Rewind: “A Rising Star In Journalism Stands Up To Applaud The Encore”

Jamie LaReau is the journalist about whom everyone is talking nowadays. It all started when international taste-maker and notorious recluse Michael Banovsky alerted his following to a fascinating August, 2011 article entitled A Porsche From The Passenger Seat Is Still A Porsche. Banovsky is a known talent-spotter, and this time he had spotted someone whose Hemingway-esque economy of words genuinely stood out:

The Porsche I rode in was a 1999 model. I don’t recall which style, but let’s just say it was one of the good ones. (As if there are any bad ones.)

Indeed. I happened to see Ms. LaReau examining the new Buick Encore with considerable interest after the press conference, but before I could untether my Droid from my laptop and talk to her, she disappeared. Now, it appears that she has applied her unique style to a strong defense of the Encore. Let’s check it out.

Jamie’s new article is entitled Buick’s mini crossover enters a white space that could be red hot. Here at TTAC, we’re as click-sensitive as anyone else, so definitely go pay the lady a visit so Automotive News can cover their bills and Crain Communications can continue to promote the most qualified individuals to positions of leadership, no matter who they are. However, we will excerpt the relevant sections here.

Jamie starts out like so:

At auto shows I often eye vehicles and ask myself if they might one day be my next ride.

Sometimes the answer is: definitely, maybe.

General Motors introduced the Buick Encore compact crossover at the Detroit auto show today and I had that definitely, maybe feeling.

I’m not the typical Buick customer — I’m under age 65. But there is currently no mid-luxury, subcompact crossover in the United States. So the Encore is competing in “white space,” Buick marketing chief Tony DiSalle says.

So it could be red hot.

Who’s the most likely demographic for Encore purchases? Here at TTAC, we believe the Encore will appeal to the critical consumer segments commonly described as

  • People who live in China
  • Drooling morons who don’t

Ms. LaReau has a different idea:

But knowing my peer group, the Encore might be the one Buick we’d be eager to own. And that would take Buick into a customer space the brand desperately wants to tap into — a younger, likely single, urban professional, DiSalle says.

Initially, I thought “DiSalle” might be a sassy urban friend of Jamie’s, but then I read the article a second time and realized that “DiSalle” Buick marketing chief Tony DiSalle. This depressed me. I imagined Ms. LaReau, who has a certain statuesque beauty, rolling through downtown Detroit in a Sebring convertible with “DiSalle” and perhaps having amusing, sassy conversations.

“So… I was in a Porsche the other day.”

“OOOH GIRL! NO YOU DIN’T! Which one was it?”

“One of the good ones.”

“There ain’t no bad ones.”

“You said it, sister.”

“Girl, you need to back up off that ‘sister’ business. It’s insensitive, and when I completed my doctorate at Howard University, my thesis, ‘The Tides that Bind: Morphemetic Flow In Post-TCP/IP-Era Linguistic Diasporan Evolution Among Disadvantaged Segments Of Non-Diverse Populations’ specifically identified the use of ‘sister’ by white girls as one of the many ways in which people like you conspire to define womyn of color in a reductionist, disrespectful manner which is tantamount to parody.”

“I feel sad now. We need to start communicating on a more respectful level.”

“You said it, sister.”

Obviously I was wrong about the whole “DiSalle” thing. Let’s find out what Jamie thought about the Encore’s engine:

Another plus for me is the Encore’s 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. It will deliver 140 hp and 148 pounds-feet of torque. That’s 41 hp less than the Countryman’s turbocharged 1.6-liter engine earns.

I should point out that, earlier in the review, Ms. LaReau had noted her fondness for the Countryman, which earns its horsepower the old-fashioned way: by earning it. After some notes on lead-footed driving not unreminiscent of that Angus fellow’s bellowing nonsense in The Monthly Journal Of Free Cadillacs, the review barrels to its conclusion:

But I sure can’t wait until early next year when it goes on sale to find out.

