Jalopnik’s Chris Harris may be the most honest automotive journalist left in the profession. Unfortunately, Harris’ outspokenness may have cost him his job.
In an extremely enlightening article, Harris openly slams the Italian automaker Ferrari and accuses the company of lying to make its world renown cars appear better than they actually are.
Even a nice salary at one of the world most respected automotive journalism institutions couldn’t keep Harris quiet about the issue. While many automotive journalists are paid by car manufacturers to publish positive reviews about their cars, Harris was tired of being a puppet for Ferrari.
As a result, Harris exposed Ferrari’s dishonest track testing policies and other forms of company and media corruption. Prior to test driving a new Ferrari, an automotive journalist must contact the company and reveal which test track they will be taking it to. Afterwards, Ferrari will send the test team to the specified track and “tune” the car for maximum performance.
In other words, Ferrari is cheating. When automotive journalists test drive a new Ferrari, they are driving a “tuned” version of the car, while other manufacturers supply journalists with the actual car available to the public. It’s an unfair advantage for Ferrari to bump up the horsepower on their test track models. If no other automakers are doing it, why is Ferrari allowed to get away with it?
If automotive magazines continue to pardon Ferrari’s manipulation, readers will start why their Ferrari doesn’t have the same 0-60 time or the same quarter-mile time as the publications’ latest reviews. By condoning this behavior, the journalists are no better than Ferrari in my opinion. They are writing glorious reviews about a tuned Ferrari that is entirely different than the consumer model at the nearest dealership.
I applaud Chris Harris for his ballsy article. He wasn’t about to sit back and let thousands of potential Ferrari owners buy a car that wouldn’t live up to the impressive reviews. Even if Ferrari will no longer allow him to drive any of its cars again, at least he can sleep at night knowing he did the right thing.