Cars Under Covers
January 4, 2007 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Broken Embargoes. Given the long amount of preparation required to print an automotive "buff book" (US examples include Car&Driver, Road&Track, Automobile, and MotorTrend), automobile manufacturers customarily provide them with access to concepts and new production vehicles months prior to the "official" public unveiling, requiring them to abide by an embargo on the images and data until a certain date has passed, usually to accomodate a carshow or other media event. In these cases, it was to coincide with the North American International Autoshow (NAIAS, aka Detroit Autoshow, 1/13-1/21), with the embargo lifted with either 1/7/2007 online publication or February print issues, which the buff books dropped the last week of a December. As soons as that happened, web outlets like blogs and various forums released their embargoed materials for each model. As a result, many manufacturers have had their marketing plans torn assunder (list and more background inside)...
posted by rzklkng (12 comments total)
Production models: 2008 DCX Minivans, 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10. Concepts: Jeep Trailhawk, Chrysler Nassau, Jaguar CX-F, Lincoln MKR. (You'll note that these are all products from the long-suffering "home team".)

Take note of this clever photoshop trick to expose the (embargoed) fascia of the 2008 Cadillac CTS. See also the original hoopla over the then all-new 2006 Corvette C6 (sixth generation), and how blog Winding Road fooled the buff books with a little cardboard and ducttape to make a "Blue Devil" Corvette. And lastly, some commentary on the embargo issue as a whole from (forum) GM InsideNews, The Truth About Cars' (TTAC) Robert Farago, the Winding Road, and Autoblog.
posted by rzklkng at 6:58 AM on January 4, 2007

Despite protestations to the contrary, I find it hard to believe there isn't someone at the automakers carefully orchestrating all of this to create buzz.

And if there isn't, they're stupid.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:26 AM on January 4, 2007

Are you sure? I think I see a tow truck pulling up.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:24 AM on January 4, 2007

Hey, is it the annual auto industry circle jerk ? I prefer females thank you and a nice Toyota Prius ..what it saves one can spend on handy entertainment !
posted by elpapacito at 8:41 AM on January 4, 2007

Everyone involved in this from both sides should have seen this coming from the proverbial mile away.

What's that you say? The internets have changed the speed at which information and media reach their respective audiences?

Notice also that the domestic automakers, who seem to be having the most trouble with this, are also flailing helplessly at their core business of selling cars that people want to buy. The import brands, on the other hand, have moved swiftly to embrace the tubes as a way to do business. I'm not saying their stuff doesn't get leaked (spy shots, etc), but they just seemed better prepared to handle it when it does happen.
posted by ninjew at 8:44 AM on January 4, 2007

ninjew, I was thinking along the same lines, but in the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market), their fanboy magazines have scoops and leaks all the time. Maybe it's something they only do on their home courts?
posted by rzklkng at 8:48 AM on January 4, 2007

also flailing helplessly at their core business of selling cars that people want to buy.

They're too busy blaming the unions for everything.
posted by eriko at 9:57 AM on January 4, 2007

Cars suck. Cars are coffins.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 10:13 AM on January 4, 2007

Interesting post but it might be more interesting if the new designs that the car companies are so protective of weren't so damn boring. This is the best that Chrysler could come up after building mini vans for twenty years?
posted by octothorpe at 10:45 AM on January 4, 2007

Boring exteriors and rubbermaid interiors are what most hurts Ford and GM. But that's the craptacular 2004-2007 Malibu Maxx to the equivalent Opel version, and contrast them both with the 2008 Malibu, and you can see that they finally get it, especially regarding the interior.
posted by rzklkng at 12:03 PM on January 4, 2007

This is the best that Chrysler could come up after building mini vans for twenty years?

Dude, it's a minivan. What, exactly, were you expecting?

(Unless they were to follow their retro-musclecar fixation with a retro-shaggin' wagon fixation. That would be awesome--make mine with the optional Cragar SS rims, diamond-tuck velour interior and Boris Vallejo warrior chick on a field of racing stripes verdant.)
posted by arto at 9:20 PM on January 4, 2007

you can see that they finally get it, especially regarding the interior.

That's partially because American manufacturers have given up, and are importing vehicles from their European offshoots. For example, the entire new Saturn lineup, save for the Sky, is cribbed from the Opel playbook.
posted by chrominance at 9:24 PM on January 4, 2007

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