Hmm. Waiting until a vehicle is available to render a final verdict? This sounds like journalism. Somebody had better warn Jamie that unless she can either muster unthinking enthusiasm for the pig in the poke or rain cynical distaste upon a turntable-bound new car like a third-rate literary Krakatoa, she may not go as far as Mr. Banovsky believes she will.

(Postscript to this: We published this on Jan 10, 2012. Shortly afterwards, the lady in question added me on Facebook and thanked me for mentioning her. Things were going in an, ahem, productive direction when some player-hating bitch-ass apparently told her I was making some light-hearted fun of her. So I went from “yes, let’s meet in Detroit and talk” to BLIZZ-OCKED. Cue John Mayer’s “My Stupid Mouth.” — JB)

19 Replies to “Rewind: “A Rising Star In Journalism Stands Up To Applaud The Encore””

  1. John C.

    Given that the Encore did pretty well for what it is and the oblivious herd that rushed to spit at it misfired badly, this poor girl had to be banished. So it fell to Jack to do it. It really stinks for herd journos when someone likes something they are not supposed to. Maybe it is time to celebrate the independent voices and sleigh the herd. Down with ignorant groupthink.

  2. gtem

    Gotta give credit where it’s due, the Encore really did nail this untapped “white space.” As awful of a vehicle as I think it is, from what I gather it’s been a commercial success and everyone else is rushing to bring a product into the subcompact-crossover space.

    • hank chinaski

      So, drooling moron marketing assistant, er, journalist, is in the same peer group sales target of drooling moron buyers. What about the drooling morons that happen to be Chinese? That Venn diagram speaks to Encore sales in the gajillions!

      Dammit, if they are going to hire token eye candy, can’t it at least be quality eye candy? Ailes knew how to do this.

    • Disinterested-Observer

      “In 2018, Buick has been subsidizing the heck out of the Encore, to the point where most Encore buyers and lessees are getting thousands of dollars off. Right now, Buick is offering a whopping $5,000 off the oldest Encores in dealer stock — that could be as much as 20 percent or more of the purchase price. But back at the end of Q1, they were offering even more….
      …should Buick have to subsidize its most popular car that heavily in order to move it? We aren’t talking about full-size trucks with huge profit margins. This is Buick’s volume model, the only model they have that sells with any frequency, and it’s one with very little room between invoice and sticker to start with. All of Buick’s sales growth can be attributed to Encore, and it’s not profitable growth.”

      From brother Bark’s Buick Death Watch.

      • gtem

        Yeah I had considered that article when I wrote my response. Perhaps “commercial success” is not right then, but I will still give them credit for honing in on this now-hot segment before just about everybody else. I think the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport might have them beat, but that’s at the very low end of the segment.

  3. Will

    I waiting for the skinny on Doug DeMuro. He always seems fishy or something was off about his background/being able to afford those cars he “buys”. Not quite sure how he got a job at Porsche either.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      He was just an order taker at Porsche. As for how he bought his cars, I won’t be the one to put this man’s business on the street but he didnt earn the money.

      • Disinterested-Observer

        Let’s not jump to conclusions. Just remember, if you hang in there long enough, good things can happen in this world.

  4. John C.

    Interesting the crowd chimes in to chant the mantra that the Encore sucks. Wonder when people will make independent judgements based on merits rather than biases. It sure hit the mark better than the jacked up Fit, that crappy Hyundai or that freaky looking Toyota baby CUV. With production in Korea instead of Michigan as with the Sonic, it probably made GM a pile. Even Mr. Derivative Deathwatch thought it should move over to GMC.

    Now if they had only built it at Lake Orion and put a 3800 in it…..

    • sabotenfighter

      That freaky looking Toyota baby CUV is doing gangbusters on home turf. I see at least 10 daily. From base model 2WD to hybrids (lot of those) ones with full body kits and are twice as ugly. I hate the turds, but they certainly struck a cord with the locals.


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