Before we begin, I have a confession to make: I don’t read automotive blogs/websites. I mainly avoid reading them because:
A. Most of them are terrible.
2. I don’t have a ton of spare time.
D. I’d prefer not to have my own opinion of a car/topic colored by somebody else.
There are, of course, exceptions to this. If a friend or colleague I respect writes something about a topic which interests me, I’ll read it, regardless of the outlet in which it appears.
Which brings me to The Drive.
The Drive started about a year and a half ago, flush with cash and backing from one of the biggest names in the news business, Time. They hired a lot of talented people and personal friends of mine, including Zach Bowman and the aforementioned Messrs. Roy and Farah. I’ve never been super high on the folks at The Drive, but I still clicked on my friends’ articles—at least, initially. Since then, however, the leadership at The Drive has taken some silly social media shots at other friends and colleagues of mine, flat out stolen stories from Jalopnik, and largely acted like idiots.
Well, Time isn’t doing so hot, as you may have heard. Naturally, The Drive, with its insignificant audience and minimal industry influence, is feeling the parent company’s pain more than most. Bowman was let go sometime in 2016. Back in January, The Drive furloughed all non-full time writers. And now? Well, they appear to be publishing just about anything from just about anybody, and I suspect that they’re paying many of these new writers with all the exposure they can handle.
But this latest, er, article might be the worst thing they’ve run yet. It’s penned by Alex Ghorishi, who appears to have sprung fully from the womb at some millennial age with five posts for The Drive on May 31st, 2017 (I can’t find anything else written by him anywhere, or even a social media presence of any type outside of this GoFundMe page asking people to pay for repairs on his clapped-out bimmer). I’m not gonna link to it—it deserves exactly no clicks. But I will give it the play-by-play it deserves below.
The post, entitled “Can Alfa Romeo Succeed In the US?” makes the classic mistake of attempting to answer a question which nobody is asking. Nobody thinks Alfa is going to be a rip-roaring commercial success…do they? Nevertheless, let’s dive in. Ghorishi starts off with a hot take.
Alfa Romeo put itself directly in the spot light after a series of advertising spots during this year’s Super Bowl. Alfa started shipping vehicles to North America in 2014, after a 19 year hiatus, but hopes to make a roaring comeback.
Does The Drive employ editors? “Spotlight” is one word, and it’s in the very first sentence of the post. This doesn’t bode well for the rest of it. The second sentence makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Take out the middle clause (“after a 19 year hiatus”) and re-read it. Yeah, still makes no sense. Let’s continue.
The debut of the 4C was fairly successful, a two-seater sports car widely regarded as fun to drive but with a spartan interior for the price tag. Although Alfa has begun to establish itself as a sporty and desirable brand, only 1,106 sales were made in the first quarter of 2017—in other words, Mitsubishi sold nearly five times as many Lancers as Alfa sold cars in that period. After making a bold comeback by introducing the 4C into the North American market, Alfa Romeo began looking into higher volume automobile segments, such as the competitive premium mid-size sedan sector.
First sentence fails to make any sense whatsoever. Let’s rewrite it like so: “The debut of the 4C, a fun, well-regarded roadster, seemed to be the beginnings of a promising reboot for Alfa.” At least that’s a complete sentence that doesn’t switch tenses and could possibly have some sort of tangential relationship to the remainder of the paragraph. Two sentences later, after comparing a luxury brand to an econobox, we’ve switched from a “roaring comeback” to a “bold comeback” and we’re talking about the launch of the 4C again for some reason. Okay, then. Moving on.
Director of Alfa Romeo North America, Pieter Hogeveen, believes in the brand, “If you look at the premium mid-size sedan, customers have only had a few choices when it comes to vehicles and brands in the last decade. We believe Giulia will do very well based on its positioning, rich content, and race inspired performance.”
Newsflash: employee of Alfa Romeo says he believes in Alfa Romeo. And what the fuck is that comma doing there? Is there an opening at The Drive for an editor, or do they simply not believe in the practice?
In addition to focusing on brand awareness and building exhilarating cars, Alfa Romeo has quietly grown their number of U.S. dealerships. By the end of 2015, there were 122 dealerships. In 2016, Alfa increased this number by 35% to 165—and 2 more showrooms have opened since 2017.
Dude, it’s still 2017. How has something happened since 2017? Are you writing this drivel from the future?
According to Hogeveen, many dealerships are reporting visitors walking in their doors to learn more about the brand and their cars.
Get the fuck outta here. People are walking into dealerships to learn about the cars inside? This is newsworthy, indeed!
The Giulia has begun to successfully cement Alfa Romeo’s brand as a top-notch luxury and performance-inspired brand. Just to name a few, the Giulia was named one of Ward’s Best Interiors for 2017, won the prestigious EuroCarBody 2016 award, and was given Popular Mechanic’s 2017 “Super Sedan” award.
Just to name a few what? People who should be fired for allowing this whatever-it-is to be published? People who contributed to your GoFundMe? (Just kidding. Only one person has contributed.)
Many journalists have consistently attested to the car’s fun-to-drive nature and even its practicality.
This would have been a good place to mention some of these “journalists.” Maybe throw in more excessive hyperlinks.
To appeal to an even greater number of buyers, Alfa Romeo released the 2018 Stelvio with an accompanying racy Quadrifoglio version. Sharing much DNA with the Giulia, the Stelvio is bound to be a performer, with its sights set on rival Porsche SUVs.
Even more buyers? You mean even more than the number that whack-ass Lancer managed to outdo? Also, you might wish to mention exactly what a Stelvio is, hombre.
By 2020, Alfa has plans for six additional vehicles, including a full size sedan, two utility vehicles, two “specialty” vehicles, and a hatchback. However, these plans hinge on today’s success. Despite previous broken promises made by Alfa—specifically the 159, which lacked performance and quality — Harald Wester, Chief Executive at Alfa Romeo and Maserati, is aware that disappointing vehicles will destroy the brand in today’s market.
He is? Did he tell you that in some sort of awesome exclusive interview that you’ve failed to mention?
Although Alfa Romeo could steal form the Chrysler or Maserati parts bin for its cars, an emphasis has been made on 100% new and improved body, suspension, and engines.
FFS CAN WE GET AN EDITOR IN HERE
Wester reports that FCA will be spending around €5 billion on structure, costs attributed to building factories and designing the automobiles. With this heavy influx of resources, and a dedicated ‘skunk works’ group of engineers committed to building the perfect car, free from corporate constraints, Alfa Romeo shows the potential to revolutionize the North American car industry. Germans beware.
The CEO is reporting on Alfa Romeo? That seems odd. Also, again, EDITOR. You meant to say “infrastructure,” not “structure.” The last sentence fragment is very scary, though, and not just because it’s missing a comma. The last time Italians posed this much threat to Germany, Pietro Badoglio was in charge. Look it up, Alex, and you’ll get why that’s funny.
Listen, I don’t blame Mr. Ghorishi for being so terrible. He’s a young guy who likes cars and pitched an idea to somebody who, amazingly, accepted it. No, I blame The Drive for having had every resource in the world available to it, blowing through mountains of cash in less than two years, firing people who could actually write, and resorting to publishing this trash.
It’s no wonder your traffic is about 15% of your competitors’, who operate on a budget about 10% as large as yours. So, as one of your writers might say, The Drive Beware.