YaHoo Article Accuses Journalists of not Following Through WRT VW Emissions

Discussion in 'General' started by xcel, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    The following story was shared by James Bell, a GM PR media guy in California.

    Volkswagen's Lies Highlight Car Journalism's Failures

    Sharon Silke Carty - Editor-in-chief - YaHoo Autos

    Last year, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf won a ton of awards. It got honors from the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, won Yahoo! Autos top prize, and was named best of the best by a variety of other publications.

    You won’t see anyone, including us here Yahoo, running out to rescind the award, despite the confession from Volkswagen that it intentionally deceived the public for seven years about the cleanliness of its diesel engines. We won’t be doing that because the awards were given to all the different varieties of Golf engines, including the gas engines which make up the bulk of sales.

    But there’s another reason why we won’t be taking back the awards. It’s because the awards aren’t designed to tell you which car is really the best car out there. Honestly, we have no idea.

    Here’s what an automotive award really tells you: Is this car fun to drive? Does it look cool? And does it—in its most brand-new, shined-up version—deliver on the marketing promises the automaker makes in its commercials?

    That’s it. Can we tell you if the airbags are going to work when you get in a crash? Nope. Can we tell you if the airbags will accidentally blow up in your face when you hit a curb? Nope. Can we tell you if some low-level manager ordered a cheap part that goes into some crucial piece of equipment that is doomed to break after 40,000 miles and leave you careening precariously down a steep mountain bank? Nope, not that either. Can we even tell you what kind of fuel economy you’ll get in the car? Not really. We’ll say that’s because everyone drives differently, which is true, but it’s also true that the automakers have a tendency to fudge those numbers. And we’re never really sure when they’re telling the truth... [rm][/rm]


    I found this story written more to fill YaHoo Autos front page then a serious attempt of reporting useful information. Let me know your thoughts - am I out to lunch or is she - after you read my response below.


    Has Sharon considered going to work for TMZ to write about famous people instead?

    None of us obviously know anything about cars - self professed - yet we continue to review and write about cars that we know nothing about. The PR, Comms and Engineering teams presenting on their latest offerings at the short leads probably know nothing about cars and trucks according to the story either. Did any of them tighten the lug nuts on the car or truck in question with a torque wrench? Well damn it, how the hell are we supposed to know if the lug nuts are torqued to the proper spec!

    Consider the next launch. How about we sit through the marketing and tech presentation, drive the car for four hours have dinner and not report anything other than our impressions since that is all we know. Do not dare post a price because until it reaches the dealership lot with a Monroney attached, we are taking a PR leads word that it will cost what they said it will cost. Better not post about the fuel economy and emissions either because only five people in the entire company have tested it and sent the certified results to the EPA. They are not at the short lead and you cannot believe them even if they were. That is until YaHoo Autos performs their own fuel economy and emissions test within their own $15 million temperature and humidity controlled dyno test facility. Wait, they also need a $25 million wind tunnel to determine the Cd first. And the coast down coefficients. Test track anyone? And tens of other parameters to insert into the program let alone the gas analyzers to measure the emission bags contents.

    Oh wait, YaHoo autos did not perform an on-road emissions test with a one-off YaHoo Autos designed portable emissions monitoring system?

    Moving on, Yahoo and everyone else posted the F-Series Super Duty story early this morning.

    They allowed Justin to report "The aluminum body saves 350 lbs. and there are up to seven cameras available on the Super Duty."

    Did Justin weigh one? Did he count the cameras? How does he know? For heaven sakes how did YaHoo Autos allow such hearsay to reach the front page!!!

    Don't dare report that the 2017 F-250 - 450 frame uses 95 percent high-strength steel (HSS) because you have not yet had a metallurgist cut out multiple sections and perform a simple tensile strength test on each and every one. I can demonstrate how it is done but I have not performed that test since college.

    Ever pulled out a tape measure and measure the wheelbase? Of every car ever reviewed at YaHoo autos? Ever measure the caster angle after it was provided on the Media site spec sheet? If not, why not?

    Impressions and write-ups with the few hours of time we have behind the wheel and the data thankfully provided by the OEMs is what we do.

    Anyone care to see a Speed vs FE graph of the all-new 2016 Honda FWD HR-V EX from last week? Don't you dare believe me however. Spend the 20-hours to perform a detailed calibration drive, collect the data in the middle of the night on a lengthy section of mostly flat interstate with no wind and temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees F to reduce or eliminate side drafts, elevation factors and temperature compensation on a normally heavily trafficked Interstate. And do it for yourself for gods sake because YaHoo would not dare allow an EPA figure be posted without checking them for themselves!


    James, please thank your entire PR team for providing the detail to the best of yours and their knowledge and abilities at the short leads and the media sites on behalf of GM. Without it, we could not perform our jobs nearly as well as we do today.

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  2. Gord

    Gord Super Moderator Staff Member

    Nice one Wayne :D
  3. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I think the only unique element about this story in terms of journalism is that the warning signs have been around for over a year and nobody picked up on it. The ICCT paper was dated May, 2014 and VW owners have been receiving emissions recall letters since at least April, 2015. Reading back through the history and especially looking at chatter among owners on sites like TDIClub, you might scratch your head and ask "How could the press not pick up on this and start asking questions?"

    I think the answer is simple: The reality of the situation never would have crossed anybody's mind. That and a software update to correct a presumably minor emissions glitch is barely worth a paragraph. If you put yourself back in the late 2014/early 2015 time frame what would have seemed more likely: A group of academics from West Virginia University botched the on-road test, or the world's largest auto maker has been actively evading emissions tests on cars for the last 7 year? Precisely. And that's why it didn't break until last Friday when VW admitted it because that's what it took to make the story believable.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  4. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Since when is Yahoo ! an example of journalistic excellence ? Any 8th-grade dropout can write (or edit) for them.
  5. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    I wouldnt bother writing up a response. Yahoo autos is generally not worth spending much time on.
  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Gord, Tim, Edwin and Mike:

    Thanks for adding the balanced replies. I was working on no sleep way into the morning hours and thought I had better get a reality check...

  7. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Bit of an aside
    All cars should be HATCHBACKS-
    hatchbacks with fairly high rooflines- are SW SUVs without the penalty of the
    too much ground clearance too much drag tires too wide too tall

    And 43 mpg at 60 mph-not bad-

    The VW scam should be laid on VW
    The EPA doesn't have the resources to detect these scams-road test every car for pollution output
    Now I'm not so sure that the regulatory agencies-weren't paid off??

    And I have a LOT of trouble believing that OTHER MANUFACTURERS weren't aware of this
    Why didn't they rat VW out??
    Gentlemen's agreement to not rat in respect to EPA stuff??
    Yeah NO WAY do I think other manufacturers NOT KNOW this
    GM MUST have wondered how VW preformed so well relative to the TD Cruze
    same thing from other Euro manufacturers

    The other manufacturers HAD to have discovered this

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