How Do Automotive Journalists Get Press Cars?
As automotive journalists, our job is to drive new cars and write reviews and other stories about them. We do this so that you, the general public, can make an informed decision when it comes to buying your next car. After all, cars are products like that fancy blender you bought on Black Friday last year. so it makes sense that someone would have to drive and review them.
I have had the pleasure of doing this job for the last two years and have received countless questions from my friends, family and strangers about how I can drive these new cars. that’s how it’s done.
Reading: How to get press cars to review
the car comes from the manufacturer through a press car supplier
doug demuro, a well-known car journalist and youtuber, recently posted a video detailing how car critics get cars from the press. In the video, he explains that auto journalists, or the press, receive press cars through local vendors or by attending press events.
The first is exactly how I get my press cars every week. A press car salesman, who gets his cars from the manufacturer, delivers a new car to my house. This press car dealer houses certain brands of cars in his fleet and then distributes them to journalists in the area.
“the press car company has all the cars. say you’re lexus; All of their Lexus inventory is housed in one warehouse at the Press Car Company warehouse. the press car company also has audi cars; let’s say there is a q5 and a q7. all the cars of the brand are housed in the press car company”, explains demuro.
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“When the automaker wants the press car company to do something with the press car, they call the press car company and ask them to deliver the car to the journalist. They fill up the car with gas and turn on the xm radio to a relaxing song, and then they leave the car.”
how do journalists access these press cars?
If you’re an aspiring automotive journalist who wants to drive press cars, you’ll first need to build a portfolio. there are many journalists who have cut their teeth working for smaller publications that write news or other auto-related articles to work their way up to car reviews.
The same goes for some of the most well-known automotive youtubers. guys like doug demuro or that guy in blue started out checking out other people’s cars or cars from dealerships. eventually, they were able to enter the circulation of the press fleet and review new cars.
I started working on car magazines when they were popular in the early 2000s. This led to working at Kelley Blue Book as an automotive journalist for quite some time before finally landing my current position.
for example, it takes time to get on the press cars. but it’s worth the hard work and the wait if that’s your ultimate goal.
what can we do with the press cars?
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we can review them. As said before, a car is a product. so my job is to familiarize myself with the car and learn the ins and outs to give honest feedback on it. yes, we can say negative things as long as it is fair and balanced. however, to be honest, most cars are so good these days that it’s hard to find anything bad to write about.
10 or 15 years ago, the story was different, when gm made cars like the aveo and the pt cruiser still existed. many automakers have completely upped their game since then, and there are plenty of good things to report about most cars on the market today.
Ultimately, getting and driving press cars is an absolute privilege, and I’m happy to do so every week and report on these cars accordingly. If you want to go into automotive journalism, I suggest you start small and work your way up. a small post could give you a break, or you could start a blog.
Either way, you’ll eventually get into the press cars and, like me, have the joy of having a new one delivered to your house every week, relaxing music and all.
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