Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson


I have been lurking long enough to realize there are some “not a lot” of BBC Prime TV viewers.

My question is regarding Top Gear and the comments made buy the presenters especially Jeremy Clarkson who has made a profession out of speaking his mind in a humorous and sometimes cutting way.

Do people take note of his remarks regarding certain cars? He seems to know what he is talking about after all he has been in the Top Gear program for some years and if I was in the market for a car I would definitely be interested in his comments about any car I was thinking about buying.

But what about the car makers? When he bad mouths a new model saying after a test drive “I would rather walk back to the studio than drive this another inch” do the manufactures actually take notice?

Surely it must affect sales.

Any dopers got any inside info on this?

No idea about the car makers, but he’s certainly taken as a reliable opinion by the public. As well as TV, he does work for newspaper motoring sections. Although he’s a love-hate figure as far as his personality is concerned, he’s trusted not least because his honesty goes both ways - just this week, I read his enthusiatic review of the new Vauxhall Astra, certainly not a car you’d praise if fashion was all you were interested in.

Yeah, for all his faults (of which there are many) he will praise a car if its quality merits it.

One of his Top 10 Most Influential Cars ever was the Vauxhall Vectra… he said it was a hideous car to drive, but it brought safe, cheap motoring to the masses like never before and for that it should be recognised.

And as far as the Car Firms go, I would have thought that “all publicity is good publicity”… the public rarely remember cutting reviews, just the fact that they saw the car on TV.

I agree his valuation and comments about cars are fairly balanced and have merit. This would seem to make any negative remarks about car models even more noteworthy by manufactures.
I don’t mean remarks about style or color or “how cool” these are personal items for the individual customer, but when he talks about handling and bits that have broken or dropped off while test driving this must surely have MD’s of the big companies just a little worried.
Just a thought, has anyone conducted a study of car sales after Top Gear review? Did a good review increase sales and bad review have negative effect on sales? Be interesting to know.

Given that 75% of Top Gear seems to be about high-performance cars, I doubt Clarkson’s opinions really have an impact. How many Aston Martins are sold each year and who really cares what JC thinks of them?

OTOH, if he were to drive the new Ford Focus, say, and rip it to shreds. Like this car stinks! What a POS, no one in their right mind should be driving this car, then I could see their being potential problems. I doubt he would have the bottle to ever castigate a popular car, although maybe hes done it in the past, I don’t watch Top Gear all that much.

[Slight hijack, but wouldn’t Top Gear would be a far more interesting show if they talked about cars that people actually drive?]

But they do! Sure, they have plenty of boy’s toys, but looking over last December’s episodes, they looked at the sub-£20k BMW 1 Series, reappraised the Golf GTI, slated the Prius, and raced a Focus and an Escort.

Fair enough GMan, I guess I haven’t seen enough of the show to be accurately commenting on it. Honestly though, all I can ever remember seeing on the show is a sports car, followed by some wacky piece on racing a car in reverse or somesuch, followed by a celebrity racing a family car round a track, and thats it! Its on tonight, I think, so I’ll give it another go.

Clarkson is not only “Mr Car” as far as telly goes, he also writes for the popular press and for specialist motoring magazines. He is loved and loathed in equal measure as regards his views, personality, sense of humour and so on, but there are three things that the vast majority of people would give him credit for: (1) he can write and present entertainingly, (2) he knows his stuff, and (3) he’s fair and impartial. If he says a car is good, it’s because he honestly thinks it is in objective terms (not for any subjective or fashion-related reason) and likewise if he thinks the mfr has turned out a lemon that nobody should ever buy.

I am quite sure that the manufacturers take note of Clarkson and the Top Gear show because they can lead opinion. Mainly, however, they take note for the same reason movie studios watch what crits say: if they say anything good, they can squawk about it and splash it over ads.

He doesn’t tend to be a respector of reputation or brand image.

I have heard him slate the odd Ferrarri - for not being Ferrarri enough.

He gave the Aston Martin whatevveritis a hammering for its gearchange, and his comment on small practical cars, and why there are not enough reviews on his shows was,

" Why bother, the best small car is the Yaris and everyone knows that anyway"

I try not to miss any episodes of Top Gear, because I find it, him, and his co-presenters very entertaining.

Sometimes though, Clarkson can be pretty careless and stupid when he talks about speed limits and regulations. Regulations and limits are not there for beurocracy. They are there to reduce deaths caused by dickheads who drive too fast. And I wonder what it will do to Jeremy’s attitude the day he kills a child because he was going too fast.

P.S. Jeremy now owns Langness on the Isle of man (the little ‘T’ shaped dangly bit in the south) and complains about beardy blokes walking their dogs on his land. My step-dad is one of those beardy blokes and I sometimes join him.
So swivel on this ::raises middle finger:: Jeremy.

Part of the fun is watching him do outrageous things, like trying to get from A to B without being clobbered by a tank, or driving all the way up a mountain. And then flying off in a helicopter with the keys in his pocket.

Slight hijack - I tend to actually end up agreeing with him on some aspects of speed limits. What he often rants about is the seemingly arbitrary 30 limits just because you’ve reached the theoretical boundary of a village, after miles of 60-limits on tiny country lanes. I’d love to see all speed limits assessed on the actual circumstances on the ground, not on an ‘all villages & towns should be 30’ mandate.

It’s worth noting that they’re more careful now about only showing fast driving when it’s clearly off-road, be it on their test track, or on a beach, etc.

Hee hee. Take a bike with you, as well.

Supposedly his review of the first Ford Mondeo persuaded Ford to rethink some aspects of the second. But his review of the Vectra when it first came out stuck in my mind, simply because he refused to say anything at all for the first minutes of the feature, breaking silence only to comment on the wing mirrors (which he approved of) This brought howls of protest from workers at UK Vauxhall factories, but didn’t affect sales all that much.

He seems honest enough in his opinions, didn’t he promise to eat his hair if Vauxhall made their sporty Astra look as good as the concept car and did so when the new model was pretty much identical to the concept?

Doesn’t the Isle of Man have no speed limits for much of its roads? :wink:

Although our Jeremy can be (for example) a bit sexist :eek: , he is entertaining and charismatic.
He did a wonderful presentation on Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the ‘Great Britons’ series.

I’m still not sure what the law is: As I understand it i’s one of the following…

There is no speed limit on rural roads during race events and festivals.

There is no speed limit on rural roads all year round.
I know that there are speed limits on urban roads because I’ve seen the signs. Talking of sings they are on most rural roads telling drivers how many people were killed in the last year on that road. Some signs mention over a hundred deaths due to careless driving.

Possibly the latter, I’ve seen it used as an excuse to bring powerful cars onto the island by other performance car magazines :slight_smile: