As I am sent e-mail reminders to vote for the RMAP car of the year, I go over it and realize that I cannot truthfully, honestly, vote in a way that is fair and balanced. Why? Well, out of the total 54 rides listed, I have only driven 14 of them. That would be like voting for my favorite soda but only trying RC Cola.
Now, some of you might say it's because of scheduling, which I can truly understand and respect that being the nature of the local business. I've been flexible with the fleet management groups in that and feel that is accepted. Others of you might say my publication doesn't rate many of these rides and I just need to accept the good graces, which, well, is utter crap (FactoryTwoFour reached over 2 million unique readers last year, and is already on track to break 5 million unique readers this year, with incredible demographics and documented vehicle purchases due to our reviews, and none of this includes our syndication numbers).
So yes, there are reasons why I may not have received some of these rides, but 73% of them? If I'm not getting these cars, and I am assuming many of the other members of the group aren't receiving these rides, why are they on the list? What parameters are listed for the picking of this list?
For example, the Alfa Romeo 4C, an incredible car, was only delivered to 8 people this year. Why is it on the list? Or the Jaguar F-TYPE R, which was barely in the fleet for a second? Shouldn't we as a group, trying to be taken seriously and seen as a big player, be voting on cars that a majority of us have driven? We have 100 members...we can't include cars that less than 10%, or even 40% of the approved journalists, have driven.
Call me a big mouth all you want, but I think we need to rethink our approach. If we want to be seen as a major player, to make the group appealing to more local writers, and to have manufacturers take us seriously, don't you think we should really do our best to be as professional, as honest, as possible when we make group voted decisions like this?
(FactoryTwoFour reached over 2 million unique readers last year, and is already on track to break 5 million unique readers this year, with incredible demographics and documented vehicle purchases due to our reviews)
After reading Richard's post, I called him and we had a very cordial, serious conversation. It's important to disclose the gist of our conversation with other RMAP members so we're clear. First, voting for the RMAP car/truck/CUV awards were opened up for 2016 after discussion by the board. More models were made eligible for the first phase of nomination voting by the membership. Of course, not all journalists were able to test drive each of the models listed. Our fleet managers submitted lists of vehicles that were in circulation since the last DAS, or participated in the 2015 RMDE.
However, RMAP has no mandate to make sure all members have driven each car, truck or CUV on the list. RMAP is an association of automotive journalists, directed by members who volunteer their time and efforts. We do not act as a labor union, nor do we guarantee worker rights. Depending on each journalist's media outlets and reach, car manufacturers make the decision depending on their own internal media needs and policies to provide test vehicles to journalists.
Having said that, the RMAP board has worked tirelessly to improve the quality and scope of our events over the past year. In particular, RMDE has been reimagined and a full field of the latest CUVs, trucks and cars were available for RMAP members to sample at this premier event. RMAPs involvement at the upcoming DAS is our next major event and we hope will provide more opportunities for RMAP members to interface with car industry professionals to gain insights and develop relationships. Finally, I hope RMAP members will take the opportunity to VOTE on nominating the trucks, cars and CUVs that impressed you over the past year. That voting will end this Friday (2/5/16) and final voting for the RMAP awards from the nomination phase will proceed next week for all paid 2016 RMAP members.