Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Truck of the Year, clear proof that the Automotive Press are out of touch and in Japan's pocket

A glaring example of how out of touch the Automotive Press is with reality and how deep they are in Japan's pocket is the anouncement that Honda's Ridgeline won the "Truck" of the Year.
First the Honda is hardly a "Truck" and second are it's disapointing sales. The Automotive Press seem to be stunned that these overpriced trucklets are not flying off the dealer lots.
I've checked the Ridgeline out up close and it's an amazing vehicle, but it's not a truck. And the term "sticker shock" is mild, in the case of the Ridgeline it's more like sticker rape.

Of the three vehicle up for the Truck of the Year, the Explorer should have been the hands down winner. A basically ground up new vehicle, the only old aspect is the styling, which makes many people think this is just a freshened vehicle. Never mind the new chassis, addressing many issues with the old version.

I was watching Autoline Detroit recently and John McElroy and his guest were discussing the "Truck of the Year" candidates and voting. 49 journalist, including McElroy voted and announced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit the winner. No surprise, here it's Honda, who coincidentally won "Car of the Year" for the new Civic.

The Ridgeline is not a TRUCK and worshiping at the altar of everything Honda is not being a journalist, it's more like you're a member of Honda's marketing team. I wonder if these guys are just afraid of loosing advertising dollars or they really believe that the Ridgline is a truck.

It's becoming such a joke with the Automotive Press these days, you expect either Honda or BMW to win any comparision test and no matter how improved an American vehicle is you will hear how it should be more like Honda or Lexus.

Here's a question for readers; "Do you actually believe comparions tests in Car magazines such as Car and Driver, Road&Track, MotorTrend or AutoWeek? Or do you believe like I do, that they sold their souls to Japan years ago?"

And for those that think I'm so into Ford that I can't be objective, check this earlier post I did comparing "Compact Trucks" ; http://myforddreams.blogspot.com/2005/10/what-would-i-buy-if-i-needed-to.html#113085147837423916


Shawn said...

Come on Joe, you should not be surprised by this anymore. The American automotive press will always bash American. It's a trendy thing to do.

There are 2 groups of auto editors. The first is one that are impressed only by statistical horsepower and contradicts himself. They are the types that drive trucks in slaloms, take trucks off road (then they claim that it isn't important because no truck drivers actually go off road), and drive them into drag strips (as if people drag more than off road). They use phrases like "They are not best at any one thing, but good at everything." So if they ran the NFL, if a team loses every single game by 3 points instead of 20, they are the winner instead of those who won some games. Finally, they judge interiors by calling American “cheap plastic” and Japanese “utilitarian.” American horsepower is “poor fuel economy” but European horsepower is “Thrilling.” Japanese horsepower is always twice as good even if both cars weights the same and have the same numbers.

The second type is the “know-it-all” snobby type. They offer the stupidest observations such as blasting a car for a switch, a button, and the shape of something or another. American cars always lack the high art European styling or the hip Japanese styling. Any American midrange car is called a “rental,” American Sports cars always compared to European cars that cost 5 times as much. American trucks are always blasted for being too much of a truck…Then if it wasn’t much of a truck, they will blast it for not being able to tow a tank while driving through a 5’ mud pit. At the beginning of each year, I can just picture all the editors sitting at the table saying, “How can we give this thing to Honda, Toyota or Nissan?” Let’s just find something like a trunk that American trucks don’t have and say that 1 stupid thing override everything else. It can’t do much of anything a truck is supposed to do but since it as a trunk (of course they fail to point out that if the bed is loaded, there is no way to get to the spare), TRUCK of the year!

All of them have 1 thing in common. They’re all detached from reality. They live in a world that price doesn’t matter, gas is only expensive in American cars, a truck is the same as a car, and being an American deducts points before any comparison test.

Big Ford Fan said...

Shawn, that was very well put, and I can't add anything to it. Great comment. I wasn't really surprised, just disaointed. I knew as soon as they anounced that Honda was going to build a "truck" that it would win any award they could throw at it.

I just laugh, because you know that they load all their photo and testing grear into a real truck to get those cool shots in the magazines and to stand by in case the Honda gets stuck on a rock.

NLPRacing said...

I too was thoroughly disgusted by this. A Honda minivan based track, what a joke! I was just reading my latest Motor Trend and saw many goofy things that just don't make sense. They described the 06 Dodge 1500 with the "HEMI" as being powerful and quick with "impressive" numbers like 0-60 in 8.3 and 16.5 in the 1/4. Later in the same issue, they described the 5.4 engine in the long term wrap-up on the 04 F150 as being underpowered and felt slow, despite posting a 16.3 in the 1/4, faster than the lighter, more powerful "HEMI". I just don't get it, I may have to cancel my subscription.

Cars! Cars! Cars! said...

All right, hang on a second Joe. You don't _know_ for sure that they bring a "real" truck in case the Honda gets stuck. Don't be as crappy as the mainstream press. So, unless you have a photo of a "real" truck carrying the goods...

I haven't driven the Honda Ridgeline, but it does seem to fit a niche very well. I don't think Honda claims it's a work truck like the F-150, F-250 or the GM dealies.

