Buick Wildcat and Electra concepts, Ford Maverick | Autoblog Podcast #732

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They lead off with a discussion of the news. This section touches on the DeLorean Alpha5, Buick Wildcat EV Concept reveal, revival of the Buick Electra name, production reveal of the Mercedes-AMG One and some scuttle about Volkswagen's recently-bought Scout brand. After that, they move on to the cars they've been driving, including the Ford Maverick and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

After the pair finish with what they've been driving, the podcast transitions to an interview between Greg Migliore and former Car and Driver Editor-in-Chief Eddie Alterman. Finally, Greg and Zac wrap things up with some more spring and summer beer recommendations.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Video Transcript



GREG MIGLIORE: Welcome back to the "Autoblog Podcast." I'm Greg Migliore. We have a great show for you today. We're going to talk about the Ford Maverick, which road test editor, Zac Palmer, has been driving. We'll bring him on in just a minute.

I've been behind the wheel of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the Pinnacle edition. That means you get leather pillows, among other things. It's a very comfortable minivan.

We'll run through some news. We've got a lot of stuff to break down this week. I am very confused as to what year this is. We're going to talk about the DeLorean, the Buick Wildcat, and the Buick Electra.

Is this 1986? Is this 1976? I don't know. Top Gun is number one at the box office. It's really hard to say. But hey, we have a great new section for you.

We're going to also talk about the Mercedes-AMG One, and rethink Volkswagen's plans for the scout. A little bit of blowback this week from some of the dealers. So we'll get into that.

We also have an interview with Eddie Alterman. You know him as the editor-in-chief of Car Driver for over a decade. We're going to catch up with what he's up to these days. It's a podcast called "Car Show." So that'll be coming up later on in the show.

Right now, I'm going to go ahead and bring in Zac Palmer, road test editor. How are you, man?

ZAC PALMER: Oh, I'm good. I'm just recovering from falling off of a jet ski over the Memorial Day weekend, right around 60, 65 miles an hour. Hopefully, you guys didn't do the same. Because I can tell you, it definitely doesn't feel good. But beyond that, I'm doing great.


GREG MIGLIORE: That sounds great. That is one way to kick off summer is a full body injury at 65 miles an hour.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. No kidding.

GREG MIGLIORE: Not the best way.

ZAC PALMER: No. No. I mean, it's definitely not the best way. It was my first time on a jet ski. So you know, go hard or go home, right?

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I mean, that's-- I would say, any future experiences on a jet ski will have to go better than that, right? I mean--


GREG MIGLIORE: --how can they not? I mean--

ZAC PALMER: Yes. Absolutely. And maybe, I'll be on one with less than 300 horsepower that has a supercharged four cylinder engine. Those things are nuts.


GREG MIGLIORE: That sounds like some special edition Porsche or something. So--

ZAC PALMER: Oh, my God.

GREG MIGLIORE: I'm impressed. I'm impressed. Cool. Well, I feel actually pretty good right now. So we might as well get into the show. I feel fully healthy. Knock on wood. And got a great news sections. So we'll start off with that.

The DeLorean is back. Pictures are pretty wild. We saw a lot of-- we got some of the information this week. We expect to hear more about this later on in the summer.

Our subhead, I think, says it all. This is not back to the future. This is just the future. I think it looks gorgeous.

This is actually a separate operation from the DeLorean company that we know that's sort of restoring the old DeLoreans. But hey, we'll lead off with this. If there's one thing we found about our "Autoblog" readers, it's that you guys love the DeLorean. What do you think of this new DeLorean, Zac?

ZAC PALMER: Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what I think of it yet. I mean, the design is by-- it held design here, which is traditionally, you know, a very, very good, prestigious design maker. And, you know, it has the gullwing doors. That's very cool.

I'm just curious to see what they're really going to do to make this a unique and intriguing electric car prospect out there. You know, it's neat that there's going to be something called DeLorean available. You know, 0 to 60 in, you know, right around three seconds or so. Sounds like it's going to be a very high performance EV.

But I'm just going to go ahead and reserve, like, massive excitement to actually see this thing on the road. There are so many EV startups out there right now, I feel. And this is yet another one that has promised a lot of really, really great things. And you know, if they do come to production as this, then maybe, it will be really, really great.

But you know, we've seen even with Rivian, who's been a very, very promising brand new company, you know. They've struggled a lot. So I'm just going to go ahead and temper my excitement for now.

Looks neat. Looks pretty good if they can actually make it. But I'm just going to go ahead and reserve that judgment for now. I don't know. What do you think?

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Well, I mean, in the looks department, it looks great. I mean, that was never a problem with the original one either, for that matter.

Giugiaro and its predecessors actually did both cars. So I mean, I think it definitely is, sort of, the head turning appeal.

To your point, Lucid, Rivian, a number of startup EV makers have struggled. You know, even once that, sort of, appear to get out of the gates, you know, a little more smoothly than some of the other ones, they usually do stumble. You know, I mean, I'll call it almost like, you know, the Fisker stumble, you know, is a great example.

You know, 10 years ago, they had a great looking car. And then they had all sorts of bad luck. And you know, away went Fisker 1.0. And now we're on the Fisker 2.0, which is a totally different company with what appears to be a little bit of a stronger business plan.

Will the same fate await these guys? We'll see. But yeah, I mean, we're going to see the car, we think, at Pebble Beach, Monterey Car Week, which is a great place to see a car. It's actually called the Alpha5.

So DeLorean is more of almost like the brand, which, you know, I guess, the old DMC-12 was the specific model. But you know, they're aiming, kind of, high here. So we'll see.

I watched a couple of the documentaries involving DeLorean--


GREG MIGLIORE: --this winter. They were pretty good, right? You know, the one with Alec Baldwin was good. The other one-- the other one was pretty good. So I mean, it's-- there's definitely some heritage there.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. You know, having the name DeLorean, I don't know if it's a curse. If it's, you know, great for SEO, if it's, you know, just-- it certainly gets to, like, all of the attention, you know, versus something like the Aspark Owl or any number of other EV startups and whatnot out there.

Because this one is not really related at all to the John DeLorean that was before. They have the IP, which is probably good for them getting their name out there. Because hey, here we are, talking about them. And yeah. I mean, it's just sort of a wait and see thing with them, I think.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting too when you can resurrect the brand, like, you know, Shinola watches. Abercrombie had a run of it back in the '90s and 2000s on the retail side. I think Filson is another example in the retail side. I'm not sure if they actually went away or not.

But I mean, we've seen some successes where you bring back a name, sort of, bring back the history, even though there's no real connection. And then, you know, you kind of make the connection, which I think can work, you know. As long as there's some level of, like, familiarity, you know, you can almost make up the rest, for lack of a better way to put it.

I remember I interviewed a-- I forget who it was. It was an Infinity designer, I think, a few years ago. And I was asking them, hey, why are you guys doing all these retro roadster concepts and stuff like that from the '30s?

