Microgripe: A Silly List

Autocropley ran this list some time back: “The market didn’t want these cars but you should”, it writes. 

1989 Citroen, officially a classic: oppositelock.kinja.com

So, it works like this: they jeer at these cars when they are new and when they are rare and used Autocar tells us how jolly good they are. It can’t be both (the list included the XM, the Scorpio, Rover 75 V8 estate, Volvo S80 V8 and Renault Espace Quadra and Opel Zafira VXR and 607).

I find this exasperating. In killing the commercial prospects of these products, the automotive press dramatically reduces manufacturers’ willingness to make these sorts of cars. There’s a reason the market is flooded with me-too CUVs. I especially dislike Autocropley’s implication that “the market” is distinct from “you”. They mean “we automotive writers discouraged sales of these cars when they were new but now we think you should buy one because they are rare and interesting”. Chully-woo, you too.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

16 thoughts on “Microgripe: A Silly List”

  1. Isn’t ‘build ’em up, bring ’em down’ reporting one of the essential tools of journalism, anyway?

    1. I’d say Mercedes GLA 45 AMG. A hot hatch in disguise with added ground clearance. If Mazda still had a sporty version of the 6, maybe it could be a future classic, too.

    2. BMW Z4 Coupe. Porsche Boxster Spyder, Nissan Juke Nismo, Mini Cooper Coupe, Volvo V70 T5, Honda CR-Z, Renault Laguna Coupe, BMW I3, Daihatsu Copen, Toyota IQ

    3. Oh yes! Laguna Coupe – now that’s an interesting and rather lovely one. I really want to like the CRZ too, but then I remember the original Insight and the second generation CRX (particularly the VTi version) and realise that the CRZ fell between those two stools.

  2. I would add the Volvo s60 cc to that list. A bit weird, but not too weird niche car(?). A journalist in Sweden wrote its the answer to a question no one asked.

  3. Going back to the original beef, automotive magazines in the UK have long lost their balance and overall credibility. They are all biased towards ‘exciting’ (aka sporting or super-luxury) cars rather than creating excitement or interest in the mundane. There is a test in Car this month of three ‘superminis’ – the new Swift, the new C3, and the new Micra which is the most relevant test it has put together for ages and ages (the Q7 has been the subject of two tests in three editions!). Autocar also put together a 9 car supermini test, but it was so superficial I wanted to weep. I recall that when the MkIII Fiesta was launched, Car did a proper Giant Test on 10 superminis in the market at the time – it was, to my mind – the definitive test of that class of car in the era. It just would not happen these days.

    I note that Hyundai has just withdrawn the Genesis from the UK listings (no doubt not helped by having been dismissed by UK motoring journos), so I’ll vote for that as a future classic. I’ll probably buy one in 18 months time to add to my collection of incongruous barges built by unfancied marques.

    1. That news item had not passed me by either. The Genesis should be very affordable in 24 months: the seller will be thrilled when you ring but you’ll affect disappointment when you find out it’s not metallic green. Then ‘phone up three days later and offer 20% less and get it for a good price.
      My last copy of Car entered my collection about three months ago, ending a run of 25 years religiously constant purchasing. I too remember 15 pages of articles on important mainstream models. Now such cars get one feature, one big test and that’s the end while every month it’s ultimate. Porsche this and ultimate Ferrari that. Further, the literary quality is near zero. Exclamation point.

  4. I quit CAR about 2 years ago, after a loyal run since about 1981. Back in the 80’s, it wasn’t easy to get it here in the US, but I would somehow find a way to get to the airport (in NYC), or the international newsstand. It was, by far, the best. I couldn’t decide if it, or I, had changed somehow.

    Thanks for giving me a daily dose of interesting car discussion!

    1. You are welcome!
      About Car, it is likely a bit of both but more Car’s change than you. I still dip into old articles from the 70s to about 2003 for fun. After EMAP sold it to Bauer and the editor changed it died. When re-organising my books/falderal it was Car from 2003 which went into deep storage first. I had barely read it since 2009 and the few editions I looked into when stacking them remained as uninteresting as they did when new.

  5. The German motor press is the same. After writing for sixty years about the ‘overly complicated’, ‘wobbly’, ‘unreliable’ and ‘alienating’ hydropneumatic suspension, they promptly mourned its end this year with songs of praise.

  6. I grew to despise the hazy collusion inherent to car magazines. The writers collude with the readers in sneering at the kind of cars people happily buy every day. The magazines collude with the manufacturers to keep the PR pump primed. In return, the manufacturers collude with the magazines to fill their pages with adverts and the drives of their writers with cars they would never otherwise be able to afford. It all has the rank smell of payola and I for one grew tired of my part in subsidising their collusion.

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