Last week we posted a video of Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter talking about the C7 Corvette while at the C5/C6 Bash at the Corvette Museum. The conversation was prefaced with Juechter discussing the automotive magazines and their misrepresentation of the facts and he specifically called out Automobile Magazine for their June 2010 article in which, according to Tadge, they implied that he was endorsing a V6 power plant for the next generation Corvette. Today we received an email from Automobile Magazine with a link to the article in question as well as their response to Juechter’s criticism.
From Automobile Magazine:
CorvetteBlogger.com recently posted a video of Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter lambasting Automobile Magazine for our story on the next-generation Corvette. Juechter implies that our article was sensationalist and misattributed information to him. Automobile Magazine stands by its story.
It is clear that, in his appearance before the Corvette faithful in Bowling Green on May 1st, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter regretted speaking as freely as he did to our reporter, industry veteran and Corvette owner Don Sherman. Mr. Juechter can spin his comments all he wishes, but a careful reading of our story, which is reprinted here, reveals that 75% of the story consists of verbatim quotes from Mr. Juechter himself. At the end of our piece, Don Sherman prognosticates about the future Corvette; it is crystal clear to the reader that at this point in the story, it’s Don Sherman making educated guesses, not Tadge Juechter speaking. At no point did Don quote Mr. Juechter as definitively stating that a V-6 is in the works for C7, but he did indeed predict that a V-6 is a POSSIBILITY, based partly on Mr. Juechter’s comments that most certainly implied that this is the case. Don also makes it clear that, in his opinion, a V-8 is a certainty for the next Vette, but speculates that it might not be standard equipment.
It is a bit rich that, at this juncture, Mr. Juechter stands in front of a Corvette crowd and says about Automobile Magazine, and about print automotive enthusiast magazines in general: “Don’t believe any of what you read. Most of it will be wrong. They may guess on some things luckily, but most of the time it will be wrong. It can [even] be attributed to me and be totally wrong.” Well, when 75% of the article is verbatim quote from you, Mr. Juechter, is the article 75% wrong?
Mr. Juechter wishes to dismiss the entire category of automotive enthusiast print magazines out of hand. This is a strange approach, given that Automobile Magazine and its competitors play a major role in promoting Corvette enthusiasm, even now when, as Mr. Juechter readily admits, the next-generation Corvette is still years away.
So was this a case of Juechter walking back the comments he made to veteran reporter (and Corvette owner) Don Sherman or was this just an exercise to prepare Corvette owners for a campaign of misinformation waged by both automotive journalists looking for a scoop and the Corvette Team trying to protect the secrecy of the C7 program? Our hunch is that it’s a little of both.
We do agree with Mr. DeMatio that dismissing the entire automotive enthusiast print magazines went too far. After all, in the same seminar at the Museum, Corvette Product Marketing Manager Harlan Charles used magazine coverage from Road & Track, Car and Driver and Motor Trend to tout the successes of the 2010 Corvette.
One other thing came to mind as I was putting this piece together. Although Tadge has been part of the Corvette engineering team for 17 years, the C7 is now his baby and Corvette history will be defined by the decisions he makes in the coming years. The automotive press, in print and online, is going to offer breathless speculation about the C7 regardless of the facts. Tadge can at least lower the signal-to-noise ratio by remaining above the fray.
So take a look at the article entitled “Sneak Peek: 2014 Chevrolet C7 Corvette” at Automobile Magazine and you be the judge.