September 2012 President’s Letter


It’s hard to believe that September is already here and my girls have started school. What doubly surprises me is we have to start talking about New England Winter Vehicle of the Year. Sure, it’s 80 degrees outside as I sit at my computer, but it’s time to start thinking about winter. We know there are long lead times in ordering vehicles.

Certain companies have developed a winning formula for the Winter Vehicle awards: They put a number of appropriate cars into our fleet early enough to let them cycle through our membership. They’ve realized that this gets positive results because we actually have time to drive their vehicles.


Nor do they pull their product once Winter Vehicle Test Day is over. Our voting and research goes on beyond that one day in February; not everybody can attend, so we have to give those members time to complete their ballots.

Also, as Chrysler, Ford and others have learned, the Winter Vehicle Awards do not ignore cars that have been on the market for a while. Quality and utility trump mere novelty.

OEMs, please start working with John Lawlor now to plan for the vehicles you want in the press fleet for the winter.

We’d like you to have a reason to attend next May’s awards dinner at MIT with smiles on your faces—and trophies to bring home. You and your vehicles earn them, and we hope that these awards contribute to your promotional campaigns.

As you know, your efforts are now judged not only by NEMPA, but also by our partners—Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Larz Anderson Automobile Museum, and MIT.

Looking Ahead . . .

• At our September 11 meeting, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers will discuss the recently passed Right to Repair Bill in Massachusetts. It’s an issue that will spread across the country and possibly to Congress. (We’ll give OEMs a pass on attending because IMPA is the following week.)

• We’re happy to promote another press group’s activities: IMPA Test Days are Sept. 19 & 20 in Monticello, NY. It’s a great facility with some surprisingly good local roads for driving. Register at

• If you’re looking way ahead, our Holiday Party is on December 11 at The Boston Globe, as always.

As soon as we have specifics on several other events this fall, we will send you that information.

Meanwhile, OEMs should keep in mind that we have two great venues at our disposal for special events such as new product intros: John Lawlor’s Automotion facility and the Larz Anderson Automobile Museum. Both are happy to work with you set up focused, cost-effective presentations. And you know NEMPA always turns out in force.

Happy Labor Day.

Keith Griffin

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