And they're like, well, you know, we weren't around back then. But, you know, why not make up our own history? And I say, hey, that's not a bad idea. If you're going to be on the lawn at Pebble with Mercedes Bugatti-- Bugatti is another example of a brand that came back from the dead. You know, you kind of got to elevate that. So--

ZAC PALMER: One thing that does intrigue me with them is that they're claiming that they're going to do multiple different types of propulsion systems for cars. So this one's an EV, the-- whatever, Alpha5. But they're claiming that they're going to have one that is just an internal combustion V8. They're claiming they're going to do one that's hydrogen.

So I don't know. I mean, I think that the chances they may be putting one that has a V8, and it's on the road are a lot higher than perhaps, a fully electric one. But it's just interesting that they're not going like a full EV brand like this. They're dipping their toe into each and every possible scenario.

I think that the hydrogen one is probably the least likely of all. But--

GREG MIGLIORE: Good luck with that one.

ZAC PALMER: --it's interesting, nonetheless. So--

GREG MIGLIORE: Yes. Sounds good. I mean, that's not the only thing that has come back seemingly from the dead this week. The Buick Wildcat EV concept revealed June 1st-- nice way to kick off the month-- drop dead gorgeous looking concept.

Unlike some of these other brands, Buick has been around for 110 plus years. And can, you know, really train on its history. This is essentially-- here's how I would break it down. The Wildcat is like the Halo, the attention getter, to launch their real Foray into electric vehicles in earnest.

It's to get us to click on it. To get us to write about it. To get random person on the street to say, hey, that's a Buick. We'll go there. Right?

It was trending on Google Trends yesterday. So they did something right. But the real play is they're going to have a lineup of electrons to signify what the electric versions of the Buicks are, which will be most of them, eventually.

So I'm impressed. I think, you know, it makes a lot of sense for Buick to really pick up some of General Motors expertise in the segment. GM has done quite a few things right in recent years.

One of the things we always tend to look at is chassis engineering. How well their cars are tuned. Large trucks, SUVs are another. But I really think electric vehicles are the thing that they're going to really be able to their head on with this Ultium technology.

And I mean, this could really be something for Buick. I think if they can get it right, make these cars feel special, I think design could be a huge part of it for Buick. I think they could get some momentum here. So--

And then we did see, just today, a concept. It was actually an electric concept, specifically wearing the badge was revealed for the China market, which could, you know, create some buzz for Buick's global portfolio. And Buick is, of course, very strong in China.

So I think this is a good first step for them. I really do.

ZAC PALMER: Hey, it's-- I love it when Buick goes all out on a design of a really really cool car. I know that our news editor, Joel Stocksdale, right off the top for the story, mentioned the Buick Avista.


ZAC PALMER: Because-- I mean, that is one concept that has really stuck with me. I remember seeing that at the Detroit Auto Show probably like 2017, 2018. And that thing was gorgeous.

It was Chevy Camaro based but with a beautiful Buick made coupe body over it. And I was like, Wow. Buick needs to make this. This is the coolest thing that has come from Buick in decades.

And then of course, nothing ended up happening, which was pretty disappointing. Because nobody really expected all that much to happen from Buick as as the brand they were then.

And here we are again in 2022, Buick has made one of the prettiest electric coupe concepts out there. You know, I'd put it on the same stage as to say like the Genesis X or the Genesis Speedium concepts. Just utterly gorgeous electric coupes that are so intricately designed. And yeah.

But like you were saying off the top, the chances of this being made are probably around zero. I know I was chatting with Joel. He said that he had actually asked Buick like, hey, you guys are going to make something that looks like this.

They told him-- they didn't say no, but also didn't say yes, which is, you know, for-- the chances of something of this crazy caliber of a car actually making it to production for Buick is, I'd say, low right now.

But our little treat will be perhaps, some design elements of this making it on to actual Buick production cars, which, like you mentioned, the Buick Electra-X that we saw today out of China. That's probably, more or less, the kind of vehicle that we'll end up having Wildcat-like looks to it.

You know, they'll take the taillights. They'll take the grille. They'll take the mirrors. They'll take some of the interior bits.

So probably going to see Wildcat-like looking things on SUVs one day. And probably, electric too. So beautiful thing to look at now. I just don't know that it'll translate to what we all want it to translate to one day.

GREG MIGLIORE: The Avesta was one of Ed Welburn's final designs at General Motors before he retired. Buick also had the Avenir concept, which actually, I believe, right around that same time too. Before-- I think, actually, maybe right after. And then they did end up using the Avenir is like a trim level on across their lineup, which I think was a good move.

I do think, if there ever is a shift back to cars, Buick could be a brand that could capitalize on that. Because I don't think you ever really associate Buick with SUVs. They have a lot of crossovers. They have sort of a sibling stablemate, GMC.

There's never going to be, I think, a time where we're like Buick. Crossovers, SUVs, that's their identity. I think they do it because they have to, and they're actually pretty good at a number of their offerings. But I do think, you know, having good concepts, having stylish vehicles, bring back actual names for cars, good move.

Again, a lot of this is, you know, more like theoretical, almost, at this point. But I mean, I think it could work.

ZAC PALMER: The electro name is genius, and probably, the most obvious thing to bring back ever. Like what's-- what would they literally have, like the best name in the history of names for electric cars to be, to have--

GREG MIGLIORE: It's perfect.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. To have an electric brand. And I hope that they use it like Hyundai is planning on using Ioniq. Just have an Electra 3, an Electra 4, or maybe like an Electra 289, or something weird like that. I don't know.

GREG MIGLIORE: It is absolutely perfect. I cannot think of a better name for an electric car. Short of calling it the electric, which wouldn't even-- you know what I mean? Like it's-- and there is some brand recognition. I think enough people will think Electra, car, you know. Like there's--

Even though they haven't used it since, I want to say, 1990. And it was a variety of things. Usually, a large sedan for the better course of 30 years.

But I mean, it's absolutely perfect. It's even better, I think, than Ioniq or Lightning. Because those are the things that go into making electricity. This is literally save for a couple of work-- a couple of letters. It's Electra. So--

ZAC PALMER: Pretty excited.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think, hey, throw the Wildcat on something too. There's-- that's just--

ZAC PALMER: That'd be cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: --a good name, even though they haven't used it in 50 years. And most people who remember it are probably no longer with us. But hey, it's a good name.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. And one last thing I'll point out in that Electra-X SUV concept from China is they actually mentioned the GS in there as well, indicating that there would be GS performance electric cars one day.

So that's something that I don't know that I've seen before. But perhaps, we'll have an Electra-- maybe like an Electra 3 GS. Sounds interesting to me. Because the last-- And obviously, Buick has a long history of GS things.

But even their last GTS products here, with the-- God, what was it? The sport back that they had.


ZAC PALMER: The Regal Sportback. That was a fun little thing. And so yeah, it'd be really cool if they bring back the GS name for some electric sporty cars. Not necessarily sports cars, but maybe like a sedan that is, you know, like an SS version. But it'll be a GS.

GREG MIGLIORE: They use GS for a lot of years. Sometimes, they called it specifically a Grand Sport. Sometimes, they didn't. It was more just like the GS badging. Either way, I think it would work.

Buick has a lot of great names. And I think, you know, like Lincoln, you're seeing brands that have heritage. They're not shying away from it anymore. They're trying to embrace it, and know that it sure seems like every car is named the AL4 or the 5X3. And nobody knows what that is.

