It doesn’t exactly take Malcolm Gladwell to predict that when there are four major automotive publications and only two owners, sooner or later there will be two major automotive publications and only two owners.
Two years ago, Road & Track’s southern-California offices were closed, and R&T had to more or less move in with Car and Driver. That was the first shoe. The second one, however, is a serious boot:
There’s been a big shakeup in the world of automotive media today, as Automobile’s parent company, Source Interlink, has shuttered the mag’s Ann Arbor, MI offices. Editor-In-Chief Jean Jennings has been fired, along with most of the publication’s staff. The news was confirmed by Jennings, who called it “business” in a conversation with Jalopnik.
Mike Floyd of Source Interlink-owned Motor Trend will reportedly take the helm at Automobile. Deputy Editor Joe DeMatio is expected to move to a Royal Oak, MI-based Source Interlink advertising office. According to Jennings, a few of the remaining employees will be relocating to Los Angeles, to be closer to Motor Trend.
I suspect this does not mean the actual death of Automobile, at least not yet: Source Interlink is rebranding as The Enthusiast Network, and they haven’t thrown Automobile off their brand-spanking-new Web site.
Still, I expect by 2020 there will be only Car and Driver and Motor Trend — and that at least one of them will have gone digital-only.