The fan­tasies of car press re­lease writ­ers

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO MOTORING -

WHEN you fail as a novelist you write press re­leases for au­to­mo­tive com­pa­nies.

That’s the con­clu­sion I’ve come to af­ter read­ing an­other 13-pages of com­plete hog­wash.

Re­place the car’s name with ‘Gan­dalf ’ (men­tioned at least once in ev­ery sen­tence), and you have the script for a Harry Pot­ter spinoff.

And like JK Rowl­ing’s fa­mous books, a car press re­lease is usu­ally so far-fetched that it can also be de­scribed as fan­tasy:

‘The new (in­sert any car name)’s care­fully sculpted front is dom­i­nated by (in­sert any brand)’s charis­matic ‘solid wing’ ap­pear­ance, which man­i­fests it­self in a broad bar ex­tend­ing across the width of the smoothly curved grille with its unique and in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter’.

What that ac­tu­ally means is that the car looked a bit stupid when they were done with it, so they scratched around in the back of the parts ware­house and found this old box full of chrome strips, and made a plan…

The best

By the time Danielle Steele the Third lifts the bon­net which ‘con­trib­utes so much to the new (in­sert any bud­get car name)’s planted, pow­er­ful look,’ you’re not sure whether you are read­ing about a cheap hatch or NASA’s new tril­lion dol­lar space shut­tle.

And it’s here, in­side the en­gine bay, where the press re­lease writer be­comes really in­ven­tive.

A straight for­ward, non­turbo 1.5-litre petrol en­gine be­comes a ‘tech­no­log­i­cal mas­ter­piece’ with an ‘in­tel­li­gent and ground break­ing man­age­ment sys­tem’.

Whilst read­ing, one won­ders why the USA doesn’t re­place the nu­clear re­ac­tors in its sub­marines with this en­gine be­cause, if the writer got it right, it’s the most su­pe­rior power source on the planet.

In your dreams

Think I’m ex­ag­ger­at­ing?

Pick up a brochure at any car dealer and see what I mean.

The best, or worst, I’ve come across was the de­scrip­tion of a rather pa­thetic look­ing Chi­nese-made SUV:

‘Bold, glo­ri­ous lines that trace the world’s most ag­ile an­i­mal in ac­tion, the chee­tah!’

A hip­popota­mus maybe, but a chee­tah, not even in your dreams…

So, next time you read a proper car re­view, spare a thought for the mo­tor­ing jour­nal­ist who had to sift through the heaps of ad­jec­tives in or­der to give the reader the real facts.

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