Toyota's hybrid, the bZ4X, is almost comical. But it's also like-- I mean, that's what people think of. You know what I mean?

So yeah. I mean, the only brands that I think really get that rate are Mercedes and BMW, with e-class and three series and things like that, where people know what the numbers and letters mean. Everybody else, it's just confusing at times. So good for Buick. Good for Buick.

Speaking of Mercedes, we have the one. It's finally here. It's a race car. It's over 1,000 horsepowers-- over 1,000 horsepower. I don't believe it will be legal to drive in the United States.

Basically, like an F1 car that looks like an endurance racer, has the most spectacular wheels I've ever seen in pictures. This is kind of a cool thing.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. It's kind of a crazy thing that, you know, it is actually here, existing. It's going to be produced. I know that it's coming to us probably like three or four years after Mercedes actually promised that it would arrive.

But it turns out that putting an actual Formula One engine at 1.6 liter turbocharged V6 into a production car, making it emissions compliant and actually drivable on the roads is difficult. Who would have ever thought that?

But thankfully, it is finally here. And now it is honestly, probably like one of the-- going to go down as one of the coolest projects ever taken on frankly by any sort of a manufacturer. Nobody has literally removed an engine from a Formula One car, and put it into a production car. And said, yeah, you can buy this thing and drive it on public roads. But here it is.

So just for that reason alone, yeah, it's a nutty technological masterpiece that is probably something that we may never see again as-- because well, everybody's seen how-- everybody has seen how difficult the project is. And Mercedes is probably one of the most sensical people to take that on, just because they've had so much success with this particular era of F1. So go ahead and celebrate that. And a production car is way, way cool.

GREG MIGLIORE: This reminds me a little bit of the Jaguar XJ220 from the mid '90s, as far as just super aggressive, crazy, you know, super limited run. Just a really aggressive play.

Yeah. This looks awesome. I hope someday, I'll be on a press trip, maybe like in the South of France or the South of Germany. Be like, hey, we have the one here. You could drive it. You're going to get 10 minutes in it. And you've got to sign everything. Don't break it.

But I would love to drive this thing just once. [INAUDIBLE]

ZAC PALMER: I know. I know. You know, the actual driving experience, I really have no idea what to expect. You know, the Zoda 62 time is, you know, it's fast but it's nothing crazy at just 2.9 seconds.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's a crazy sentence.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I know, right. I mean, the fact is there are so many supercars that are significantly quicker than that. You can go out and buy a 911 Turbo S for 250 grand, that'll do it. And I think two three.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Exactly.

ZAC PALMER: Or you can buy this $2.75 million creation from Mercedes AMG, that's 6/10 of a second slower. You know, it's heavy because it's a plug-in hybrid, 3700 pounds.

And I'm just really curious to see what kind of lap times it can actually put down. Because maybe, that's where all of the performance is in. It's obviously F1 derived. Perhaps, Mercedes hasn't cared all that much about the 0 to 60 times. And they're just all about getting that peak lap time.

Maybe they'll do a Nurburgring try. If it is the fastest around the Nurburgring or if it's close to the fastest, maybe they'll let us know. If it's not, then just mark it down as one of the craziest, wildest projects that is unbelievably cool out there.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Something a little bit more realistic and mainstream. Volkswagen announced a couple of weeks ago that they're going to bring back the Scout. This is kind of a-- this is an electric version of their iconic off-roader.

We thought it looked cool, but we're also kind of skeptical. Joel and I-- news editor Joel Stocksdale and I on the podcast, suggested this might be the first rough and tough off-roader that maybe isn't an overwhelming success. Like we've seen with the Bronco's return. Of course, the Wrangler's endurance. And just again, the 4Runner's endurance too, and the G-class', you know, immortality.

Our thought was maybe they're-- it's not that there's not room for it, but maybe this one just doesn't quite have the awareness. You've got to be pretty old to remember the International Harvester Scout. And in its own right, people generally would see the silhouette, and think it was a Bronco or maybe a Jeep.

I don't want to be pessimistic because in my mind, all cars are cool. Things with the retro theme, rough and tough off-roader that's electric, hey, sign me up for that. That sounds pretty good, actually.

But this is a story that clicked pretty well for us this week. There was a lot of interest. Dealers are basically like, what are you guys doing? Wait a minute. Hang on. Let's hit Pause here.

So to me, this is just like the first kind of, you know, signpost. It's tougher to do these things than you might think, especially when you're really in this case. Even for Volkswagen, doing it from the ground up. So we could see some heartburn here, I think.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I mean, I understand, you know, why the dealers might be a little upset is because it looks like Volkswagen wants to do direct to consumer sales, and just cut the dealers out, which is a pretty common practice now that we've seen Tesla do it, and we see Polestar try to do that. And manufacturers try and do a lot more online these days.

So I could see that Volkswagen dealers could be a little cheesed that, you know, they've asked for a rough and tough off-roader pickup truck, something like that, for a while. And now Volkswagen is doing that with the Scout brand. But hey, just kidding. Actually, you dealers are not going to be part of this at all.

But at the same time, I think that by and large, a lot of people have very little sympathy for dealers these days, with a lot of the markups that we've been seeing on a lot of cars. I'm sure that folks out there that have been looking at GTIs and Golf Rs have been faced with the same things as a lot of people looking for other performance cars.

So you know, you can understand it from the dealer side being like, well, we've asked for this. Now you guys are building it. And you're not giving it to us.

But at the same time, I could also see Volkswagen being like, well, we don't want-- like, when we give this to you, we don't want you guys charging $10,000, $15,000 over MSRP for it, which at the current-- if-- at this current market, lasts for-- I don't know, who knows how long would be the eventuality, I'm sure, with something like this. Because it's what we've seen with the Bronco. And it's certainly what we've seen with G-Wagons too as the supply is just low.

So yeah. Tough going right now. I don't know if Volkswagen has any-- it's just a tough place for them to be in right now, I think.

GREG MIGLIORE: I think it's interesting too, your point. There's not a lot of appetite for sympathy for dealers just in general over the years. I don't think people enjoy buying a car most of the time. I think people don't understand why the process has to be like a negotiation. They just want to buy their car, you know.

There's some things in life you can negotiate for. But I don't think people necessarily want their car to be one of them anymore. I know dealers will say, hey, if you come in and you can negotiate, you get yourself a better deal. Well, I think there's a lot of people that say to themselves, I don't want to go in and have a negotiation, which is code word for conflict or fight when they're buying something that's supposed to be fun.

Not trying to give dealers a bad rap here, because that's not how it is in every circumstance, by any means. But that's how people feel. And if you can just say, hey, I could get my electric Scout online for $36,000. And I can spec it out and be excited about it, and that's the process, people are going to like that. You know, that's how you change consumer behavior.

Jim Farley of Ford just said the other day that he's expecting a lot of their electric portfolio will be available online for a one price model. And I mean, these guys aren't wrong. This is how people shop. If anything, during the pandemic, you can order literally anything online. And it will arrive hours later.

People don't want to, you know, use their car buying, you know, purchasing, and decision making in that way. So I think-- you know, I think Volkswagen is on to something here.

