A new era dawns in motor writing as the IMWA is no more
A prophet is without honour in his own land, said a certain Jesus Christ in a book written by a chap called Mark 2,000 years ago.
And so it has come to pass, the Irish Motor Writers’ Association (IMWA) is no more, the fall from power of which had been predicted in these pages frequently.
The once august band of elders who retained a vice-like grip on Irish motoring journalism has had its throat cut by a bunch of young pups, sick of the unseemly power struggle that went on behind the doors of the private members club.
Revolution started and finished on Monday in a bloody coup when members who work for national newspaper publications and websites formed their own modern group, called the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).
The problem that the IMWA finds itself with now is that its remaining members retain little influence without the ‘whippersnappers’ who had all the power: readership and circulation, and most importantly advertising influence.
There was also deep unease at how the Car of the Year was voted for, amid secrecy and hostility to how members had voted, and if any votes had been cast with one eye on loyal advertisers.
The APMP has been set up on a basis of openness and transparency and the proclaimed “mission is to dramatically enhance the professionalism of car reviewing and motoring writing in this country”, which is good news for the reader and viewer who depends on the ‘experts’ before buying a car.
Bigger problems now lie ahead for the IMWA who will undoubtedly lose more members. One who’s hugely influential has already indicated to me that he’s “ready to jump ship, now that the deal has been done”.
I deliberately didn’t join the IMWA for two reasons: I didn’t want to and I was never asked.
I generally object to a club mentality among writers of niche subjects, but I do believe that the APMP is a modern, professional and transparent body that will generally improve the standards of motor writing and reviewing.
And heck, if that gets me an invite I will certainly sit down and listen. I know Big Phil from this parish – who was never invited to join the IMWA – is gagging to join the new body, where our new colleague at INM Bob Flavin, also of thenextgear, is a founding member.
There really is nothing like a good old scrap to get the blood going, and I have a feeling there will be some more collateral damage before this story runs its course.
Something which is not quite as ugly as the split between the Irish motoring journalists is the Ford Tourneo Connect, but it is a bit of a minger all the same.
But don’t hold that against it, not everything is meant to be beautiful. Nobody wants Stephen Hawking to look like college rugby buck – we love him for all the other stuff.
The Tourneo Connect is not supposed to be beautiful, it is a car that is built on the three P’s principle: Practicality, Practicality, Practicality.
It is a cross between an SUV and a mini-bus and it’s perfect for the growing, large family with enough room on board for the remaining members of the IMWA (it’s got seven seats).
The 1.6 litre chucks out just under 100bhps, it comes with a five-speed gearbox and it is in the Band B1 category – meaning road tax of €270 year.
For something so big and practical it also comes at a pretty tasty price, and models start at €24,100.