Toyota Yaris Review & Influence of Automotive Writers
We are the coming of a new age, we are the blogs. Sure. But a significant part of the information we digest as bloggers still come from the traditional media (or "legacy" media, as some tech-oriented people call it), and as usual when dealing with the media, skepticism is de rigueur. Exhibit number one, a review of the Toyota Yaris in USA Today. While the review is fairly positive when you compile the pros and cons, a tepid taste lingers after reading it. Question: Is it because the Yaris doesn't succeed at what it tries to do, or because - like most automotive writers - the reviewer has a different perspective on cars than most people who would consider buying the Yaris (and most people who don't get to drive a different car every week without having to worry about car payments and gas money)?Usually, those who care enough about cars to make a career out of writing about them usually would much rather drive a Corvette than a small Toyota. That lead to a situation akin to asking hardcore computer gamers to review PCs made for people who only want to check their emails and go on the web; of course they are going to write tepid reviews that make perfectly fine computers sound under-powered, under-designed and un-exciting. That's because they are these things to them.
As long as these people write their honest opinion, there is no problem on their end. But on the other side, on the reader's side, there is a problem. When every newspaper, magazine and big car website is filled with writers who don't care much about "greener" and smaller cars (though that's probably more of a problem in the USA than in the rest of the world) like it is now, it starts to affect the whole automotive landscape because these writers have lots of trend-setting influence. Automakers often say that they just make what people want, but they fail to mention that they also tell people what they want: the higher margin models, which also happen to be the biggest, most powerful and most polluting ones. The marketing budget of the auto industry is bigger than the marketing budget of all other industries combined (if we remember correctly Keith Bradsher's book), and if marketing didn't work, they wouldn't spend all that money on it.
In short, be careful not to let things you read and hear seep into your sub-conscious and create superfluous car "needs". Ask yourself the right questions, see things for yourself, do a bit of research to see if there are other angles and try not to confuse what you want with what corporations want you to want.
Just to make things clear, we are not singling out the USA Today review. It is one of the less offensive one we have read lately and it is in fact quite all right. It just reminded us of this topic and the words started filling the screen...