I think if you did-- in some of their strategy, I think that we're seeing articulated in coming to light almost through the dealer pushback is that this could be almost like a little more of an independent model, you know, versus being just like another car in the VW lineup, another SUV in the VW lineup. It's like, no this is more of like a brand that they want to launch.

And I mean, I think Volkswagen is on the right path here. We'll see if they can, you know, fill in the blanks and make it work. But yeah. I mean, I think from a product perspective, they probably will get it right. I'm not super concerned about that. But getting a brand up and running in the US is always tricky.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. Honestly, I see it as a little bit the same as Volvo and Polestar. You know, obviously, Polestar is very much entrenched with Volvo. But you don't go buy a Polestar at a Volvo dealer. You order one online. But you go to one of the Polestar spaces and order one there.

And Volvo really doesn't have much to do with it. Their entire dealer network is just separate. And I could see that Volvo dealers might not be as mad about that because well, there are also Volvo electric cars coming that are very similar to the Polestar's, and also quite desirable.

Volkswagen dealers, on the other hand, well, they're just flat out not going to get these cars. And they're not going to get equivalent to that or anything like them, probably.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. And Volkswagen dealers are a little probably closer to traditional domestics, like Ford, General Motors, and Toyota, and Honda, as far as being very mainstream. It's a car dealer.

I think a Volvo dealership, even though they're often just a sign in among different premium brands, there's a little more, I think, you know, similar feel between Polestar and say, Volvo, then you might see between a Scout and Volkswagen.

But yeah. I mean, we're veering into automotive news territory with all these dealer talk.

ZAC PALMER: Indeed, we are.

GREG MIGLIORE: You just drove the Ford Maverick. I've driven it multiple times. it's been one of my-- I'd say, bigger surprises of the last year or so as far as a vehicle I've enjoyed.

I'll toss it over to you. But this is a thought that just came to me when I was driving-- let's see, what was I driving? I was driving driving the Kia EV6.

But I saw somebody in a Ranger cut in front of me. And it was a big truck. And I like the Ranger. It's not at all the best in segment at this point anymore, if it ever was. But it's a fun gounty bouncy. Almost old school experience.

It comes from Ford's Australian division. It's very much like Tacoma, Colorado rough and tough truck. And it's also quite big. It's smaller than an F-150. But just in truck world, it's a pretty large truck. You know, it's as big as the F-150 was a few generations ago.

When it launched, I think some of us thought, hey, this might be something a little different than the F-150. Ford sure tried to pitch it that way. Wisely, at the time. But it really wasn't. It's like a smaller truck that's a truck.

The Maverick, you can make it a truck. But I think it's also a little more clever than the Ranger ever attempted to be.

It offers you something different. You can drive it more circumstances. It's far more parkable and garageable.

These are the things that people said the Ranger would be. But let's be real, you've got to have a pretty big garage you get a Ranger in it, you know.

The Maverick, you know, this is really the Ford Focus replacement. It's a C-segment vehicle. And it's a lot of fun. My take, you know. What do you think?

ZAC PALMER: I completely agree. Honestly, I had way more fun driving this thing around than I thought I was going to have.

The one that I had was the EcoBoost. So the two liter turbo. And this thing positively scoots. I was not expecting it to be as quick as it was.

But that, combined with it being so small and just generally agile for a pickup, it's like when you're driving something that has a big bed behind you, you don't expect it to be, you know, agile and fun to toss around. But this thing, it genuinely was.

And I could see myself driving this on a daily basis. And, you know, being genuinely entertained by the driving experience. It's not like a big full sized truck or even a Ranger that can be a bit of a chore to drive around.

This thing fits in lanes. Like you said, it fits wherever you want to park it. Has a relatively tight turning circle.

And the other thing is it's cheap. The one that I drove was pretty nicely equipped. It was under $30,000. It was 29 grand.

And it had this really, really sweet interior that was like a tricolor thing. It was blue, a whitish gray with orange accents. And had some really neat fabric going on in the seats, some interesting design across the dash. Just a whole lot of different material shapes. And just very, very functional, but also interesting looking interior.

So I was genuinely really impressed by what they were able to do at this price point. Even with the two liter turbo. I think that the XLT trim is a fantastic way to go. And just the general usability of the truck.

So I went and I did some lawn work. So I had to go pick up some lawn bags, some planting, some seeds, and whatnot.

And, you know, when I went to grab it out of the truck when I got home, I don't even have to drop the gate. I just stand right there, I reach in. Because the bed is literally right there. You just grab whatever you need out of it. It's just the most usable, easy to deal with thing out there.

And yeah. Honestly, it makes me think like, why has somebody not done this before now? This truck is so smart. And it'll work for so many people's lifestyles, I feel, that it's like Ford really found something smart here.

And I-- and it really makes me want to try out the hybrid. Because I know with the EcoBoost-- and I wasn't getting the greatest fuel economy. I mean, I was getting about like 22, 23. And that was probably mostly because I was having too much fun hitting the gas pedal.

But man, I have seen so many other's quote, you know, 40-plus MPG with a hybrid. And it's still-- I'm sure it's the same fun to toss left and right. Super lightweight truck as the EcoBoost was.

So yeah. This thing really, really impressed me more than I thought it was going to.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I think it's getting some daylight between the-- the Maverick is between itself and the Santa Cruz from Hyundai. They both launched about the same time.

Naturally, we compared them to each other. The Maverick has a hybrid. The Santa Cruz, we're pretty sure, is going to get one.

The Santa Cruz became more of a style play than Maverick is pitching itself as basically, more of a Ford truck, which it should do right. That makes the most sense.

I mean, sales have not been super close. Mavericks have just been really good. And the Santa Cruz's have just been very solid.

But I mean, you know, I drove one. I remember it was Halloween. And we were able to use some of those external plugs to put in some lights. And we did a little tailgate in our driveway, actually. And just sat there and passed out candy.

And to me, it's a clever truck. The bed is clever. You know, it still looks pretty good too. It stands out. It's-- it has that blocky look to it.

I was-- I had one-- I was using it for preschool drop off last fall. And some guy came up to me and was like-- and granted, you know, we could drive some cool cars. The Ford truck didn't seem like the thing that would stand out.

Guy was all over it, wanting to look in the bed, look at the different compartments. And I'm like, sure, man. Check it out. He's like, I ordered one. I wasn't sure if I wanted one. But now, I see one.

And I couldn't believe how much attention I would get whenever I drove the Maverick, the few times I did drive it last fall. The-- I drove it a few times. I actually got a fair amount of see time.

And then he went ahead and bought one. And I saw him the other day. And was-- seems to be loving it. So I do think they came in aggressively with the price points here. And I think it's definitely a-- it makes a lot of sense.

It's the strategy that didn't make sense, like six, seven years ago when they're like, we're going to kill the Focus. We're going to kill the Fusion. We're bringing in the small truck thing that we're not going to tell you about it but we're going to do it.

We already have the Ranger coming. And nobody really understands what you're going to do. We're going to announce it on an earnings call. It just didn't make sense.

But now that you see the actual product, you could drive it, I really think it's brilliant. It's a really-- one of the more well thought out executions that I think Ford has done in recent years. They've had a number of hits.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I mean, I generally understand why everybody wants one of these. Why it's so hard to get one. Why Ford dealers want to charge people a lot more than MSRP for it.

