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Old 11th June 2012, 20:14   #76
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Default Re: Auto Magazines - Commercially biased Journalism

I had been a regular viewer of Overdrive and The Autocar Show but there were several such reviews when I dis-agreed with the statements made by the reviewer. We may have difference in opinions but I hate it when all the reviewers sing praises of most new cars and overlook its down sides. I would have loved if there was an Indian auto critic who can nit pick and find flaws in every car - some more and some less, and the one whose a little miser with praises, rather than the current lot who tend to go ga ga over new cars atleast initially. Oh and those guys who want to read the brochure out on their show regarding performance figures and all in an unenthusiastic tone, I just prefer staring at the walls instead.
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Old 21st October 2014, 14:08   #77
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Default Should we trust Auto Magazines?

I have been reading Indian and international car magazines for the past 15 years. Basis that, I have drawn some few conclusions:

1. In the preview of any car, the magazines tend to praise it to the skies, probably show photo-shopped images and talk about a feature list that is nothing short of a Rolls
2. Actual road tests rarely tell you the struggles that one could face in real life scenarios. For example, performance and fuel efficiency when driving with more than 1 passenger onbaord, actual FE in traffic conditions like those faced in Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore.
3. Cost of spares and periodic servicing
4. I wonder why they rarely include OTR cost for at least the 15 major cities of India?
5. Even during car comparos, they almost never give a direct answer with with prices playing a deciding role. If price is as important then it is wrong to compare the two cars. Most of the times, a driver oriented car (read BMW, Skoda, Honda) wins over likes of Mercedes, Toyota or Maruti.
6. Why would they praise a car that has absolutely no safety features - Airbags, ABS, thin tyres, wing mirrors.

It makes me wonder if most of these articles and reviews are sponsored or bought and we gullible customers keep buying them based on les that are peddled to us.
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Old 25th January 2016, 15:46   #78
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Default Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Hi All,
I'd like your views on the current state of automotive journalism in India.

The first magazine I laid my hands on was Auto-India when I was around 15. I always had a passion for cars and bikes and AI was the first time I had access to views and opinions of like minded people as nobody in my family had the inclination towards motoring the way I did. In my schooling and undergraduate engineering days I moved on to read Overdrive magazine which again is burned into my memory.

The upshot of all this is that I believe I've grown up appreciating good, high impact, informative journalism.

Since completing my engineering degree, the endless endeavour of career-building took over the simpler pleasures of life and I lost touch with print automotive media.

Recently though I picked up a magazine in the airport (can't even remember which one) and the first thing that struck me was that it read more like a lifestyle rag than an automotive publication. The reviewers lacked a basic understanding of automobiles, most paragraphs seemed as though they'd been cut and pasted from manufacturer press releases. Worst of all, the reviews of famous/well known vehicles (911 for example) were full of cliches, the 'Pros and Cons' section was hilarious (Pro for 911: Great everyday supercar, Cons: High Price).

Its not just print media. Even automotive programming on television has the same issue. The hosts trot out the same nonsense that they were told in the press conference the previous night in a monotonous tone with no real understanding of the vehicle.

So my question to my like-minded petrolheads is: Has automotive journalism in India become a pointless endeavour?

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Old 25th January 2016, 19:11   #79
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

I've stopped my subscription for the magazines a long time ago. I remember them priced around Rs 40-50. Today they are priced Rs 110. Not only that, but most reviews tend to be biased either for or against. 99% of these reviewers fail to mention tiny details (eg if your rear indicator goes kaput in Punto, the brake lights flash instead, etc). That's the main reason to read reviews on tbhp. They are non-hurried and all cars are covered thoroughly.

In a rush to get the first/exclusive out, even TV shows skim on details. They usually consist of the reviewer explaining things while driving a car. No walkarounds, no interior information. This has made me stop viewing them unless I want to see how a car looks, it or check out what is said of its handling etc.

In this age of instant gratification, the automotive media just wants the likes, views and comments. Although there are those rare reviews which do tend to stand out from time to time
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Old 25th January 2016, 19:37   #80
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

I would say that products get released and reviewed years in advance outside India and some of the articles they carry does not even interest the local buyers.Irrespective of their market segment the relevance of review or articles should be within Indian frame work. And the e-media has taken over and user reviews make more impact than a Jeremy clarksons tirade.

