Created on Friday, 31 December 2010
The start of a new year is a time to look ahead and plan for the future. It's also a time to look back and reflect.
This year — 2011 — marks the 25th anniversary of the Toronto Star's Wheels section, a separate, stand-alone segment devoted to all things automotive.
During the past 25 years, Wheels has evolved into an institution not only for subscribers but for automotive writers, photographers, advertisers and, most of all, for automotive enthusiasts of all stripes.
Originally a small, single section with limited columnists and advertisers, Wheels has grown to two sections most Saturdays and sometimes three when advertising demands dictate. As well, numerous Wheels special sections appear during the week throughout the year.
The on-line version of Wheels (www.wheels.ca), inspired by the digital age, was launched in 2007. This website contains all of the print edition columns, road tests, industry news and advertising as well as daily automotive news updates and special, web-only, features.
In addition, it boasts a huge automotive classified section for buying and selling vehicles.
The launch of Wheels 25 years ago was well timed. By the mid-1980s, Canada was a major automotive player, attracting foreign investment to build assembly plants and competing for supremacy in the realm of parts and technology. The dealership network was also expanding, offering a broader range of products and an enhanced retail experience.
Consumers were eager to learn more about automobiles and to follow the exciting progress of globalization of a mature industry. Wheels tapped into this popular interest and it has delivered on its promise.
Since its inception, Wheels has been a trustworthy voice for the automotive sector, reporting from the high-powered boardrooms of Detroit, Tokyo, Milan and Seoul as well as the international motor sport racing circuits including NASCAR, Indy, F1 and various motorcycle and moto-cross venues worldwide.
The cornerstone of Wheels has been its in-depth reviews by award-winning automobile journalists providing analysis and opinions on the latest models rolling off the assembly lines. This section has been a continuous source of information about new technologies, safety features and design elements.
In 2002, the Toronto Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) was invited by the Star to contribute a weekly article to Wheels to provide a "dealership" perspective on the industry.
For many years, the Toronto Star and Wheels have supported our association and the TADA-produced Canadian International AutoShow. We, in turn, welcome the opportunity to contribute to this informative section of the Saturday Star.
The TADA column provides readers with information, opinions and advice about a wide range of topics that are discussed by clients and dealership staff. Our collective voice as an association represents only a single view among many. The real success of Wheels has been its diverse topics from contributors, including staff writers, photographers, columnists and freelancers.
In these pages, the TADA has covered a lot of ground. We attempt to address everyday issues affecting retail auto consumers and broader issues that may affect all motorists.
I believe that these columns have informed readers with a fair and balanced understanding of the industry. The majority of emails and letters that we receive support that claim. In Wheels, we connect with a wide spectrum of readers across Canada and we welcome feedback, positive or negative.
On behalf of the TADA, I'd like to congratulate Editor Mark Richardson and all of the Wheels writers, editors, photographers, graphic designers, ad reps and planners (past and present), for a quarter century of publishing excellence within these pages. We are both grateful and proud to share in a small way in the success of this weekly section.
As an association, we are thrilled to be part of this 25th anniversary milestone in Canada's largest circulation newspaper. We look forward to the next 25 years!