Auto Journalists, It's Time To Stop Grumbling About Giving Advice

That's it. I'm finished reading articles griping about giving automotive recommendations to non-gearhead friends. You know them. They have the tag "RANTS" and then the writer promptly complains about the action of giving car advice. I've read them twice in one week on Jalopnik (and don't get me started on Oppositelock). And I'm fed up with them.

For instance, last week, Matt Hardigree decided to preach to non-car people saying they were wrong and then provided a series of facts why, most of which will be ignored in favor of that big hybrid Japanese/German sedan. (We'll have to wait for the 4th quarter sales reports to see if there were results from his effort.)


Meanwhile, Stef Schrader provided a series of increasingly zany answers to the car recommendation question (which, if successful, may increase the value of Porsche 944s and trolling) to keep advice askers at bay instead of referring them to Fluffy as an end-all.

I will admit that I'm not beyond reproach when it comes to complaining about car advice being taken. But having written many lists which involve somewhat-relevant automotive advice ("Cars That Are Beautiful But Dated? What is he on about!?) and responding to almost every bit of criticism until 3 in the morning, I've become accustomed to my advice never being taken.


Despite that, I too have gone through the moments of frustration that result from advice not being followed. For instance, an uncle bought a brand-new Prius after I recommended he test drive a Volt. Another uncle bought a Prius with 100K on the clock as his daughter's first car without getting the battery checked.


In spite of these moments, I don't decline giving car advice one bit. Just ask anyone on Oppositelock. And Doug DeMuro, to whom I suggested a Murano CrossCabriolet this week. (He didn't promptly shoot it down, so there's hope.)

If they're asking for recommendations, who am I not to give one? After all I'm just an unemployed millennial who spends much of his day playing Gran Turismo, determining the formula for the perfect omelette, and sending resumes to automakers who will hopefully overlook my criticism of them.


So auto journalists, if you don't like recommending cars, don't recommend them. That's what Doug DeMuro does while calling out the types of people who don't take his advice. Instead, he brings up having a Nissan of questionable style (so there's a precedent for future CrossCab ownership) rather than provide some car-buying guidance.


In fact, his piece on car recommendations is my go-to reading material after my recommendations are ignored, kind of like how a high school student watches Mean Girls after her tent dress was ostracized by her clique for being "so 2007."

That's the way it should be among both auto journalists and car enthusiasts. Don't give solicited recommendations unless you believe your audience will take it into account. And if you think they won't, make them second guess their choice.


Say things like, "You know, the battery in the Prius doesn't last as long as you might think" or "the engine in that BMW may suffer a fuel pump failure." Then they're much more likely to take your advice.

I know it's crafty and cynical; but it's a way to ensure your advice does get taken into account. However, auto journalists will lose quite a bit of credibility, which most importantly to them, means no more Porsche test cars.


But in the end, ranting about people not taking car advice is auto journalists' modus operandi. Otherwise, they'll sound off about the low salaries, how the Toyota Corolla is boring, and the fact that Mercedes doesn't offer red in its S-Class color palette.

Let's face it, if all people did take their advice, we'd end up with rear-drive diesel-engined manual stations wagons all round.


And I'd promptly ignore the advice in favor of a front-drive gasoline-powered automatic sedan.

Which is what I drive now.

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