Ward’s Automotive Report ends 96-year publication streak
Ward’s Automotive Reports, the 96-year-old weekly newsletter that helped create the craft of automotive journalism, published its last issue Jan. 28.
Mark Phelan of The Detroit Free Press writes, “WAR published data suppliers used to plan their own production. Dealers studied the figures to see what was selling, how the competition was doing and whether the factory was about to shove extra trainloads of a slow-selling car down their throats.
“A year’s subscription to WAR cost $50 when Ward’s hired Smith away from his job as Free Press business and auto editor in 1970. It was about $2,000 when publication ceased this week.
“WAR’s circulation was one of the auto industry’s most closely guarded secrets, but for decades, you could find each week’s edition in the anteroom to every senior executive’s office.
“‘It brings a small tear to my eye,’ Smith said. ‘WAR broke a lot of news because it had data and statistical expertise nobody else had back then.'”
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