Automotive Journalism is still at a very novice stage. The magazines that sell even in US are around specific segments and not generic population who could care less. The consumption of these magazines are very minimal and the only way they can recover the operating cost is via those beauty product adds and tyre company adds.
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Old 25th January 2016, 20:43   #81
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

There are very, very few automotive journalists in India who are discerning and have a solid, fundamental knowledge of all things automotive & automobile engineering per se.
Gautam Sen, considered to be the father of indian automotive journalism and founder of Indian Auto Journal (precursor to Auto India) was one. He was an engineer at a global OEM before he chucked up his job and delved into automotive media. No idea where he is now though.
Hormazd Sorabjee, who worked with Gautam Sen, and later on single handedly went on to bring AUTOCAR of UK to India is another thorough professional. He knows, understands and "feels" cars. Also he is a fantastic driver & rallyist having completed innumerable rallies and trans-continental road trips. In short a petrolhead to the core.

About the others, well, the less said the better. It seems that they are only interested in the press junkets the OEM's dole out, dash off to exotic locales to drive vehicles which they could not have driven otherwise. In fact some of the reviews are positively tepid bordering on the hilarious, with no value addition at all.

Internationally its a different story altogether. Journo's of AUTOCAR UK, CAR&DRIVER etc are serious folks. Some are even fully qualified auto engineers opting for the print media or may have joined the automotive media after working several years with OEM's.
Many are established racers. Many have written automotive engineering texts and published papers & in depth analysis of the auto industry from various perspectives. Some have even built their own vehicles from kits. No wonder these gents are much sought after by OEM's for product feedback.

In India to know about all things automotive, do not waste time, money or energy to buy an automotive magazine.

Instead log onto www.team-bhp.com

Last edited by arjab : 25th January 2016 at 20:47. Reason: spelling mistakes corrected
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Old 25th January 2016, 20:59   #82
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
There are very, very few automotive journalists in India who are discerning and have a solid, fundamental knowledge of all things automotive & automobile engineering per se.
Gautam Sen, considered to be the father of indian automotive journalism and founder of Indian Auto Journal (precursor to Auto India) was one. He was an engineer at a global OEM before he chucked up his job and delved into automotive media. No idea where he is now though.
Hormazd Sorabjee, who worked with Gautam Sen, and later on single handedly went on to bring AUTOCAR of UK to India is another thorough professional. He knows, understands and "feels" cars. Also he is a fantastic driver & rallyist having completed innumerable rallies and trans-continental road trips. In short a petrolhead to the core.

About the others, well, the less said the better. It seems that they are only interested in the press junkets the OEM's dole out, dash off to exotic locales to drive vehicles which they could not have driven otherwise. In fact some of the reviews are positively tepid bordering on the hilarious, with no value addition at all.

Internationally its a different story altogether. Journo's of AUTOCAR UK, CAR&DRIVER etc are serious folks. Some are even fully qualified auto engineers opting for the print media or may have joined the automotive media after working several years with OEM's.
Many are established racers. Many have written automotive engineering texts and published papers & in depth analysis of the auto industry from various perspectives. Some have even built their own vehicles from kits. No wonder these gents are much sought after by OEM's for product feedback.

In India to know about all things automotive, do not waste time, money or energy to buy an automotive magazine.

Instead log onto www.team-bhp.com
All of you have made some really valid points. Gautam Sen and Hormazd Sorabjee (Adil Jal Darukhanawala also made a valuable contribution to indian automotive journalism I feel) are stalwarts in the field.

There is one big difference between Indian and International markets when it comes to the knowledge/interest of the general public, it is that in the West the automobile has been taken for granted as a mode of transport, whereas in India the overriding reason for purchase is to a large extent the 'status' of the vehicle, interior and exterior looks. Technicalities like safety features, environmental impact etc are way down the list of priorities. This is not a negative, just an observation.

This is a major reason as to why we can't/don't have a 'Top Gear' style programme in India, the psychology behind that kind of programme is completely at odds with the Indian psyche.

The TV and print media these days offer nothing at all to the enthusiast, and that is very disappointing because manufacturers like Mahindra and Tata would benefit greatly by having constructive criticism thrown at them and help make them much better carmakers.
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Old 25th January 2016, 21:05   #83
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arjab View Post
In India to know about all things automotive, do not waste time, money or energy to buy an automotive magazine.

Instead log onto www.team-bhp.com
+100 to that......
I turn to my faithful TBHP to know anything and everything about the automotive scenario in India. I do watch the programs on TV but the final authority is TBHP.

