One mag did carry out the story about the i20 steering rattle(mine specifically) in one of their editions back in 2010.

A month later, I sent the mag a couple of mails asking them if they received any response from Hyundai about the issue. No answer from the mag. The keenness which the mag showed before publishing my story suddenly disappeared a month later.

The response the mag received from Hyundai was very obvious, as in the subsequent month's edition they carried out a booklet praising the i20, That was the end of me buying these "paid" magazines.
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