At some point, the Auto Guide team began to wonder if the offer of a 2021 vintage was indeed going to take place.
Because, since work usually begins around February for a summer outing, everything was going to be compromised. Indeed, all the journalists suddenly no longer had access to the test cars, let alone the firsts that led us to travel to the four corners of the globe. Even the manufacturers had no information to disclose to us, finding themselves in a crisis situation. So, in such circumstances, how would one succeed in giving birth to a book of 704 pages?
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Obviously, we had to delay the launch date significantly. About two months, which is the equivalent of downtime for auto factories, which produced virtually nothing between March 15 and May 15. Now, even with a release date set for September 23, the task seemed colossal, if not unimaginable. Because several pieces of information were going to be missing and because we were imposed a longer printing time than usual.
Redouble your ardor
So yes, the Guide de l'Auto team had to reinvent itself. By first wondering how to obtain the information and by questioning each of the files initially planned for the book. For my part, I was organizing a comparison match resembling a dozen mid-size SUVs, ranging from the Kia Telluride to the Dodge Durango, including the Subaru Ascent. Obviously, everything fell apart.
Without hotels, restaurants and above all, vehicles, it was impossible to complete this project. Finally, as we had planned, since in the end, and by postponing the project to a later date, we were able to bring together, not without a certain headache, the six vehicles that seemed to us the most suitable to win the match.
Then there were the stars. All these vehicles eagerly awaited by enthusiasts, which we wanted to be able to illustrate in our pages. Notably the Ford Bronco, which the team unanimously chose to place on the cover. Unfortunately, it was going to be impossible for us to drive it before the Guide went to press, Ford having postponed the release of several of its models. Think also of the Mustang Mach-E and the F-150 Hybrid, for which driving impressions will first be found on our website.
Do not be surprised if this year, vehicles that should normally have ended up at dealerships during the summer are still waiting. Think of the new Nissan Rogue, Chrysler Grand Caravan, Ford Bronco Sport and the Hyundai Elantra, to name a few. Vehicles that we should have been able to drive before the release of our book, but which, for the reasons you know, have not yet touched the asphalt.
The hell of videoconferences …
To obtain information, our journalists typed dozens of digital conferences this summer where manufacturers presented their new products. Insipid conferences, often as boring as they were pointless, since the manufacturers were only content to have us play a tape while not answering the real questions. Sometimes, because they didn't know anything about it, but often, because they themselves had to adapt to this new reality that they did not yet control. And since the strategists of these companies do everything in their power to control the information they disclose, it's easy to see why they were being extra careful.
Fortunately, the collaboration of several dealers who had on their side the real pulse of the market would lend us a hand. More than ever, they provided us with a wealth of information, which was sometimes helpful. It was therefore useless for us to wait for the response of the public relations agencies hired by the manufacturers, who only stammered out apologies as a response.
When the book came out, I scrambled to leaf through it, page after page, to take a look at the final result. Not without a certain fear, I admit, since the job had been particularly difficult, as much for the authors as for the team of revision, graphics and layout.
Today, however, I allow myself to applaud the team, proud to have contributed to this book which for me is one of the most complete and serious editions. With a very special mention to my colleague Julien Amado, who produced two excellent reports on the history of the Manic GT and on a superb collection of Ferrari cars.
My only regret? To know that I will not be able to share the pride of this book with the many visitors to the Montreal Auto Show who, each year, come to see us at the Guide de l'Auto kiosk for a dedication or advice on their next purchase. .