Unfortunately, it does really kill the proposition to me, paying more than MSRP for this thing. Because it feels like that's the point of the truck, is it's meant to be super cheap.

And for the actual price, I think that it is a hell of a truck, if you can find one. Just get whichever one suits your needs.

The EcoBoost is quick. Sounds decent. You even get a little bit of turbo noise. And man, but if you're just using it as a commuter, I feel like the hybrid is just unbeatable. I mean, even versus hybrid cars, the miles per gallon is nuts for the utility you get for it.

GREG MIGLIORE: Very solid vehicle. And yeah. I mean, it's one of those things where you look at some of the different segments Ford has tried to get into in recent years. It makes me think, hey, Jim Farley was tweeting about the Puma maybe a year or so ago.

See what they could do with that. That might be a fun little thing to bring to the US.

ZAC PALMER: Give us the Puma. Give us the Puma ST. I actually want-- one thing I was thinking of after driving this Maverick ST, I was like, give us some Maverick ST. Give us--

GREG MIGLIORE: That'll be interesting.

ZAC PALMER: --a sport truck. A small thing. Obviously, Escape, Bronco Sport based. I think they could genuinely put together something that's fun to drive.

And they have the Heritage in the SVT Lightning's. I think it would be really, really cool.

Was there a massive market for such a thing? Probably not. But I think it's it's definitely a possibility that Ford could go after, just because it is genuinely cool and interesting to drive even as is.

GREG MIGLIORE: So let's talk about the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. This is the Pinnacle edition. I am just wrapping up a week with it. It was very nice. Very-- basically, the top of the food chain for the Chrysler Pacifica lineup.

Man, the cars we're talking about in this podcast, like DeLorean, Wildcat, Electra, Pacifica, it's just-- Maverick, it's crazy, man. It's--

ZAC PALMER: No kidding.

GREG MIGLIORE: But I like it. it's a great thing. So I mean, I enjoyed my week with it. Put a lot of miles on it.

It's nice that-- one thing I like about the hybrid is even when you've run the charge down, you still get a little bit of that. You can regen some electricity through your braking. You can still get a little bit of a take off, if you will.

You're surprisingly quick from stoplights in your minivan, which I think is a neat thing. People don't expect that. You get a little bit of an extra-- it's almost like KERS in Formula One. I'll go there.


From minivan to KERS.


GREG MIGLIORE: Right. Yeah. It's cool, man. Have you driven the Pacifica lately?

ZAC PALMER: Man, the last one I drove was actually pre-refresh.


ZAC PALMER: But the question that I'm interested is, did you utilize those pillows?


ZAC PALMER: Those pillows are so cool. I remember seeing them at the Chicago Auto Show when they revealed this mid-cycle refresh for the Pacifica with that Pinnacle trim. And I was like, pillows in a Pacifica Hybrid. Wow. This is like Maybach levels of luxury back here in the back seat when you go and toss a quilted pillow back there.

GREG MIGLIORE: Next time, they'll have to put the silver flutes in there, I guess, right, from Maybach?

ZAC PALMER: No. I mean, obviously, Chrysler, the lap of luxury. They should have silver plated flutes for them as well, right?




GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I mean, why not? It's interesting you bring that up, though. I mean, just because it's expensive does not necessarily mean it's that much better.

Once you cross a certain threshold, anywhere from over $80,000, maybe $100,000, it's like, OK. I've driven some amazing cars that are in the $200,000 range and above.

You get to a certain point where you're like, yeah this is opulent. But also, do you really notice if this rare sourced wood is that much better than, you know, the wood in an $80,000, say, Mercedes or something?

So to me, that underscores just-- Chrysler could be luxurious. They could be premium. They want to put leather pillows in their car.

Well, the pillows aren't that expensive. You could get them from a leather goods store for maybe a couple hundred bucks. And it creates the aura of luxury.

So yeah, I did use them. My kid use them. My dog put her head on them. I mean, the pillows. So therefore, it's a beautiful interior. It's like a burnt orange color.

ZAC PALMER: Oh, yeah. Yeah. I've seen that one before.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. So solid vehicle. And it's-- again, I-- this always scores well in our minivan ratings. I know at times, we've given the Sienna hybrid a little bit of a betting edge.

I think that's very subjective. You know, you might say that the all electric situation is better for you. The downside that we have noted is once you exhaust the electrical range, which is about 30 miles, you're just driving around with the Chrysler Pentastar V6 with a bunch of batteries. So that's not so good for fuel economy.

But you know, it depends on your lifestyle. If you want to plug-in hybrid, I mean, this is still one of the relatively few plug-in hybrids. There's more and more every day. But it's a little bit surreal that, you know, a Pacifica Hybrid minivan is one of the better plug-in choices you could get on the market.

It's hugely functional. Doors can open six different ways or more. Ton of room in the back. Super comfortable for a family, that's for sure.

ZAC PALMER: No, I really, really loved the hybrid. I know we had that long term. Or now it's probably been like four years since we had that. But no, we had that one.

And it was, you know, I would go out with friends with it and whatnot. And I'd be talking this minivan up. And they'd be like, hey, bro, why are you talking this minivan up so much. It's a minivan. I'm like, no, it's genuinely cool. This is one of the only plug-in hybrids that were out there at the time.

And it was actually a really, really good plug-in hybrid. And it still is today. 30 miles of electric range is really fantastic. And there still isn't another plug-in hybrid minivan available today.

And there have been new ones. Obviously, Toyota went just pure hybrid. No plug-in capability. The Kia Carnival, gas only. I highly doubt that Honda, with whatever next Odyssey we get, will be plug-in hybrid. That will probably just be a standard hybrid.

So yeah, it's just a unique proposition that has genuinely aged well, I think. So I'm glad to hear that you still like it, because I have lots of fun memories of that minivan.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. It's interesting that we're even speaking of this as like an aged proposition. Because they were among the first of the market, you know, as far as getting the minivan sector in general, but also electrifying it. And then they've stayed there.

So I think it's still-- when I talk to a lot of people at a variety of ages and price points, they can enjoy the vehicle for its merits, its comfort, its premium feel. Or they're just like, you know, once you hit 30 and have kids, and you just see how much easier this tool is for parenting, it's hard not to be like, I want this or another kind of minivan.

And I mean, I think there's still tax credits out there for this thing. So--

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. I think so.

GREG MIGLIORE: --you can get a deal on it, you know.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah. It's honestly, probably not much more expensive than the gas version, if you're looking at just the plain V6 versus the hybrid. I'd go hybrid every day.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. No, me too. Me too. All right. So let's transition over to my conversation with former "Car And Driver" editor-in-chief, Eddie Alterman.

He has a new podcast called "Car Show!" Basically, he breaks down certain vehicles that have had, you know, a deep resonance on our culture and how we interact with them and drive. Things like the Jeep Wrangler, the BMW M5, things like that.

And I talked to him just about what he's driving, you know. What it's like in the car business-- the car magazine business? Let's have a listen.

Joining us now is Eddie Alterman. He's the former editor-in-chief of "Car And Driver" for over a decade. I'm sure you've read his work over the years.

