OPINION: I guess I should be flattered that things I say at a car launch should be considered newsworthy: How often is it that one journalist sees fit to report on another?
Then again, in light of the reaction to observations I dared express in relation to being told by Toyota that an elderly lady was among the very first purchasers of their new 86 sports car, and in its most hardened form no less, perhaps not.
Given the resultant feedback to Rob Maetzig's story, I should perhaps now be consulting Salman Rushdie for advice on entering a life of protected seclusion, else risk the wrath of Grey Power jihadist hit squads.
I wasn't out to pick a fight with a 72-year-old New Plymouth lady.
If pride is ruffled, I apologise. Madam, start your engine, enjoy your utterly feral drive.
But should your and Rob's paths cross - there's likelihood, you're in the same town - then do be a dear and deliver him a swift kick. He's also been a very naughty boy.
There's a game we journalists love to play; it's called ''spin.'' The rules are simple: Listen out for someone to say something utterly sensational then use that gem as the basis of a story, ignoring all other subsequent facts that might contradict or, at least dilute the impact of ''the quote''.
The piece of grit that became a pearl was, of course, me questioning Toyota in Rob's earshot about you having traded a humble Yaris in for the super-hottie TRD 86 and wondering why this had come about.
At the risk - if not certainty - of causing further upset, I still find that intriguing.
Please don't get upset if I describe you as an aberration. Ageists, you need to calm down as well.
Fact is (cue broken record), Toyota (and Subaru) purpose-designed this car as a youth project, reacting to the realisation from domestic research that showed young Japanese believe Toyotas are dull and suited only for their grandparents.
The ''yoof'' campaign is global. Here it is evidenced by ''those'' skid'em up billboards (that have upset road safety advocates) and the Facebook campaign, the win-an-86-for-86 (see what they did there?) comp won by … er, a young guy.
Then along came you.
Actually, you and nine others. While you may turn out to be the world's oldest owner of the most outrageous 86 version, you can find some comfort in knowing that in this market there are nine others who, like you, also bought into the 86 without having bought or seen it, and also aged over 60.
All this and more, is covered in the story I published on August 24. Six days before Rob, the wee minx, went to print about me and only me. I reckon he should have covered the real story, the one I got.
Anyway, good luck with the TRD: the standard and GT models we chucked around Hampton Down were stunning (we had a hot lap comp, by the way, and I blew Rob into the weeds).
Anyway, with all its extra performance bits, the TRD will be even more a blast.
How much I can only guess, because it was the one edition Toyota wouldn't let us drive on the launch. They're also exposing it just to a few special media for roadtest.
Maybe it's an age thing.
Kind regards and stay safe on the road.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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