Nine has announced it will relaunch the Drive brand as part of a major strategic product rollout over the coming months, positioning Drive as the dominant consumer brand for its significant digital automotive offering.
The new brand highlights Drive/CarAdvice’s unique position as a leader in the Australian new car space.
Drive’s new brand is the first stage of a rollout that will see the launch of a new digital product offering over the coming months, prior to retiring the CarAdvice brand during 2021 as the business moves to one brand and one platform.
Nine has owned CarAdvice since 2016 and inherited the Drive brand in the 2018 Nine-Fairfax merger. Since 2019, both brands have moved to share content, product and commercial functions across platforms while also running two separate brands and platforms.
Alex Parsons, CEO of Drive and CarAdvice, said the move was underpinned by a clear vision and strategy to create the future of automotive in Australia, and own the three key areas of commentary, comparison and commerce.
“As the leaders in new car commentary, we have a significant opportunity ahead of us to integrate comparison and commerce and help consumers through their entire automotive journey,” said Parsons.
“For Nine, over the past couple of years we’ve been fortunate to own two of the leading automotive brands in the country – Drive and CarAdvice. In a crowded market we are building out a significant and differentiated consumer-focused offering across commentary, comparison and commerce. We are not beholden to the past but driven to the future.
“Strategically we recognised that the ideal number of brands for our consumers and clients is one and there was the opportunity to bring them together to consolidate the best content, functionality and user experience from the existing Drive and CarAdvice platforms onto a single new consumer proposition under the iconic Drive brand.
“Where CarAdvice has its own energy, rich enthusiasm and passion and deep knowledge across the industry, Drive is grounded in its 25-year heritage as an authoritative, familiar and broad auto brand in the minds of Australians. The commonality is that both are seen as highly influential and trusted by car buyers. We want to materially develop those strengths and provide a world-class offering to consumers.
“Changes to the consumer and commercial experiences will be rolled out progressively over the course of 2021, with phase one due to be complete by end of FY21. Of course, the only constant in this world is change and our mantra is to be the best of what’s next, so expect plenty in the coming years as we drive towards the future of automotive in Australia.”
We've guessed at some of your questions…
As you will all agree, there are exciting times ahead for all of us, and this consolidation will only mean more of the great content you love. But as our most engaged readers, we know you’ll have even more questions – which we're only too happy to answer – so here are a few key points to get you started…
What will happen to the CarAdvice brand?
The CarAdvice content experience is integral to the new platform and brand identity. While the brand name will change, everything that CarAdvice is now, will underpin what the New Drive will be.
What happens to the existing CarAdvice content?
All the existing content on the CarAdvice site will be remapped to the new platform, so that our 15 year archive of news, reviews and comparisons will still be available.
What about content on Drive, won't there be some duplication?
We are working through the content migration plan to remove most duplication, but we’re looking to integrate historic content from both brands into the new platform where it makes sense.
And the comments?
Yes! Audience interaction is a huge part of what we do, and so our existing Disqus engine will be used on the new site, with all your user accounts and historic comments coming along with it. (Please also note that Disqus is a third-party platform – we do not store any of your account information at our end.)
Will the team remain the same?
Yes! Internally nothing changes, so the same team will be working on the same types of content as we move forward. As you know, we've significantly evolved our content strategy over the past year, and we'll continue to ensure we create the most (quantity) and best (quality) automotive content in Australia (and the world!).
It sounds like a big change, but you’re also saying nothing is changing – which is it?
Both are largely correct, so think of it this way...
As a reader familiar with the CarAdvice website, content and content team, the new Drive site will be a large expansion and improvement on what CarAdvice is now, with a different brand and style.
To the Drive audience familiar with a long-standing commitment to great content, we will be introducing the most widely-covered automotive news and reviews in the country, under a household name.
As loyal readers of both CarAdvice and Drive, you can be confident that all the automotive news, depth of commentary and valued independent opinion will remain.