He's now the host of a podcast aptly named "Car Show!" This is by Pushkin Industries with Malcolm Gladwell. Welcome, Eddie.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Thanks, Greg. Great to see you.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Yeah. Thanks for coming on the "Autoblog Podcast." It's always fun to talk cars.

Your podcast is a number of cars that are very near and dear to my heart. Things that I really, you know, growing up was interested in. I've been able to drive some of them throughout my career. And just-- it's really an interesting take on-- thematically, on some of the things that perhaps, people haven't necessarily thought about in a little bit.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Yeah. Thank you, Greg. And you know, the show is imaginatively titled "Car Show!" We got to that after many working titles.

The first working title was "Cars That Change The World" or "50 Cars That Changed The World." And then we went through one called Cars Are-- "Cars Are Interesting." And it just-- it-- all of those seemed like a little too clumsy or too cute.

"Car Show!" was actually out there. I can't believe that. So good for SEO and all that.

But the idea really is-- as you said-- is to look at cars from a slightly different angle, and not to think about them as just in terms of their mechanical attributes. But the impact that they've had on our lives and our culture. And why we gravitate towards some of them? Why some of them become really important as cultural touchstones?

And you know, throughout my career, I've been reviewing cars. I've been reviewing cars since I was 19 years old. And you know, it's all I've ever wanted to do.

But there is another aspect that we don't talk about so much. But it's really a very, very important thing about why we're so bonded to certain machines.

And that is, you know, what they say about us. We always say a car driver, if cars weren't emotional purchases, people would be driving beige minivans, you know.

I mean, I might drive a beige minivan out of, you know, pure choice, because I think minivans are great. But, you know, they really are important to how we confront the world, and what we say to the world with our choices. And that's not just-- I mean, Prius is a great example of that. EVs are a great example of that kind of virtue signaling for a lot of people.

But you know, we talk about this in the Jeep episode. We go fairly deep into the first episode, which is on the Jeep Wrangler. You know, why are people so obsessed with these things?

You know, Jeep has been through, I think, nine corporate custodians. And it emerges stronger every time, you know. It just eats its host. And Jeep survives where its parent corporations sometimes don't.

And what is it about the Jeep that is so lasting, it's so enduring? And what is this idea that makes it really so valuable to people?

I mean, it's not because it's so refined. In fact, I might argue the opposite. It's that it's so old school and feels so old. And so it's so vivid in experience. And that experience really ties us back.

And this is the point I make in the podcast. That experience ties us back to World War II. And Jeep, you know, reinforces that with everything in the vehicle itself, you know.

Those little army Jeeps crawling up-- the graphic of the army Jeep crawling up the windshield. And when you start it, it says since 1941. And you know, the stencils and stars and the olive drab greens, those are all real very, very serious reminders of, you know, what that vehicle meant.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting too when you look at the different subject matters you've chosen. The M5, so far, the 928, the-- and of course, the Wrangler.

What I found interesting is there's a back story that the average person may or may not know about. I didn't realize the 928, it was so like really, the thing that was supposed to take over the 911.

I mean, I knew that. But then you find out that there were all these little cuts along the way where it's like, no, no. Really, the plan was to get rid of the 911 at 1981 or something, right?


GREG MIGLIORE: So talk about alternate histories, right?

EDDIE ALTERMAN: I know. It's crazy. And you know, it's funny because Porsche is seen as a one car company or seen for a very very long time as a one car company. But its core, you know, value is experimentation. I mean, they are racers and they try stuff all the time.

And you've been to the museum in Zuffenhausen, right, Greg?

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. It's pretty amazing.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Yeah, right? Four door 928s, four door 911s. All those great 917 and 956 and 962 race cars. The 953s, the 959 Paris-Dakar. You know, they're just working every single angle with not a huge amount of resources.

And the 928 was their attempt to really branch out, to carry some of the essence of the 911. You the, visual essence of the 911 into the modern era. And compete really-- you know, compete more closely with Mercedes and BMW.

And after all that time, you know, and all that work, and really, the 928 was the first Porsche, not somehow based on a VW. It was totally all new. You know, all new water cooled VA upfront. New rear axle, new everything.

It turned out that people wanted the old stuff, you know. And people were-- you know, they felt a little bit betrayed that it was a car that was coming to stop the progress of the 911.

And there are good reasons for that. You know, the 911 was very retrograde. And it was up against a ton of regulations that nobody thought it could meet. But it's funny about regulations in the car business, you know.

The people at these companies are so smart. They always figure out a way to meet them.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's true. It's true. You talk about the M5 being one of the last best Sports. Sedan. What do you mean by that?

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Well, you know, you might argue that the Blackwing-- the CT5 Blackwing destroys my argument.


GREG MIGLIORE: I might argue that. That's a brilliant car, better than I thought it would be.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Amazing car. But that car is a great fusion of digital and analog. Whereas, the E39 M5 that is the subject of the episode-- the main subject of the episode. It's like, it was a car that was unlikely as a-- as one of the great Sports Sedans, right?

It's based on a a bigger mid-sized car, not the M3, or you know, not the E36, C46. And a lot of people think that E46 is better. OK.

But M5 has this iconic aspect to it. Because it was really a four-door 911 when it came out. You know, it had almost 400 horsepower. It was like, it blew our minds at the time, you know. In the late-- it was 1999 when it came out.

And that car was not-- unlike the other M cars-- the other M5s, it came down the regular line. It was not a special build, like the E34 was, and the previous, I think, E28.

And there was something magical about it. And that magic was just in the basic analog tuning of the thing. The thing just was honed and honed and honed. And you know, it had recirculating ball steering. But the suspension geometry was so great, the thing just felt so good.

Now some people say that the rack-- rack in the other five series was a better steering system. I disagree. I think, you know, that the steering in the M5, the E39 M5 is just magic. And a lot of that is suspension geometry.

But it is a car that has stood the test of time as like, here's what it looks like when they really get it right. When they take, you know, nothing special, you know. Breaks weren't special, suspension wasn't so special. It was just the tuning of the thing. And it was just the honing of the thing, and the fact that they made it work so well. It was a real triumph of vehicle integration.

And then you drive the new M5. And this is a digital car, you know. Suspension is, you know, adaptive steerings, EPS, you know, shifter is adaptive. Everything about it is really there to make you better rather than, you know, you finding your way through the car itself.

And the new M5 is remarkable. I mean, it's insanely good, you know. It's a great, great car. But it's not more fun than the old 911. It doesn't have that kind of soul.

I said 911, I mean M5. It doesn't have that soul of the E39. It feels robotic.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. So it's interesting. We just mentioned the Blackwings, the Cadillacs. What are you driving these days that are really-- that's really resonating with you?

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Well, certainly, those Blackwings are mind-blowing.


EDDIE ALTERMAN: Yeah. They really like-- really show, again, the power of tuning and tuning and tuning. And, you know, that car does have adaptive suspension. And it rides great. And I think they're titanium rods in the manual gearbox.

And it's just-- you know, it's incredible and it's so well done. And if there's one car that's maybe the modern equivalent of that E39 M5, it's that. And-- so that car has totally blown me away.

But you know what else is really done my head in, as Mark Gillies used to say, is a Genesis GV70.

