New Brands for the Road: Car and Driver and Road & Track

Americans love their cars. Whether it’s a high-powered sports car or a roomy SUV, the relationship that most Americans have with their vehicle is a close one. It makes sense, then, that some of the strongest licenses out there have been built around vehicle brands. But there is more to the world of licensing in the automobile category than brands such as Ford and BMW. That is where The Joester Loria Group steps in, building the licensing program for two long-running and established automotive magazine brands, Car and Driver and Road & Track.

Both magazines are owned by Hachette Filipacchi Media and have been a part of the American automotive scene for more than 50 years (Car and Driver since 1955 and Road & Track since 1947). Drivers and car enthusiasts know and trust both of the brands. The Joester Loria Group believes that now is a good time to take both of these magazine brands into the licensing category. “Well-defined media brands (such as Food Network, Better Homes & Gardens, and Animal Planet) have captured meaningful market share in their areas of expertise over the past five years,” says Debra Joester, president of The Joester Loria Group. According to the company, Car and Driver already has 11 million readers per month, with 2.2 million unique monthly visitors to its website. Road & Track has more than 5.3 million monthly readers, with 248,000 unique visitors per month to its website. Both have a long term established fan base, which makes a licensing program a solid investment for each brand.

While at first glance there may seem to be some overlap in creating programs for two publications covering the same general topic, the subject matter of each magazine is divergent enough that the licensing program for each brand will have a different focus.

Car and Driver and Road & Track deliver two distinct and highly desirable segments of auto enthusiasts,” says Joester. Car and Driver is trusted as an expert authority by consumers due to years of reliable coverage of the industry. The magazine covers most general automotive categories and has a reputation for no-nonsense reporting and assessment of vehicles, regardless of the manufacturer. Road & Track, on the other hand, is focused more on high performance vehicles, such as high-end sports cars and race cars. Famous race car drivers, including Paul Frére and Phil Hill, have contributed articles.

Because of its more universal appeal as an expert brand and an authority in the automotive field, the Car and Driver brand will be focused on automotive accessories and products, including emergency equipment, automotive care, power, garage accessories, tools, travel, and pet travel products. The Road & Track brand, with its demographic of high-end car enthusiasts, will be mostly focused on lifestyle and gift items, including automotive and driving accessories. “Each brand has a distinct audience of millions that we believe will be highly responsive to products from Car and Driver and Road & Track,” says Joester.

While no deals have been announced yet, The Joester Loria Group is laying the groundwork for a strong program in the coming months. “Initial retail discussions are very encouraging,” says Joester. “We expect to begin releasing more information about the program in the fourth quarter.” With the motor already running in the form of an established audience, one can be sure that neither of these brands will be sitting idle once product hits the shelves.