Motor Trend

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Cover of Motor Trend magazine

Motor Trend is one of the oldest automotive magazines still publishing. It appeared in September, 1949, issued by Peterson Publishing Company in Los Angeles, and bearing the tag line, The Magazine for a Motoring World. Today it is part of the Primedia Group and claims more than one million subscribers.

One of the earliest and most enduring of the magazine's creations was its Car of the Year award, given almost continuously since its inception, although the phrase itself would not become entrenched until well into the 50s. (The first winner was the 1949 Cadillac.) The award has gone through several splits and permutations over the years, being called the Golden Wheels Award for a while in the 70s and having given rise to Truck of the Year ( and Import Car of the Year ( among other variants. Nevertheless, it is still coveted by manufacturers and is usually covered by the mainstream press as the most important distinction awarded in the American auto industry.

The 1990 choice of the Lincoln Town Car, the third car in four years from the Ford Motor Company, was criticized by some as pandering to an advertiser.

The Motor Trend brand has been extended considerably over the years, and today includes radio and television programs and an auto show promotion, as well as companion publications such as Truck Trend. The magazine also issues awards for car care products. In 1999, it produced a coffee table book to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary.

Its original publisher was instrumental in establishing the Peterson Automotive Museum, now considered one of Los Angeles' major tourist attractions.

Editorial direction

Motor Trend is one of the more popular automobile magazines, with writing that tends to be more accessible than its enthusiast-oriented competitors. It has received criticism for the positive tone of the writing, with some observing that the magazine never has anything bad to say about any car. Indeed, there have been some notable blunders in the magazine's reporting, including glowing reports on notorious automotive flops like the Yugo and Cadillac Catera.

It should be noted that the coveted Car of the Year award presentation is often followed by a large cross-promotional campaign for the vehicle and the magazine. Often, the automobile that wins the "Car of the Year" award is featured in a several-page or pull-out advertisement in that same issue. The Motor Trend brand is also used extensively during television and media coverage and advertising of the award.

The current executive editor of Motor Trend is Matt Stone, and the editor-in-chief is Angus MacKenzie. Other members of the staff include Ron Sessions, Todd Lassa, John Kiewicz, Frank Markus and Arthur St. Antoine.

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