GREG MIGLIORE: That's a good one. Yeah. I drove that last summer. It was really very nice.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: I-- you know, what's amazing to me is, OK. You've got this gigantic compact premium category-- luxury compact SUV category. From-- everything from the super luxury, you know, very light feeling, light on its toes, great riding, non-sporty Lexus RX, all the way to the Porsche Macan, right?

The GV splits it right down the middle. It's super silky. It's got a great power trains. When you bend it into a corner, it's all there. It's really good.

I mean, I think the ride needs a little bit of work, or the structure might need a little bit of work, which would impact the ride positively. But it's so good.

And look, this is their second SUV, you know, right out of the gate. And it's amazing. It's amazing how quickly they iterate. It's amazing how good their vehicle integration is.

And really, you know, the one I was driving was $62,000, with all the stuff on it. And it's like $150,000 interior in that car.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. I agree with you completely. Genesis vehicles have been really impressive. I mean, they just-- the design, I think they took a lot of risks with that. You could argue, they're almost like-- I could see some Bentley cues in there, if you really want to.

And then you drive them. And they're really set up well. The engines are really nice. And it's-- I mean, to your point, when you put it in the context of like, this is the first time they're doing cars in these segments. It's-- in some ways, it's really quite astounding.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Yeah, it is. It really is. And I also really love the Ford Maverick.


EDDIE ALTERMAN: I thought that that was such a smart take. I think Ford is doing some really, really smart stuff too, just in terms of how they're going from a branded house, you know, to a house of brands.

And so you have these sub-brands like Mustang that they're expanding, Bronco that's becoming a sub-brand, F-150 with Lightning. You know, all these new facets of the brands, really, really interesting.

And Maverick, to me, you know, I drove the entry level one, the hybrid. And it was so good. And it felt so simple and purposeful. It felt like your first car should feel, you know.

And that's what the kids first car is now. You know, if you've got-- if your parents have the money, they're buying you, you know, an SUV or a pickup. And that one is just so honest and straightforward. Even though it's a hybrid and all that, it's-- and somewhat complicated, it drives great. It feels really stout.

No. I mean, it's a really interesting time in the business. You know, everybody is doing a really cool stuff. I think, General Motors has never done better stuff. Their performance cars are just outrageously great. I mean, I can't wait to drive Z06. Like we said, Blackwings are just other level, just astonishing.

And you know, you have competition from all corners. And, you know, the established car makers like Mercedes, and Audi, and the traditional luxury brands, they're not stopping. Porsche is not stopping. So it's just wild.

And, you know, we're in this era of extreme change and volatility and convulsion. We've never seen anything like this in our lifetimes. You know, transition to different prime mover technology from internal combustion to EV, the starting. You know, we're at mile one of the marathon, starting.

You know, semi-autonomous features have infiltrated almost everything. And it's just a wild, wild time. And it's a good time to be a journalist.

GREG MIGLIORE: There's a lot to write about, a lot to cover. It's certainly interesting. I got to ask, what's your read on Tesla? When you talk about just all the changes that we're seeing. I actually had flown a couple of weeks ago, writing a story about Henrik Fisker dropping off of Twitter.

And I remember thinking it's-- in a way, this is so inside baseball. But it clicked pretty well. But just, you know, Tesla has so much going on right now. And then, of course, there's the whole Twitter thing going on. So I mean, how do you handicap that?

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Wow. It's a great question. I don't know. I mean, Musk never ceases to astound. And you count him out and you go, there's no way he can do this. And he does it. And you have to respect everything he's done.

But it seems like he's taken his eye off the ball with the cars. And I always felt like his cars we're marketing for his energy systems, you know. And he has-- the cars pale next to the excellence of the supercharger network. You know, the cars are just not as good.

You get into a model 3. And then you get into you know, an e-tron, let's say. And-- or get into Polestar. I mean, it's just like the build quality isn't-- you know. And everybody's been talking about this, for sure.

But you know, Tesla is a bit of a cult. You know, Tesla is a bit of a-- you know, the passion that owners have for it is astonishing and great and amazing. And it's like Apple.

And Musk has been able to bring a level of excitement and interest to cars that really hadn't existed before. He's taken that excitement around consumer electronics, and applied it to the vehicle. And people are just ridiculously passionate about these things. And I think that's a great thing.

But it doesn't seem like cars are where his heart is right now, you know. He's moved on maybe to Twitter. And, you know, trolling, you know, the political world. And you know, he's an amazing guy who just uses more of his brain than the rest of us.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting. I was in New York recently. And whenever you're there, you can't help but just, you know, all the magnets of the early 20th century, the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, and, you know, the Chrysler building too.

I mean, it's just interesting to see how these pioneering, you know, people tried to leave their mark on the world in so many different ways. A lot of these guys transcended their industry. They've just-- they've played in all these different markets.

So I see a lot of parallels with Musk there. But sometimes, you just-- you wonder how it's all going to end up, you know. And--

EDDIE ALTERMAN: What's your take on it?

GREG MIGLIORE: Well, I think it's great to watch. It's great to cover. I think the cars are reaching a point where I think he's got probably five more years until people are going to start to maybe rebel and say, well, wait a minute. This model 3 isn't quite as good as the Chevy Bolt or something that, you know, I could get from a mainstream automaker.

So I mean, we'll see. I think there could be a shelf life.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: The Bolt is really great, you know. And I think we're moving toward a place. And he's probably moved furthest toward it is to a place where, you know, the cars have about 400 miles of range, and can get to 80% from 20% in about 10 minutes. And I think that's going to open it up.

But you know, Musk didn't want to be the-- necessarily be the dominant EV maker. He wanted to commercialize it. And he's done that, you know. It's an amazing achievement. And everybody is trying to catch up to him. So just wild.

GREG MIGLIORE: It's interesting that he is probably the single most famous automotive executive, you know, right now. I mean, how many-- for how many years was the head of General Motors, you know, the states person for the industry or something, or whatever Ford family member was in charge. Or even, you know, Akio Toyoda has a lot of star power. But everybody knows who Elon Musk is, you know. I mean--

ZAC PALMER: That's true. So--

EDDIE ALTERMAN: I mean-- I don't know. Like--

GREG MIGLIORE: I'm not saying that's a good thing, but--

EDDIE ALTERMAN: And Royce and Mary Barra and Akio Toyoda. They are big, big names. And I think that everybody in business knows them.

But Musk is a cultural figure. And-- yeah, you're right. Musk is a cultural figure in a bigger way.

GREG MIGLIORE: Now we mentioned just how things are interesting to cover right now. You know, you took over "Car And Driver" back in '09.


GREG MIGLIORE: The media landscape was a much different place. I remember, I was at "Autoweek" at the time. And we were still publishing a weekly magazine at that point, which I don't think they publish any magazines at this point.

So I mean, I'm just curious, as you look at that decade, that even, you know, the subsequent few years run off. You know, what's your take on the automotive journalism landscape, you know?

EDDIE ALTERMAN: I mean, clearly, that 10 year period was totally transformative in terms of media. I mean, in 2009, you know, we had the Lehman Brothers event.

Everything had melted down, you know. The business had melted down. Two of the three were taking government money. And it was just a crazy, crazy time. And laid on top of that was media chaos, and a transition from print to digital.