Cheers,
S
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Old 25th January 2016, 21:57   #84
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by VW2010 View Post
Hi All,
I'd like your views on the current state of automotive journalism in India........So my question to my like-minded petrolheads is: Has automotive journalism in India become a pointless endeavour?
A reasonable take on the issue, VW2010. I belong to a slightly older vintage and cut my automotive reading teeth on the likes of CAR, Road & Track and later BBC TG among others. At the time I did not find Indian publications on the subject. I temporarily became an insufferable Anglophile on all things automotive & swallowed these borrowed opinions like gospel. Over the years, views & opinions changed, as well as the menu, with our domestic magazines joining the list of required reading.
But what you said is partly true - there are few members of the Indian motoring press who write well and entertainingly, their written English often making one cringe in embarassment. This could be forgiven if you found that their knowledge & awareness of automotive issues had substance - sadly, in many instances this is just not the case. Team-BHP happened for me at just the right time - when the lack of objective, impartial views had made me very pessimistic about Indian auto journalism - everything had begun to taste the same, like paid news.

At the same time, while watching BBC TG today, I find Jeremy Clarkson getting fairly long in the tooth & his popularity highly over-rated - the fact that he has that plummy accent & that country estate outside London, probably has more to do with it. Plus, of course, that natural sense of humour. Which, like Winston Churchill's, usually has a barb at the end of it!
It is unlikely that we shall see another George Bishop or a L.J.K. Setright soon - and for us gearheads, the loss is real and deep.
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Old 25th January 2016, 22:58   #85
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Absolutely agree I grew up with a subscription to nearly everything and loved reading mags like Overdrive and BSMotoring however of late it does seem like they have all lost their individual character reviewers like Karthikeya and Renuka spoil the name of Autocar IMO with their lack of in depth reviews and distinct bias towards products in the market. The less said about TopGear India, the better. NDTVs Siddharth Patankar, may not yet be there but has evolved quite well over the years and remains neutral in his reviews of products so watching some of his videos sometimes is enjoyable and I've also heard that EVO India has got a good team of journos though I have not picked up a magazine in years now.
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Old 25th January 2016, 23:04   #86
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Absolutely. In my childhood I used to buy these magazines every month just based on their covers. Its only when I test drove cars myself & got into Team BHP, I realised this is all crap. They are not even consistent between couple of paragraphs 😆
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Old 25th January 2016, 23:48   #87
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

For me, no more magazines. Just not worth it. There's too much noise and little substance.

The TV shows are also so half baked that it's hilarious.

Team-bhp is the one place I enjoy reading because it's real life people with real life opinions and not folks throwing opinions because of the salary cheque at the end of the month.
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Old 25th January 2016, 23:54   #88
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Today, both the print and the visual media are well connected to manufacturers. Their analysis is not of critical nature. They just highlight facts which are prima facie. It is extremely good for the consumers to have Team Bhp on their side. I respect this forum because in all of their official reviews they have gone far beyond most journalists and have sincerely stated the pros and cons of all vehicles in an unprejudiced manner.
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Old 26th January 2016, 00:11   #89
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Its a well discussed topic on T-BHP that all the Automags/Auto shows have their vested interests and hence we have numerous awards given away to almost all the manufacturers.
At the same time they all need advertising revenue for sustaining themselves and hence the quality.

T-Bhp is not depending on that and therefore is unbiased and honest. At the same time News media, Film Industry, and many others are being criticised and rightly so as they all have persons with vested interests working for them.

Its often said that the next world war would definitely be triggered and controlled by media.
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Old 26th January 2016, 01:09   #90
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Default Re: Automotive media and journalism in India- Waste of time?

Nothing is wrong with the automotive journalism if we consider how it's funding works.

Biased we say, but obviously when corporates pay, corporate interest is served.

The narrative they choose may not be to the liking of the informed enthusiast, but it's meant for the average consumer.

If we want reviewes from honest, well informed journos who've no vested interest in companies (holding shares, related party etc) to withhold any information or present a skewed perspective, then, for starters, we'll have to pay for it.

I don't guess we can complain much for anything that's served 'free'. Media will keep celebrating brands while it's the consumer who actually indirectly pays for all the hoopla (And moreover is often 'encouraged' to bow down to the brand).

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 26th January 2016 at 01:31.
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