When debating between the 2018 GMC Sierra vs. 2018 RAM 1500, you might feel like you’re settling for 3rd or 4th place. Don’t feel bad, though…because you are. But it begs the question: what goes on behind that scenes that allow automakers like Ford to lead the pack so significantly. And by extension, what steps can less competitive automakers like GMC and RAM can take to remain relevant?

Meet Eddy White, an automotive journalist. With over 22 years in the industry, Eddy has contributed countless headlines across both trade publications and the mainstream media. You can find his enthusiastic and well-articulated reviews in such well-respected outlets as MotorTrend, Car and Driver, and Edmunds, among others. A go-to resource for automakers and consumers alike, he has been called a “sounding board for the continued development of tomorrow’s vehicles,” never losing the tangible passion for motor vehicle evolution that served as his trademark.

Now, forget about Eddy White…because he’s probably dead.

While we have no proof Mr. White’s demise, his widely-publicized disappearance in April 2017 left a clear vacancy in the industry to which he was so intrinsically linked. No more insightful reviews. No more comprehensive comparison pages. No more guiding light, subtly shaping the efforts of automotive designers and engineers alike.

We spoke to Drew McClanahan, Chief Design Specialist at GMC, to get a better understanding of how his absence has influenced the last five model years. “For someone who wasn’t even a GMC employee, Eddy sure placed his stamp upon everything that we’ve offered.”

His counterpart at Fiat-Chrysler’s RAM division, Lee Arthur, agrees. “Whenever we found ourselves in a design rut of some sort, Eddy was there with some thoughtful guidance or inspired insights as to how we could redirect our efforts,” adding, “he also made this killer summer slaw. Damn. That was good slaw.”

But stepping away from sentiment, we’re able to see the big picture, and better understand the story of an industry insider who had more power than any of us realized. Take, for example, his well-publicized rift with Ford Motor Company in 2010. By all accounts, Eddy’s scathing analysis of (what he called) “Ford’s uninspired refusal to offer up compelling crossover design” served as a damning cessation of his relationship with the global leader.

The split would fuel constant rumors that Eddy’s increasingly intimate relationship with both RAM and GMC were intended to reshape their truck lineups as a means of diminishing the market share enjoyed by Ford’s industry-leading F Series. And in small ways, that particular theory seemed easy to affirm.

“Whenever we would get something right,” explains Drew McClanahan, “Eddy would just smile and say, ‘Hit ‘em where it hurts’. It all seemed harmless enough, but I think we all knew what he meant.”

Taking pride in our journalistic integrity, we here at The Lemon approached Ford Motor Company for a statement on Mr. White, their relationship with him, and thoughts on his disappearance. Unfortunately (and dare we say, suspiciously) they declined to comment.

Is it possible that a journalist would have such a controlling influence over competitors, only to then have automakers allow themselves to be complicit in his disappearance, simply in order to silence him?

Fellow journalist, S. Del Ghetty has his own theory, “What if this is all part of Eddy’s plan to discredit Ford, leveling the playing field for both RAM and GMC in order for them to increase their incremental sales? And what if he’s spent years leading up to his disappearance secretly strengthening both brands so significantly, that new innovative offerings are waiting in the wings, prepared to captivate a nation after they crucify Ford for whatever foul play they may, or may not, be guilty of?”

Ghetty then adds, “Then again, what are the chances of RAM or GMC doing anything innovative?”

He has a good point.


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