And what was interesting at the time was we sat back and we thought, you know, did television kill radio? No. It just forced it to adapt and to be truer to itself. And you know, at the early days of television, people were reading radio scripts on TV.

And then TV adapted to suit its medium. And the content adapted to suit its medium. And that's what happened in print and digital media. And I would argue that the print that has lasted and succeeded is the one that's doing really delivering value that is native to its medium, and true to its medium, and not just republishing digital stories in a print format, doing things you can't do anywhere else.

And you know, that became our core philosophy at "Car And Driver" and later, Hearst Autos, which is adapt the content, tailor the content to the medium.

So don't just shovel print stories into digital. Don't shovel digital stories into print. And take that view into new media, like video, like podcast, what we're doing here, and even like newsletters.

So at "Car And Driver," that was like us saying, hey, what does the digital environment want? You know, people used to use Car" And Driver" as a shopping tool when it was in print.

They would pick it up off the newsstand, read a preview, read a road test. And then finally, read a comparable. and then say, OK, I'm going to buy a car now. That would take nine months.

You had incredible time compression on the web. So we said, why don't we serve that in-market shopper with our expertise, and make it the preeminent research site, like print needs to do for the in-market audience that was picking up off the newsstand. And then what is print become, print becomes much more of an enthusiast expression of the brand. It's much more about the numbers.

I mean, the "Car and Driver" thing is that numbers allow us to serve both audiences, right? Numbers allow us to serve the enthusiasts. And they allow us to serve the shopper.

But in print, our thinking was. Nobody picks up a magazine now by accident. You have to be into the subject matter.

So with print, we went more enthusiast, much more. But the "Car and Driver" style enthusiast, which was about numbers in a rational logical approach to car performance. And you know, with a little smart ass edge to it.

And you look at what-- how we're trying to evolve the "Road & Truck" brand. And that brand is much more about the experiences. So we think of "Car and Driver" as the head, "Road & Track" is the heart, "Autoweek" is the pulse.

So for "Road & Track," it's really an experiential brand. And half of that is, you know, in real life rallies and events and things where we're going out on the road, and talking to our readers, and bringing our readers along for the ride, and doing cool stuff.

We'll have, I think, four rallies this year. One is in Napa and Sonoma, one's in the Hudson Valley. We did one out of Austin. And really bringing that brand to life. And using our access to bring people like Graham Rahal and, you know, Wayne Carini to the-- to these events.

The other part of the brand is-- I don't know if you've seen the "Print Execution." It's just like this amazing coffee table art book that really rewards people's passions. And, you know, the idea is, if you're really into it, you're going to pay for it.

And let's give the customer something that really is worth the money. And then digitally, it's the same experiential smart take.

So long way of answering that question is, yes, media has changed a lot. But I think you can find your path through if you're true to what these media want. And if you really listen to your reader and your customer. And that's the key thing in anything. Know your audience.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds good. Sounds good. We can leave it there. Eddie, thanks for joining us. Let's see, you could get your-- get "Car Show!" on "Apple Podcast," Spotify. Anywhere else you could get it?

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Anywhere you get your podcasts. iHeartRadio.

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go. All right. Sounds good. Well, have a great rest of the summer. And thanks for the time, Eddie.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: You too, Greg. I'll see you on Woodward.

GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Sounds good.

EDDIE ALTERMAN: Thanks, man.

GREG MIGLIORE: Thanks again for joining us, Eddie. Definitely appreciate the time. Zac, any weekend plans for you?

ZAC PALMER: Weekend plans. I'm actually going to the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle--

GREG MIGLIORE: That's right.

ZAC PALMER: --this weekend, with Honda. Yeah. So I'll be there both Saturday for the IMSA race, and then Sunday for the actual Indy Grand Prix. So I'm pretty hype.

This is the last Grand Prix on Belle Isle. Next year, they're going to Downtown Detroit, which is exciting in its own way. But I'm glad to be going to the last one on the Island.

GREG MIGLIORE: Sounds great. I don't know if I'm going to get down there or not. I was actually just talking to my wife about we want to go out for dinner maybe at Slows. That's one of the good--

ZAC PALMER: Love Slows.

GREG MIGLIORE: --barbecue restaurants in Corktown. We'll see. I might get down to the race. I might not.

I love the setup at Bell Isle. I remember going there back in '08. I was at "Autoweek" at the time. And just it's so cool. But I do think long term, just moving over to the streets of Detroit, that's going to be the right move.

That's where they've run Formula One. It could be a demonstration to get an F1 race in Detroit, which I think would be awesome.

Let's do that Formula One. Anybody who's listening and can make that happen. ESPN folks, let's get that here. I think that would be great. But it should be a good weekend in the city.

ZAC PALMER: Oh, absolutely. Looks like it's perfect weather for racing. I cannot wait for it.

GREG MIGLIORE: You've been on the podcast a lot lately. We always have been talking about summer beers. Anything you're sipping this weekend?

ZAC PALMER: Oh, man. What have I-- what did I get as of late? I got a-- I've been sipping on this shandy, actually.


ZAC PALMER: I've been to Connor O'Neill's in Ann Arbor.

GREG MIGLIORE: Oh, I like that.

ZAC PALMER: Yeah, like three times in the past week just because I've been down there dog sitting and whatnot.

GREG MIGLIORE: There you go.

ZAC PALMER: So some of my buddies are like, yeah, let's go to Connor O'Neill's. So if you have Harps Lager and lemonade on hand, go ahead and do 2/3 Harps Lager, 1/3 lemonade. And yeah, what a tasty drink. I love it.


GREG MIGLIORE: I don't know if I could do that, man. That sounds a little bit-- I like lemonade. I like beer. I don't like them together. Although, I do like some of those shandies.

ZAC PALMER: Shandies are so good.

GREG MIGLIORE: I don't like to make the shandies myself. That's just-- there's some things you can't do, like, you know, I don't necessarily want to do brain surgery or any sort of medical treatment on myself.

I don't mind making drinks. But I don't know if I could get the lemonade equation part of this right.

ZAC PALMER: I'm told that this is the proper Irish, British way to do it. And we get it at an Irish pub. And I don't know. I haven't actually had a shandy in Ireland before.

But supposedly, this is the authentic way. And I certainly loved it. But to your point, I also love those pre-made shandies. I buy those all the time.

GREG MIGLIORE: Yeah. Those are pretty solid. I have been sipping gin and tonics. I think the weather gets a little warm to drink with a lot of ice, a little bit of lemon. Pretty smooth.

And I actually have been doing Heineken on the patio too. I think that's a good way to-- just that tall green glass. It's good at Christmas. It's good all year round.

There's something just about putting in the garden or getting a bunch of yard work done, opening a beer on the patio, and hey, putting on the "Autoblog Podcast." All right.


GREG MIGLIORE: All right. Sounds good. podcast@autoblog.com. If you have questions, mailbag, Spend My Monies.

You got to send us your Spend My Moneys. We want to spend your money. Please send them to us.

Five stars if you enjoy the show. That's on Spotify, "Apple Podcasts," wherever you get your podcasts.


Thanks again to Eddie for joining us this week on the show. Be safe out there. And we'll see you next week.