WAJ Media Day 2019
A Hit for Journalists and Automakers
By Brian Douglas
Photography by Alex Stack and Maurice Liang
Media Day(s) has been a signature event for WAJ since the organization’s founding 27-years ago when Sears Point Raceway (Sonoma) was the venue for a day of vehicle evaluation focused on track driving. Over the years, race tracks that included Sonoma, Thunder Hill and most recently Laguna Seca hosted our annual event that grew to two days; one on-and-off-road at Quail Lodge
and the next day at Laguna Seca for a mixture of track and road testing.
This year, we believed that we would have one more complimentary track day, but after long and drawn out negotiations with the previous and new Laguna Seca track management, we learned that the racetrack was not available.
Our options were slim, either cancel Media Day, or host a full day of on and off-road testing. After much deliberation, and knowing how much WAJ members look forward to an annual driving event, your WAJ Board chose wisely, and despite a short lead-time, put together Media Day’19.
WAJ brought 33 journalists, 21 on and off-road vehicles, 16 automaker representatives and teams of logistics support from PageOne, DriveShop and Land Rover Experience together for a one-day driving extravaganza.
This year’s Media Day began Monday evening, July 29th with a fun, casual dinner at Baja Cantina, the car-themed restaurant a short stroll from Quail Lodge. The next full day began with a light breakfast sponsored by #Genesis, brief introduction and simple route guidance for the Laureles Grade on-road and the #Land Rover Experience off-road courses.
We gathered at noon for a #FCA sponsored banquet lunch and presentation from Jose Guerrero about BYTON, a new electric vehicle company with production in China, design offices in Germany and a technology center in Santa Clara. Former BMW executives lead the management team, including our colleague Dave Buchko.
FCA’s Scott Brown gave a product walk around of Jeep’s new #Gladiator and Alfa Romeo’s #Stelvio Quadrifoglio, then diving continued over the afternoon with journalists experiencing nearly every on and off-road vehicle. And social media was a focus this year with posts, still and video photography accompanied with impressions continuing to appear on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and writer’s web pages. #WAJMediaday19
WAJ journalists and automaker executives participated in a post-event survey with positive preliminary feedback about the event, and more than 75-percent of journalists and 90-percent of the automakers gave the program high marks and two thumbs Up! The Monterey area and Quail Lodge scored well for future events and just over 40-percent of the journalists suggested an additional day.
When asked about vehicle favorites, Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio was the performance pick, Land Rover landed the luxury choice and Genesis’ G70 topped the value vote.
Media Day Stories filed by our members are available for review as well as some excellent member photography.
If you have Media Day stories, video or photography that you would like to have showcased on WAJ.ORG, please send them to COMMUNICATIONS@WAJ.ORG