July 10, 2012 11:52 AM
The story leading up to a Swedish magazine’s scurrilous
accusation against the 2012 Grand Cherokee reminds me of the 1973
movie, The Sting.
Both involve cheating. But unlike the movie, the magazine
won’t win any Oscars and the Swedish characters can’t
match the professional genius of Paul Newman and Robert
The movie is divided into scenes that have names such as “The
Set-Up,” which describes the criminal enterprise the
characters use to target their mark.
The magazine’s mark was the 2012 Grand Cherokee. And the
vehicle was definitely “set up,” which is nothing short
There’s nothing wrong with evaluating the most acclaimed SUV
in history. We at Chrysler Group welcome such scrutiny! But by the
admission of test-driver Ruben Börjesson, the vehicle used to
perform the extreme maneuver was overloaded by 110 lbs.
No vehicle should be operated in an overloaded condition,
especially by a publication that purports to promote driving
Not so oddly enough, when U.S. blog
Jalopnik.com approached Swedish magazine Web Editor Mattias
Rabe about the load weight, he – I quote –
“couldn't remember the weight of off the top of his
head.” Mr. Rabe didn’t remember such a negligible (!)
detail. Hilarious, isn’t it? I kindly recommend Mr. Web
Editor get some phosphorous tablets, “a well-known supplement
to support brain and memory.” (I quote from
Another of the movie’s scenes is “The Shut-Out,”
which has a shameful parallel to the magazine’s story. Not
only are its readers denied the truth – that the
uncharacteristic result is counterfeit – the magazine also
slammed the door on the time-honored practice of allowing fair
comment, a fundamental building block of journalistic
Chrysler Group was advised of the magazine’s
“findings” only after its pages were printed. The offer
was then made to include our reaction in the publication’s
What were they afraid of? The truth, apparently.
Chrysler Group sent engineers to Sweden to witness the magazine
again perform the aggressive maneuver, even though it is not used
by any regulatory agency to establish safety ratings.
This time the Grand Cherokee was loaded properly. (Because we were
watching, perhaps?) And the atypical outcome observed previously
could not be repeated. Despite numerous attempts.
Expect the magazine to maintain its innocence, even though its
editors have been caught red-handed. Because the truth
doesn’t just hurt. It stings.