If you love driving, you’d remember the day when you earned your license.
In my case, it wasn’t a special day by any stretch of the imagination. I didn’t have a Ford Laser TX3 (every petrol head’s wet dream in the 90s) to come home to and I was late for a tuition class conducted by a math tutor who derived absolute joy in observing my fractured relationship with calculus and differentiation.
Despite all that, it was also one of the happiest days in memory, to finally drive myself somewhere, anywhere, even to a tuition class that I absolutely dreaded. That my conveyance was a rattly Proton Saga (Magma 8-valve no less) with flakes of plastics peeling off its steering wheel mattered little. Freedom never tasted sweeter.
When I relinquished my tenure as the Editor of Autocar ASEAN more than five years ago to take up a product planning/marketing role on the other side (yes, I joined a car company), little prepared me for the complexities of the auto industry. Grey hair sprouted at rates never before experienced and five years came to pass much swifter than the five that preceded them, at least that’s how it felt.
“The raison d’être of Countersteer then is to offer a relevant context, juxtaposition or a counterpoint to every story, video, post or comment, whether it is told by us, by the car brands, or by you.”
If being a car journalist means having the license to experience every new car that came to the market, toiling away as a car executive was a sobering realisation (maybe the money was better, but not by much). Witnessing the launch of a new model no longer constituted a reporting assignment with a few happy snaps of VIPs flashing the cheesy “thumbs up”. From the other side of the pond, a new model launch was the culmination of planning work measured in years, with another few ahead with which to manage the model’s life-cycle. It means you do what needs to be done to shift as much metal as possible.
It goes without saying that the proponents of Countersteer love driving, reading and watching a compelling auto-related story, but to embark upon such a project based on the aforementioned reasons alone would perhaps be a tad self-serving. The raison d’être of Countersteer then is to offer a relevant context, juxtaposition or a counterpoint to every story, video, post or comment, whether it is told by us, by the car brands, or by you.
Much like that maiden 10-minute drive to my tuition class some 26 years ago, the joy was always going to be in the journey, the destination being secondary. And like us, if you never tire of taking the scenic route, you might just find Countersteer mildly interesting.
What to expect from Countersteer
Editorially-speaking, we live in curious times. How content is consumed and the speed with which it is delivered is nothing short of remarkable. But the phenomenon of “Likes”, the headlong rush to be the “First”, and online anonymity have arguably diminished the values of substance, insight, and accountability.[quote_box_center]The tone of car reviews have become repetitious, almost always agreeable and advertiser-safe, with the pros nicely laid out and the cons…only if you know how to read between the lines.[/quote_box_center]
Car reviews – supposedly to help shape and validate opinions of buyers – are dispensed within hours of a media drive. It may not be the intention of writers to do a half-hearted job, but it is sadly the nature of business these days. The consequence of which is that the tone of car reviews have become repetitious, almost always agreeable and advertiser-safe, with the pros nicely laid out and the cons…only if you know how to read between the lines.
Call us old school (admittedly, we are kind of old), but we like a forthright and honest assessment of cars not based on the notions enthusiasts subscribe to but what laypersons are able to connect with. The reality of the matter is that no mainstream car brand can survive by producing vehicles only enthusiasts (and by extension, car journalists) wax lyrical about. It is also unfortunate that the minority view is oftentimes the loudest but not necessarily the most relevant.
Of course, we have The Steering Committee, an opinion section of sorts where we endeavour to offer further insights and commentary of subjects related to automobiles. Apart from writers and contributors of Countersteer, we will endeavour to speak to and also invite persons of interests to share their views, hopefully, we would all be smarter because of them.
Stick with us for the ride as Countersteer’s journey has just begun.