Honda has a deservedly good reputation for quality. Ford has let its quality slip and, in fact, Detroit in general has admitted that.

That being said, if I could win the lottery I'd _totally_ find a 1992 Ford F-150 Flareside (in Iris) and have it restored. That was my first new vehicle ever and, in some ways, my favorite. I don't need no Mustang, gimme' my truck!

Big Ford Fan said...

NLP, again I agree with you, the Ridgeline, which is based on the Pilot, which in turn is based on teh Odessy minivan is not a truck.

You've pointed out another example of auto journalists being biased or just enamoured to what is new or hot. Chrysler could throw a Hemi in anything and they salivate. It's amazing that even if there is not Honda or BMW in the test, you can usually find a referance to one anyway. Most Automotive Journalist just cream over the fact that Honda has a "truck." I'm sick of the fact that most of the reviewers will say in the article that they aren't really "truck people." The unsaid being that they are better than that.

Bob, good to hear from you, nice to know you read my page. But just to be honest, I did watch an episode of Car and Driver television, and they have to follow any vehicle with a photo rig. Generally that rig is a truck, and it's common knowledge, from reading every automotive and 4x4 magazine over the last 25 years, that they always have a more capabel vehicle along just in case. This can be said if they are testing a Ridgeline or a Ranger. It's a fact, and since I said that in the comments section and not in the original post, I feel it's fair. I have been reading as many auto/truck magazines and watching anything on TV remotely related to cars/trucks for as long as I can remember, probably longer than the last 25 years. Don't you get Spike TV in Brooklyn??

You are also right that the Ridgeline fits a niche, but it's not a new chassis or even a revolutionary design. It's a scaled down Explorer Sport Track or Avalanche. A nifty trunk in the truck bed isn't enough to win this honor. What about the new Xtera or Explorer, both better "trucks" ?

Your point about quality is well recieved, although I believe that Ford has brought quality back up over the last few years. I've driven many Fords and owned several and quality on all was good. But isn't this award about design? The truck of the year award is for most improved or inovative design. You want to talk quality, talk to JD Powers.

I loved the 92 Flareside, but was never big on the Iris paint job. If I win the lottery, I'll buy you one.

Anonymous said...

Bias in the Automotive Press, never. I just read a comparison test in Car & Driver " 5 Everyday Heroes ", this article again shows a preffrence for all things Honda.

They test 5 sub-$30,000 sports sedans, tested are : Acura TSX , Honda Accord EX v6 Manual , Mazdaspeed6, Pontiac G6 GTP , Volkswagon Jetta GLI.

They finished as such :
1.Jetta GLI
2.Honda Accord EX
3.Acura TSX
5.Pontiac G6 GTP

Yes the Jetta won , but notice the Honda & Acura 2-3 finish.

They acknowledge that the Mazdaspeed6 was the performance champ, besting all comers in : Horsepower , Torque, 0-60, 0-100, 0-110 , 1/4 mile , skidpad (300 ft) , lane change MPH. in all tests of performance the Mazdaspeed6 was tops. So why 4th? well the Interior didn't offer a moonroof , the interior was not leather, tight rear seat , "psychotic-vacuam cleaner exhaust note" .

Are they for real , the volkswagon wasn't even second by the numbers, the Accord was the surprise here and deserves it's high ranking, The Acura on the other hand placed thirs and had no place on this comparo. The slowest car with the least power. " A sophisticated lightweight in a middle weihgt title fight " .

Is it realy a surprise that The European won and The Honda Twins placed. To be fair the Volkswagon beat the Mazdaspeed6 in stopping from 70 MPH by 1 foot.

Bias , no way.

Bobzoom ( yes I am Biased , but hey I don't write reviews for money)

carscomblogger said...

well as you all point out you haven't driven the vehicles. So I don't see how you can stress bias.

I was a Ridgeline hater until I tested one too. it was very nifty. I thought the interior was a tad funky but the ride was very smooth. A terrific highway champ. I thought the in bed trunk was dumb. the backseat/flat floor was gigantic though and very useful.

I don't remember what the towing capacity was but it is significantly less than the F-150 et al.

You also have to remember the awards are for new vehicles. So the F-150, titan etc weren't included. The Explorer I wasn't impressed with but others at the mag like it a lot. But it is just a new explorer. Nothing revolutionary about it either.

As for those 5 sedans. Have you driven a GLI? It is awesome. I think the TSX offers more for the money and the Mazdaspeed 6 I tested did have a moonroof. But numbers don't equal what a car feels like. I'd take the TSX, Mazdaspeed 6 or GLI any day. There is no way the g6 even comes close. the Accord is just too boring for my tastes. I could see how someone would rank the GLI #1, but then I'd have TSX and Mazda 2 and 3.

As for bias overall, build better cars they'll get better press. Like the Z06 ;)

a Ford Fan said...

The tailgate is straight off an American station wagon of the 60's and 70's. Same with the "trunk" in the floor. Heck, a Taurus wagon has the same thing! Nothing new here just because it's a Honda.