We are investing in the integrity and reputation of the Drive brand to all Australian Drivers through engaging content and features that resonate with their needs, and interests, today and for the future.
Why the change to Drive?
This is not a decision we have made quickly or taken lightly. Throughout 2020, we have conducted consumer research, and interviewed dozens of automotive manufacturers and dealer contacts to better understand the strengths and roles of both the CarAdvice and Drive brands in their world.
There were common themes across all these conversations – the need for more simplicity for consumers during the research process, was a major one. New car buyers today have access to an overwhelming amount of online information and opinion, yet there’s no definitive, top-of-mind, go-to source to help Australians find the best next car that meets all of their needs.
Where CarAdvice has its own energy, rich enthusiasm, passion and deep knowledge across the industry, Drive is grounded in its 25-year heritage as an authoritative, familiar and broad auto brand in the minds of Australians.
The commonality is that they are both seen as highly influential, and trusted by car buyers. We want to materially develop those strengths and provide a world-class offering to Australian consumers under one platform, and one brand.
Drive as an automotive brand ‘name’, has a stronger overall awareness than CarAdvice, largely due to its history and prominence within traditional print media.
Drive, as a brand name, provides more opportunity to stand out, to be remembered – and to mean more to more people, through experience and information. Drive is a verb and a noun, and a way of separating our brand from the crowded 'Car-' naming convention that is prevalent in our industry.
Bringing Drive and CarAdvice together will provide exponential benefits, consolidating the best content, functionality and user experience from the existing platforms onto a single new consumer proposition under the iconic Drive brand.
Does this change mean the content will become less technical?
Not at all. We understand that different readers want different information and we will always make technical information a crucial part of the content we produce. In fact, the new site will make even easier the ability to display, compare and consume data and other technical points.
We’ll still review the breadth of the market and still communicate to a range of buyers, so a review for a Kia Seltos might have a different story focus than a review on a Porsche Turbo, but that’s how things are now.
New content pieces like our Modern Classic reviews and spec comparisons will continue to be featured, plus we’ve got some other awesome ideas in the plan as well!
Will the site be overrun with ads and sponsored content?
We make the money required to create the content from ads so we will continue to be an ad-funded content business. However, we agree the current CarAdvice site doesn’t have a world-class ad experience for consumers and has been somewhat reactive in our approach.
We have run a huge program to dramatically reduce the number of ads to have fewer, more impactful ads. We occasionally produce and feature sponsored content, and will continue to clearly label it just as we do now.
Will you be told what to write?
Only by me! Kidding. Our content team are the sole creative and editorial decision makers on what is written and published on the site, and that will continue with the new Drive platform, independent of any corporate or commercial views.
What does Drive bring to the table that CarAdvice doesn’t?
The big one, is the brand. Drive is an iconic Australian brand with 25 years of deep editorial authority and mass-market recognition.
In addition to that, next year will mark the 15th year of the annual Drive Car of the Year awards program, and it will be the biggest yet. We’ve got some big news to share about this program in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
With the new Drive platform, you’ll be able to research a car, read the review, compare details simply and easily, then connect directly to a dealer to find a great deal, arrange a test Drive, and purchase your new car – without having to leave the site. We’ll have more to share on this throughout 2021, as we roll out the functionality of a game-changing way to buy your next car.
When is all this happening?
We’ll soft-launch the new Drive.com.au platform later this year, and gradually work on implementing functionality and remapping content, while continuing to publish on both sites.
In the new year, the publishing focus will start to shift from CarAdvice to Drive, until such time as we have everything running on the new Drive platform, and the CarAdvice site will simply redirect traffic and search queries.
I’m excited, can I work with you?
We’re always on the lookout for the next generation of automotive content creators. As always, we’d suggest you get writing, perhaps submit an owner review and reach out to share your portfolio.
Still have questions?
Let us know below and I’ll answer as best I can.